On June 8, a Cochrane Fish and Wildlife Officer pulled over a Jeep for a public lands infraction—and was soon arresting the driver and seizing the vehicle.
The officer was conducting checks along the Waiparous Creek, a critical habitat for the endangered West Slope Cutthroat Trout and Bull Trout, when he saw the black Jeep driving on the shore of the creek and along a trail designated for quad use only. For these public lands infractions, the driver was charged with driving an on-highway vehicle on a non-designated trail. As a witness in the area reported that the vehicle had also driven through the creek, additional charges will be laid.
During the stop, the officer also learned the driver had a suspended license and multiple warrants, so he was arrested and the vehicle was seized for 30 days.
In total, this trip down the creek could prove to be an expensive one. Violations under the Public Lands Administration Act can result in up to $25,000 in fines per offense. The total vehicle impound fee will be $2,200, which includes a towing bill and $48 per day storage fee. As well, driving with a suspended license can result in a fine of up to $2,000.
Related to this incident, Fish and Wildlife has received reports that this vehicle and several other vehicles were seen earlier that day in an area known locally as Johnson Bog, an alpine wetland and critical habitat feeding Johnsons Creek, a tributary of Waiparous Creek. If you or someone you know witnessed this incident or have any information related to it or other offences, please call the Report a Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800.