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Photographer Fined $535 For Approaching Black Bear In Yellowstone Wildlife Closure Area

A professional photographer has been fined for entering a closed wildlife area in Yellowstone National Park.

According to K2 Radio, Charlie Lansche of Oakley, Utah plead guilty to entering a restricted area of Yellowstone and approaching a black bear within 100 yards. Although the incident occurred last month, court documents only recently divulged the incident, according to K2 Radio.

Lansche entered his plea June 2. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Mark Carman ordered Lansche to pay $535 in fines and fees. He also sentenced Lansche to 30 days unsupervised probation. The full breakdown of Mr. Lansche’s fine and fees is below:

• $250 fine
• $10 special assessment
• $25 processing fee
• $250 “community service payment” to the Yellowstone Park Foundation Wildlife Protection Fund

The actual incident occurred several weeks prior, after a bear was sighted feeding on a bison carcass. Per Park policy, the area was closed off—for the safety of both the bear and visitors. From K2 Radio:

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.

Both of Mr. Lansche’s charges (violating a wildlife closure area and approaching a black bear) were misdemeanors.

Most likely, the black bear incident was overshadowed by another wildlife incident, involving a Canadian tourist who put a bison calf in the back of his SUV. The man was later fined $200 and placed on six months unsupervised probation.

About Sean Reichard

Sean Reichard is the editor of Yellowstone Insider and author of Yellowstone Insider For Families 2017.

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