Rogue Yellowstone golfer could face federal penalties for teeing off in national parks
Instagram vlogger Jake Adams is under investigation by federal authorities for allegedly hitting golf balls inside several national parks, breaking ‘leave no trace’ policies
Golf enthusiast Jake Adams has found himself in the rough after federal authorities said they’ve opened an investigation into golf shots Adams has taken inside several of America’s national parks.
Adams — who traveled the country to hit a golf ball in each of the 50 states during the month of April, documenting his makeshift tee box adventures on Instagram along the way — may have broken multiple national park “leave no trace” policies, Montana’s KHQ 6 reported.
- When KHQ 6 reached out to the Yellowstone National Park for its story about Adams, a parks spokesperson said, “The individual who recently was captured on video hitting golf balls in Yellowstone National Park showed a lack of judgment and common sense.”
- The parks spokesperson told KHQ 6 that Adams had “violated regulations that are designed to preserve Yellowstone and protect the experience of other visitors” and that it would be “investigating this illegal act.”
How Jake Adams’ 50-state golf tour began
The fairway troubadour began his monthlong, 50-state golf tour in California by driving a ball toward the Hollywood Sign in the Santa Monica Mountains outside Los Angeles.
- “Day one of trying to hit a golf ball in every state in America in the month of April. I don’t know why,” Adams said in an Instagram video before teeing off.
- “Seems like it’s probably going to be a poor life choice,” he added, after hitting toward the sign.
- On April 26, Adams made it to Yellowstone National Park, where he hit at least three golf balls inside the park, the Billings Gazette reported.
According to The Wall Street Journal, an investigator from Yellowstone National Park contacted Adams in early May and told the Instagram golfer that “he could face up to six months in prison and $5,000 in fines.”
- Adams was driving at the time of the investigator’s phone call and had to pull over to gather himself, telling The Wall Street Journal later, “I could feel my chest. ... It just kept building. I’ve never felt that type of anxiety.”
- “Damaging or defacing national parks’ property is prohibited, and vandalism of the parks is a federal misdemeanor, The Wall Street Journal reported. A parks spokesperson told the Journal that this included hitting a golf ball.
The golfer is sorry, kinda
After learning of the ongoing investigation, Adams uploaded an apology video to Instagram on May 13, and encouraged people not to make his same mistake.
- I thought that I took all the right precautions in using biodegradable golf ball and it was never my intent to disrupt the environment or anybody’s day,” Adams said in the apology video on Instagram. “I just never realized the magnitude of hitting a golf ball in any of our national parks. “
- “I just encourage everybody to not do what I did. And do not hit any golf balls — biodegradable or not, it does not matter — in our national parks. I now realize the importance of what footprint you’re leaving on our earth and especially in our national parks,” Adams added.
The following day, he uploaded a montage promoting his tour of the country.
- The Wall Street Journal reported that Adams said “he regrets his actions but doesn’t plan to stop hitting golf balls in other places. Next year, he is taking his act to Europe, to hit one in every country in 30 days.”