Man Convicted, Fined for Operating a Guide Company on BLM Land Without a Permit

Man Convicted, Fined for Operating a Guide Company on BLM Land Without a Permit

ANCHORAGE – A federal magistrate judge in Alaska sentenced a Fairbanks man to pay a fine for unlawfully selling and operating a tour on federal land without a permit. The land is owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

According to court documents and statements in court, Jun Liang, 40, is the sole owner of AK Aurora Travel Inc. Through that company, Liang sold and operated tours of various places in Alaska, including Castner Glacier Trail, located at milepost 217.3 on the Richardson Highway. In December 2022, Liang sold a tour to tourists without a Permit, despite having been told that he needed a permit to do so lawfully. Liang lacked the required Permit.

The law requires tour operators to have a Special Use Permit to sell or operate tours on BLM land. Castner Glacier trail has complex environmental and topographical challenges. Extreme winds, fast changing water levels, active glaciers, and rockfalls all present hazards.

Federal Magistrate Judge Scott Oravec commented that it was important to understand that it is unlawful to operate tours on BLM land without a permit. The Court warned Liang that there could be more serious penalties if he unlawfully operates more tours.

“Unlawful tours pose a threat to unwitting tourists and natural resources,” said BLM Law Enforcement Ranger Joseph Crane. “Today’s sentencing demonstrates that BLM and its partner agencies are committed to protecting federal land and pursuing those whose illegal acts threaten our natural resources and endanger visitors.”

The sentencing occurred on March 1, 2023. U.S. Attorney S. Lane Tucker of the District of Alaska made the announcement.

The Bureau of Land Management investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonas M. Walker prosecuted the case.

For more information about Castner Glacier, see: https://www.blm.gov/visit/castner-glacier-trail  

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usao/ak/23-013

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