Camper Fined $6,000 for Improper Food Storage After Bear Is Tranquilized

Belinda Arvidson of Idaho was ordered to pay nearly $6,000 in restitution for improper food storage, a misdemeanor offense at Grand Teton National Park. In a statement released Friday, the U.S. attorney's office for Wyoming said that the messy campsite resulted in a grizzly bear receiving a "food reward." The bear has since been tranquilized, and Arvidson was ordered to serve four years of unsupervised release.

According to the attorney's office, the park contained multiple warnings about bears and proper food storage, including information about bear boxes, which could be used to store food, beverages, etc. However, Arvidson still left her food unprotected and unattended.

As a result, a grizzly bear was found rummaging through Arvidson's trash and ultimately received a food reward. Once the bear was located, it was tranquilized, collared and relocated by boat to a separate area of the park, where officials hope it will not pose a threat to other park-goers. Officials warn that the bear could be euthanized at a later date should it become involved in a similar situation. The attorney's office says that the bear is now being tracked via a GPS collar.

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

Officials say that the restitution paid by Arvidson covered the costs necessary for park officials to relocate and track the bear.

There are an estimated 750 grizzly bears living within the Greater Yellowstone Area, where Grand Teton National Park is located. Under the Endangered Species Act, grizzlies一which are listed as "threatened"一are protected in the Yellowstone Ecosystem. As such, the National Park Service (NPS) promises to prevent bears from "obtaining human food, preserve wilderness to minimize human-caused mortalities and disturbances, and maintain our long-term monitoring program."

To maintain its promise, NPS has provided a list of camping guidelines on its website to keep bears and people safe. In these guidelines, NPS reminds guests to keep all food in "a bear-resistant food storage locker" or inside of a locked vehicle. It also reminds visitors to store all items that are not in immediate use. Failure to do so could result in the confiscation of items and a fine, as was the case with Arvidson.

NPS also encourages all guests to report "careless" campers to the nearest park official.

Grizzly bear
A woman was ordered to pay nearly $6,000 in restitution for improper food storage after a bear was tranquilized and relocated in Grand Teton National Park. The bear's movements are now being tracked. James Devaney / Contributor/Getty