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Taken for the removal of endangered trees: Lake Louise ski resort will be convicted

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Published November 30, 2018 4:32 am EST

KALGARIY: A judge should sentence the world famous ski resort Albert today to destroy endangered trees five years ago.

The Lake Louise resort in Banff National Park pleaded guilty last December to demolish a stand with trees, including a pine forest, on a ski track in 2013.

The resort must be sentenced in the courtroom in Calgary on two charges – one under the Species Risk Act and the other in accordance with the Canadian National Parks Act.

A total of 132 trees have been removed, but the actual number of endangered pine forests has been disputed. The crown initially said that 39 had been removed, but the defense said that the number was much lower.

The maximum fine in accordance with the Law on Species for Risks for each destroyed tree is $ 300,000, and the maximum for a tree is $ 250,000 in accordance with the Law on National Parks.

“We’ll calm down when it's finally over,” said Dan Markham, director of communications for the Lake Louise ski resort.

"Lake Louise seeks to move forward and initiate a correction plan, which we are working on in partnership with Parks Canada."

The long-lived white five-headed pine is native to high elevations and is threatened by invasive disease, fire and climate change. It is considered crucial because it provides food and habitat for animals and helps stabilize steep subalpine slopes.

The tree exists on high elevations in western North America at or near it. It grows on the continent by 100,000 years and can grow to 500-1000 years.

According to an agreed statement of facts, the crew of the trail, consisting of six employees, including the chief, began servicing in the summer of 2013 on the Ptarmigan ridge at the ski resort. The work included cleaning, repairing and installing fences, as well as pruning and removal of some trees.

The document says that at the end of September of the same year, workers reduced the number of trees, including endangered white pine trees, without permission.

A statement of fact states that only until August 12, 2014, Parks Canada staff and resort staff, who evaluated the site for the new hiking trail, found that the disappearing trees were cut off.

DNA analysis confirmed that the trees were white pines. The case was transferred to Canada’s parks for investigation, and the charges were dismissed.

A court document states that Lake Louise cooperates during the investigation and takes steps to prevent such incidents. It states that the resort also spent money on initiatives related to the pine forest, including extensive mapping of this tree in the area.

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