Woman ordered to pay $5.8K for attracting grizzly bear to campsite

·2 min read

An Idaho woman was ordered to pay $5,826.99 in restitution for improper food storage at a campsite in Grand Teton National Park that resulted in a grizzly bear having to be tranquilized, collared and relocated.

Belinda J. Arvidson, 50, failed to properly store garbage and beverages while camping despite multiple warning signs about bears and the importance of proper food storage, including instructions to use bear boxes for food and other items, the Department of Justice, District of Wyoming, disclosed in a news release Friday afternoon.

Consequently, a grizzly bear wandered into the campsite and rummaged through the trash and other food items as nearby campers chronicled the incident with photos and video.

“Irresponsible behaviors have consequences, and many times it is the wildlife that pays the ultimate price,” Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Chip Jenkins said. “We all have responsibilities to preserve and protect the incredible wild animals of Grand Teton National Park and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.”

Also on FTW Outdoors: Video shows bear biting man in ‘very unusual’ July 4 encounter

Since the bear received a “food reward,” officials were forced to tranquilize, collar and relocate the bear by boat to another area of the park.

“It could pose a danger to humans if the bear were to have another similar incident, and euthanizing the bear may become necessary,” the Department of Justice stated. “The amount of restitution to be paid by Arvidson covers the National Park Service’s costs for this operation, including the cost of a GPS collar now necessary to track the bear’s movement.”

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark L. Carman in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming, handed down the sentence, which included four years of unsupervised release.

Grand Teton National Park is home to grizzly bears and black bears, who are attracted into parking lots, campgrounds and picnic areas by odors.

“All food items with a smell must be stored in a bear-resistant food storage locker or in a hard-sided vehicle with the doors locked and the windows closed day and night,” the Department of Justice wrote. “Never store food, garbage or toiletries in tents.

The National Park Service has more information on safety in bear country on its website.

Photos of grizzly bears courtesy of Wikipedia Commons and the National Park Service.