The next time you decide to pick a flower for your own enjoyment while inside a national park you may think twice after a woman was recently fined $500 for doing just that.
Jessy Seida was in Canmore Provincial Court earlier this month and pleaded guilty to contravening the regulations of the National Parks Act in front of Judge Gordon Wong.
Seida, according to federal Crown prosecutor Anita Szabo, was one of several campers at Two Jack Lake Campground on May 22 when park wardens were patrolling the campground in the morning of the long weekend.
Szabo said wardens indicated the campsite was a mess, with dirty dishes, food jars and garbage strewn about, along with alcohol in a cooler. Alcohol is prohibited in all Parks Canada campsites on long weekends, she added.
In addition to the food attractants that were left out, Szabo said on the picnic table was a bunch of calypso orchids that had been picked.
“This young lady picked a number of them from the stem,” said the Crown. “The orchid is not listed or endangered, but are considered rare in this ecosystem and susceptible to disturbance.”
Szabo said it is contrary to the national parks act to disturb flora or fauna in the national park and asked the judge to issue a steep fine to send a message.
Duty counsel Linda Levesque, speaking on Seida’s behalf, told the judge that she was the only one to take responsibility for the state of the campsite that day when wardens attended.
“In this instance she came forward to take responsibility for the group,” she said. “She is the one who picked the flowers, however, she was not aware she was not allowed to do so.”
The judge fined Seida $500 for picking the flowers and $250 for the messy campsite. A third charge was withdrawn by the Crown after the guilty plea.