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Sports >  Outdoors

Idaho woman fined for improper garbage storage while in grizzly bear country

UPDATED: Wed., July 28, 2021

A sign at a trailhead warns hunters to take precautions in grizzly bear country.  (BRETT FRENCH, Billings Gazette)
A sign at a trailhead warns hunters to take precautions in grizzly bear country. (BRETT FRENCH, Billings Gazette)

An Idaho woman was fined $5,826.99 by the federal government for improperly storing garbage and drinks in grizzly bear country, Friday.

While camping in Grand Teton National Park, Belinda Arvidson left garbage and drinks out and unattended. A grizzly bear found the items and others campers 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,” according to a news release from the Department of Justice, District of Wyoming.

The woman was charged with a misdemeanor. She will also serve four years of unsupervised release.

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, according to the release.

Park officials had to tranquilize, collar and relocate the bear via boat to another area of the park.

The fine leveled against Arvidson will pay for the cost of that operation, plus the cost of the GPS collar, according to the release.

The incident was investigated by the National Parks Service and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Hambrick.

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

Odors attract bears into parking lots, campgrounds, and picnic areas. All food and items with a smell must be stored in a bear-resistant food storage locker or in a hard-sided vehicle with the, or toiletries in tents.

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