Tim Collins / News staff
When Cathy East and five friends went for a hike on Wednesday morning, they were fully expecting to enjoy the natural beauty of the Abbott Ridge trail in Glacier National Park. It’s a hike they’ve done before, and as outdoor enthusiasts, they love the unspoiled vistas and peaceful surroundings of the trail.
Then, at about 10:15 a.m., East heard the sound of a motorcycle. That’s when she and her friends saw what, to East, was an unbelievable sight. A man riding a dirt bike came careening up the trail, damaging the ground with spinning tires, seemingly unconcerned with the obvious objections of the hikers.
“Dirt bikes aren’t allowed in the park. Everyone knows that, but this young man obviously didn’t care. He was out there to prove something, I’d say, and he took off and went up the path, all the way to the summit,” recounted East.
“We know he went all the way up because we saw the tire tracks and trail damage all the way up.”
East recalled how she was at first shocked and then angry as she thought about how this individual had disrespected the park and the environment with his foolish stunt.
When East returned home, she contacted the National Park enforcement officer and provided information on the occurrence, but she remained shaken by the encounter.
” I remember that, at the time, I was so angry, I just didn’t know what to do.”
Shelley Bird, the communications spokesperson for Parks Canada said that the parks service is aware of the complaint and on Friday posted the incident on their facebook page, asking for information that may lead to identifying the scofflaw involved in the incident.
She acknowledged that, while it’s the park warden’s responsibility to enforce the National Parks Act, they do work closely with the RCMP and would likely involve the police if the culprit in this case is identified.
(Editor’s note: see feature in this issue on a new smartphone app designed to deal with precisely this sort of situation.)