The phone’s cameras were rolling, so the TikTok influencer bent her knees, adjusted her stance and swung her club at a golf ball that had been placed near the edge of a precipice at the Grand Canyon. The balloon flew away. The club did too after he slipped out of their hands.
“How did it go,” asked the text of the clip, which was recorded on October 26 and posted to TikTok the same day.
Authorities, however, seemed to have another question after viewing the video: Who was responsible for the waste in one of the country’s most iconic national parks?
Tips rolled in and law enforcement quickly had a name: Katie Sigmond, an influencer with around seven million followers on TikTok who posts workout and modeling videos, as well as clips showcasing her golf game on driving ranges and courses.
His Grand Canyon golf swing, however, quickly drew criticism, including from park officials.
“Do we really need to say, ‘Don’t hit the golf balls in the Grand Canyon? said Grand Canyon National Park on Instagram.
Along with the criticism, the stunt also led to legal issues for Ms Sigmond, who eventually admitted to park rangers that she was the one in the video, according to Joelle Baird, spokeswoman for the National Park’s public affairs office. Grand Canyon.
Ms Baird said Ms Sigmond, 20, was initially charged with littering, throwing objects into the Grand Canyon and creating unsafe conditions with disorderly conduct. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona recently resolved her case through an out-of-court settlement that resulted in a fine, Ms Baird said.
She did not know which charges were ultimately included in the settlement, and the federal prosecutor’s office did not immediately respond to calls and emails seeking comment.
Ms Baird said she did not know the amount of the fine. But in similar cases, fines can reach around $280, she said. The Arizona Republic announced news of Ms Sigmond’s fine on Thursday.
Ms Sigmond did not respond to an email seeking comment on Saturday. The video of his Grand Canyon golf swing appears to have been deleted from his social media pages.
The episode was the latest case of visitors misbehaving at the Grand Canyon, an event that in the past has motivated park officials to publicly mock the actions of those who disrespect the precious, eroded landscape.
In September last year, the park released a photo of a padlock that had been placed on a fence at the Grand Canyon with the inscription “Alex + Cas”. The agency found no romantic value in it, writing: “You may think your love padlock left on the park fence is smart, but it won’t stand the test of time for our cut-outs. bolts.” The message cited potential dangers to wildlife.
The Park Service faced a less rosy problem in October 2020 when it reported an increase in “the amount of human litter on (or right next to) the trail” at the Grand Canyon.
“Nobody else should have to manage your waste,” he said. And last summer, Grand Canyon rangers had a simple message to those who threw their cigarettes on the dry mineral ground: “Bighorn sheep butts are cute!” But cigarette butts, not so much.
Ms Baird said rangers also dealt with people throwing baseballs, soccer balls and other objects into the canyon.
“You name it, and people throw it over the canyon,” she said, adding that “it’s one of those things that unfortunately happens over and over again.”
Grand Canyon officials said Ms Sigmond threw her club and hit the golf ball near Mather Point, which offers scenic views of the canyon’s multiple layers of exposed rock.
“Throwing objects over the rim of the canyon is not only illegal, but can also endanger hikers and wildlife that may be below,” park officials said.