IDAHO WOMAN ORDERED TO PAY OVER $5000 IN RESTITUTION FOR IMPROPERLY STORING FOOD IN CAMPSITE AT GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK

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Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray announced today that BELINDA J. ARVIDSON, 50, of  Idaho was ordered to pay $5,826.99 in restitution for improper food storage, a misdemeanor offense, in Grand Teton National Park. The sentence was handed down by United States Magistrate Judge Mark L. Carman in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming, on July 20, 2021. Arvisdon will also serve four years of unsupervised release.

While camping in Grand Teton National Park, Arvidson failed to properly store garbage and beverages resulting in a grizzly bear receiving a food reward when it found the unattended garbage and drink at the campsite.  Individuals camping 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. 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. 

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Due to the bear receiving a food reward, upon locating the bear, it was tranquilized, collared, and relocated by boat to another area of the park.  It could pose a danger to humans if the bear were to have another similar incident, and euthanizing the bear may become necessary.  The amount of restitution to be paid by Arvisdon covers the National Park Service’s costs for this operation, including the cost of a GPS collar now necessary to track the bear’s movement

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

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Grizzly bears and black bears thrive in Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. 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 doors locked and windows closed day and night. Never store food, garbage, or toiletries in tents. For information about bear safety in Grand Teton National Park visit Safety in Bear Country – Grand Teton National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

This crime was investigated by the National Park Service and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Hambrick. For questions relating to Grant Teton National Park, please contact Denise Germann at denise_germann@nps.gov or 307-739-3393.

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