Woman ordered to pay $5K for having food unsecured at campsite, attracting bear

A woman has to pay $5,826.99 in restitution for not securing food at her campsite in Grand Teton National Park.

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Department of Justice officials said Belinda Arvidson, 50, of Idaho has to pay for improper food storage and will have to serve four years of unsupervised release, for the misdemeanor charge.

Officials said Arvidson was camping in the park and did not properly store garbage and beverages at her site. A grizzly bear found the garbage and drinks and was photographed by others campers as it rummaged through the garbage.

There were multiple warning signs about bears and how to properly store food and the park provided bear boxes to do so.

Bears can be lured by odors. All food must be stored in a bear-resistant food locker or a hard sided vehicle that is locked with windows fully closed day and night.

Food, garbage and toiletries should not be stored in tents, officials said.

Because the bear received a food reward when it ransacked Arvidson’s camp, it had to be tranquilized and collared before being moved to another area of the park. If the bear comes in contact with people again, it may have to be euthanized.

The amount of money Arvidson was ordered to pay was to cover the cost of relocating the bear, including the GPS collar that park officials put on the animal to track its movement.

“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,” Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Chip Jenkins said in a DOJ release.