Man Fined For Entering A Closed Wildlife Area In Yellowstone
Photo by Michael Smith/Newsmakers
This time, it's a live bear, a dead bison and a professional photographer who broke the law in Yellowstone National Park.
A man recently pleaded guilty in federal court in Mammoth Hot Springs, YNP, to violating a restricted area and approaching a black bear within 100 yards in the park last month, according to court records.
Charlie Lansche of Oakley, Utah, entered the plea on June 2. Lansche is a highly respected nature photographer.
U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Mark Carman ordered Lansche to pay a total of $535 in fines and fees, and 30 days of unsupervised probation.
The case began May 17 when rangers received a report of a man approaching a bear feeding on a bison carcass at the Specimen Creek Trailhead in the northwestern area of the park in Montana, according to the citation written by ranger C. Schauer.
Three days earlier, a closure area had been set up around the carcass. Likewise, "no stopping signs" were posted on the nearby northeast entrance road and "wildlife closure no foot traffic" signs were posted around the carcass.
"As we approached the scene, I observed a man taking photographs at approximately 50 yards off of the road, within the signed wildlife closure no foot traffic area," Schauer wrote.
The ranger identified Lansche by his Utah driver's license, and showed him the wildlife closure sign.
The rangers and Lansche walked to the closest parking pull out where he would have driven by two closure signs to park his pickup.
Lansche told the rangers that he had not seen the signs, yet admitted he was in a closed area.
He was cited for violating a wildlife closure area and approaching the bear. An additional charge of just violating a wildlife closure area was dismissed. Both charges were misdemeanors.
Judge Carman ordered Lansche to pay a $250 fine plus a $10 special assessment and a $25 processing fee, and a $250 community service payment.
The community service fine was paid to the Yellowstone Park Foundation Wildlife Protection Fund.