HARRISON, Ark. — On March 7, a man was sentenced for illegally guiding hikers at Buffalo National River.
According to reports, Jeffrey Johnson was sentenced to two years probation, $600 in fines, $80 in processing fees, and was ordered to pay $2, 686.27 in restitution. Mr. Johnson was also banned from the Buffalo National River for two years.
During Spring 2022, Johnson led a group of hikers on a hike up an unofficial trail where one hiker was carried out due to injuries, and on a separate occasion a different hike ended with the death of a hiker within the group.
Johnson was discovered to have been conducting a guided hiking service by using a website to gather people with outdoor interests. He was also found to have been asking for donations and charging a yearly membership fee to the members of the group.
An investigation proved that Johnson never applied for or received a permit to operate the hiker-guiding business in the park.
In December, Johnson was convicted on a count of engaging in or soliciting business inside a national park without a permit and also on one count of soliciting money inside a national park without a permit.