Drunk campers fined for vomit as ‘wildlife attractant’ in Banff

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A group of drunken Australians camping in Banff National Park this summer were fined $400 for leaving a messy campsite, including a pile of vomit that could have potentially attracted wildlife.

Australian Joshua Somerville pleaded guilty to the charge of contravening regulations of the National Parks Act in Canmore Provincial Court, Nov. 15.

Crown prosecutor Anita Szabo told Judge M. Tyndale that park wardens responding to a complaint from campground staff found a campsite littered with alcohol containers and the vomit, which she characterized as having the potential to attract wildlife.

Tyndale questioned whether a “pile of vomit” was a wildlife concern, but Szabo said anything that could attract an animal in the national park is concerning.

In the summer of 2016, for example, two wolves were killed by Parks Canada staff after they accessed food attractants in Banff campgrounds. In one of those incidents the wolf ate dried rice thrown by a church group as an offering to nature, and another ate seafood waste, including shrimp, out of the campfire. Both incidents resulted in $1,000 fines.

Illegal camping fines were handed out to Sheldon Martens by the judge as well, $300 for illegal camping and $200 for having a fire.

Szabo said wardens were informed of illegal campers at Rockbound Lake in Banff National Park on Sept. 17. Wardens had to use a helicopter to fly into the remote site, she said, because overnight camping is not permitted in that location.

“There is no camping there, sir, so as a result they had to do a helicopter search,” Szabo said. “Martens indicated the idea to camp was his and he accepted responsibility for the group and the illegal fire.”

The incident did not occur during a fire ban, noted the Crown, hence the lower fine than the $1,000 illegal campers with fires have been receiving so far this year.

Tourist Christoph Blecker pleaded guilty to illegal camping as well, but the incident he was involved in in August involved an RV parked overnight along Bow Valley Parkway.

Szabo told the judge wardens were advised of the illegal camping in a pullout along the scenic route in Banff National Park. The RV was noted to have an SUV in tow behind it as well.

She said the occupants refused to open the door to the warden, swore at them and indicated they would not respect their authority.

But Szabo said the law enforcement arm of the federal agency returned to the site later that day when the occupants had left in the SUV, and they towed the camper and charged Blecker with contravening regulations of the National Parks Act.

The judge issued a $400 fine for the offence.

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