A $50 fine and probation. That’s the sentence Judge Robert Braithwaite tells me, laughing, that he would impose on Yogi Bear for stealing a picnic basket in Jellystone National Park. Braithwaite knows of what he speaks. He is a U.S. magistrate judge for the District of Utah, whose jurisdiction includes the state’s five immensely popular national parks.

Summer is upon us. Many will be headed to Zion, Bryce and Utah’s other spectacular national treasures. What better time to speak to Braithwaite about his unique job, traveling the state, to hear the cases of alleged law-breakers on Utah’s federal lands. I know it’s going to be an entertaining conversation as I’ve heard some of these stories in Braithwaite’s book on the subject—“Have Gavel Will Travel.”

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