It didn’t take long for Parks Canada to catch its first offender.
An 11-kilometre no-stopping zone set up Sunday in southern Kootenay National Park east of Radium Hot Springs to discourage human-wildlife interaction, nabbed its first offender, also on Sunday.
“They were feeding the bear french fries,” Tania Peters of Parks Canada told CBC News Tuesday.
“It’s disappointing for sure to see, but it is also an opportunity for us to educate people about what the correct behaviour is in a national park.
“It is challenging for us to change the behaviour of wildlife, so it’s much more accessible to try to change the behaviour of people and our visitors.”
The zone, several kilometres east of Radium Hot Springs, starts at the McKay Operations Centre and ends at the Cobb Lake Trailhead. There are also area closures at the Olive Lake day-use site and the southbound brake check, where there’s no stopping except for commercial vehicles.
“Most motorists and visitors are super respectful of that no-stopping zone, but from time to time we do have to educate visitors,” Peters explained.
“Generally we try to start with warnings, but if the behaviour is something out of the ordinary or something that is putting people at risk, we do have the ability to lay charges.”
The zone was first put in place in 2014 after a grizzly and her cubs foraging near Olive Lake caused traffic chaos as people stopped to look at the animals.
Max fine of $25K
“Last year two charges were laid through the duration of the no-stopping zone and four formal warnings were given.
“Beyond that, a lot of staff issued informal warnings and took the opportunity to educate visitors and motorists about the no-stopping zone. That is really our first step,” Peters said.
The french-fries-offering individual…