Criminal mischief and criminal trespass

Two men, both aged 54, were arrested for building an illegal trail inside the Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis, USA.

The thorny issue of unsanctioned trail building has reared its head again and this time has ended up with two people being charged by the police with “criminal mischief, a felony, and criminal trespass, a misdemeanor”.

The arrested pair were partly tracked down after the police served a search warrant to Facebook to inspect private messages on there.

The men were also reportedly caught on CCTV spraying herbicide to kill vegetation. Subsequent searching of Facebook messages also apparently had one of the men arrested talking about spraying the trail.

The CCTV footage/photos were actually recorded last May and the two men matched the herbicide-sprayers in the pictures.

Officials said the damage will cost more than $50,000 to put right.

According to the Indy Star, “restoring the nature preserve will take at least five to seven years of management and may never get back to the original state of the preserve”.

“There’s so much damage that was done and getting that soil and those plants and all that back together is intricate work” said Indianapolis Department of Natural Resources’ Capt. William Browne.

“Browne continued: This area is closed off to any human traffic. It was built for wildlife. Any time you segment property like that, you invite in invasive species and create an environment that is not the best habitat for the wildlife and vegetation protected in the area.”

There is legal riding to be found in this part of Indianapolis – and indeed within Fort Harrison State Park itself – so this illegal building has drawn plenty of criticism from all sides including the Fort Harrison Mountain Bikers Facebook Page.