Parkour Team Illegally Runs, Flies, and Burns Through Joshua Tree National Park


Well, you think people would have learned to not be completely disrespectful after the backlash that hit the crew that trampled the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park. But as the UK-based parkour team representing sport clothing line Storror Parkour shows us, not everyone has learned, and these guys straight up admit that they know they are breaking the law.

Let’s break down the 9-minute video above and all of the illegal (or at the least, plain stupid) actions that this team takes. Less than 30 seconds into the video, the team outright admits that they know the park rules and that they have no care in the world to not break them for their own personal gain.

Vehicle Driver: “Apparently, the drone is forbidden to fly in this National Park, and you get a fine if you do so. Toby, are you going to fly the drone?”

Toby: “Yes”

Well ok then. We haven’t actually see any drone flying two minutes in. The guys just start parkouring around some of the rock outcroppings. Ok, probably nothing illegal about that. Maybe the hard pounding of shoes on the fragile rocks isn’t the best thing for the Southern California National Park, but as far as I know, it’s not illegal.

But in another video on their YouTube, the guys can be seen running up and jumping off of Joshua Trees. I researched whether this is illegal, and could not find a definite answer but I have reached out to the Joshua Tree Park Rangers to find out.

Till the 4 minute mark, the guys are still running and jumping and exploring a cave they found, before the main guy says into the camera, “We are gonna go up there. Toby’s gonna get the drone out” Then as they walk another guy starts screaming incoherently while throwing stuff…in an apparent effort at comedy. But this man is no Ricky Gervais.

Anyway, six minutes in, still no law breaking. But at the 6:30 mark, we finally the team on top of a rock looking at a beautiful sunset, with…a drone circling them as they celebrate the end of an apparently awesome day in one of the U.S. National Parks.

8 minutes. They find a snake in the dark. Wonder if it’s poisonous. They don’t dare to find out. Disturbing wildlife is against the park rules, by the way.

Now at 8:07 it gets really interesting. The crew can be seen in front of a campfire. Before we dive into it this portion of the video, let’s go over the Joshua Tree rules for campfires.

Now, park rules allow for campfires only in designated campground fire pits. And, you can only use precut firewood from outside the park. You are not allowed to use park wood for kindling or for burning.

There is nothing to make us assume that this is a designated campground, and in fact, the footage when they wake up leads us to believe it is not. But right away, we can tell that the wood they are burning is not firewood, but rather a collection of branches from what we can assume was taken from park grounds. Joshua Tree is a desert, and being a desert, doesn’t have an abundance of wood, and the wood used for one campfire can take years to be replenished.

But then, after a quick cut to one of the bros roaring in slow motion as sparks consume his face, we see what I can only assume is a different campfire, which does not appear to be in a fire pit. I cannot see a fire pit or cooking grate, and the spot of the fire is surrounded by big rocks, and I doubt the National Park Service would but a firepit in such a fragile location, as a fire of this size can easily leave burn marks on the rocks.

Then, at 8:33, I see that I am pretty sure I am right. That does not look like a National Park built fire pit in a campground.

The boys continue to hop around the fire pit until they wake up the next morning, in which does not look like designated campgrounds.

All this and not to mention, a commercial filming of this project would need to be granted special permits from the NPS. We do not know if the team got one, but we have reached out to the park service as well as Storror for comment. KCET has a great write up on why these actions can be so harmful to Joshua Tree, already facing overcrowding problems.

It’s a shame because these guys are obviously talented, and I wish I was hearing about them through some awesome show they put on, legally. To use the United States National Parks as your personal playground to knowingly break the rules is not the way to get the majority of Americans to respect your talent. We have plenty of talented Parkour guys and gals right here in the United States who work hard to be discovered but don’t feel the need to do so by blatantly breaking the rules that were designed to keep park visitors safe and keep the fragile environment intact.

Posted in Learn About Photography