A Parma, Idaho, woman who kept a messy camp in Grand Teton National Park that attracted a grizzly bear was fined nearly $6,000 last week.
Part of the fine given Belinda J. Arvidson, 50, covers the cost of placing a tracking collar on the 2.5-year-old bear and relocating it on the west side of Jackson Lake, according to a U.S. Justice Department news release.
“Arvidson failed to properly store garbage and beverages resulting in a grizzly bear receiving a food reward when it found the unattended garbage and drink at the campsite,” the Justice Department said Friday. “Individuals camping in the area took photos and videos of the grizzly bear while it was in Arvidson’s campsite rummaging through the trash and other food items. The campground contained multiple warning signs about bears and proper food storage as well as bear boxes in which food and other items could be stored.”
In mid-June, officials received reports of a grizzly bear walking through a Grassy Lake Road campsite on the northern end of the park and putting its paws on a tent. The bear was chased away by visitors yelling at it. The next day, the grizzly bear was reportedly fed by visitors from a vehicle near Lizard Creek Campground at the north end of the park. A day later, the bear was seen going through food and garbage in an unattended campsite at the Headwaters Campground.
The park said all of the incidents involved the same bear. Park staff captured the bear along the Grassy Lake Road. The young male bear was given a boat ride across Jackson Lake after it was tranquilized and fitted with a radio collar. Should the bear become involved in other similar incidences, it will likely have to be euthanized.
“Irresponsible behaviors have consequences, and many times it is the wildlife that pays the ultimate price,” said Grand Teton Superintendent Chip Jenkins. “We all have responsibilities to preserve and protect the incredible wild animals of Grand Teton National Park and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.”
The $5,826.99 sentence to Arvidson was handed down July 20 by U.S. Magistrate Mark L. Carman in Mammoth Hot Springs. In addition to the misdemeanor offense, she will also serve four years of unsupervised release.
The park said grizzly bears and black bears thrive in Grand Teton National Park and John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway. The park requires campers to store all food items in bear-resistant storage lockers or inside vehicles when unattended day or night.