If a fine from Parks Canada can be considered an educational expense, one recent visitor paid $4,000 to learn not to spray paint on nature in a national park.
A tourist recently received that fine after pleading guilty to the charge of vandalism regarding an incident that occurred in Jasper National Park this past summer when they were observed vandalizing boulders and rocks with spray paint along the Whistlers Summit Trail.
Other guests to the site reportedly observed the vandal and attempted to encourage that person to stop. Unable to do so, they photographed the person’s face and the damage done and reported it immediately to Jasper Skytram staff who then notified Parks Canada.
Official representatives from Parks Canada were waiting for the individual upon their descent from the mountaintop.
“Vandalism is illegal and is not tolerated in Parks Canada places,” read a statement from Parks Canada.
Park wardens investigated and charged the individual under section 10 of the National Parks General Regulations, which stipulates that “no person shall remove, deface, damage or destroy any flora or natural objects.”
In a court appearance on Nov. 24, the individual pleaded guilty and was fined for their actions.
Breaking the law in a national park can result in eviction, a ticket, or arrest, and offences can carry heavy fines in excess of $250,000 and also result in jail time or restitution.
The mess was swiftly cleaned up by a squad of stern-elbowed volunteers organized by the Friends of Jasper National Park. The collective effort took about 50 total hours of labour to fully remove the paint.
“On behalf of Canadians, Parks Canada applauds the leadership of the Friends of Jasper, the Jasper SkyTram, and the volunteers and staff who rose to the occasion,” Parks Canada’s statement read.
A post on the Friends’ Facebook page also indicated that the individual was likely responsible for similar spray paint damage around Lake Annette and Lake Edith.
Reports of Parks Canada violations or suspicious activity can be made by contacting Jasper Dispatch at 780-852-6155 (toll free 1-877-852-3100), or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If it is safe to do so, you are encouraged to take photos and record details of incidents including time of day, location, description, and licence plate numbers. Parks Canada reported that video footage and images were a key factor in laying charges and fining the individual involved in this incident.
Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh