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Forest guide pleads guilty

After taking clients on mountain treks without a legal permit over the past two years, a Manti man pleaded guilty in federal court to six counts of illegal outfitting/guiding in the Wasatch-Cache and Ashley National forests.

Brian Barson was caught several times operating without a legal license in the two national forests, and he moved his operation to Hoop Lake in the Mountain View Ranger District in 2004, according to a news release from the U.S. Forest Service.

Barson's pack animals weren't properly restrained and caused damage to the soil and vegetation in some areas, the release states.

Barson was sentenced to 24 months probation, although his probation may be terminated after a year if he pays $4,000 in restitution to the Ashley National Forest and $2,500 in fines.

During probation, if Barson wants to guide clients, he must notify the permitting agency that he is on probation for outfitting convictions.

Any type of commercial business on Forest Service lands requires a legal permit, the release states. Individuals who use outfitters/guides should always ask to see the permit to verify that the outfitter has insurance, the proper first-aid training and operates only in permitted areas.

Outfitters and guides need to remember to keep their legal permits up to date and always have a copy with them while guiding on Forest Service lands, the release states.