The Lake Louise Ski Area, in Alberta, Canada was just fined $2.1 million dollars. In a lawsuit brought on by Parks Canada, the ski resort was found guilty of illegally cutting down 140 trees. Some of which were whitebark pines, an endangered and protected species.
Lake Louise resort was charged under the Species at Risk Act and the Canada National Parks Act. The lawsuit was brought on in December 2017 when park wardens received a report that the ski area had done some illegal tree removal in the park. Upon further investigation, it became apparent that the endangered species were among the trees that were removed.
The 2.1 million fine, which comes out to around $55,000 per tree, was revealed on November 30th, 2018. Ski resort management and staff were shocked at the decision. Lake Louise Ski Area brand and communications director Dan Markham commented.
“We were quite surprised with the amount, which seemed considerably higher than precedents. We were also very surprised for the reasons for the decision from the judge today.”
-Dan Markham speaking with pbqnews.
The resort plans to appeal the decision on the grounds that the removal of the tree’s did not harm the overall population of whitebark pine trees in the park. The ski area alone has nearly 7,000 whitebark pine trees.
The $2.1 million will help fund Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.