Athabasca County fined $300K for cutting and burning trees in national wildlife area

Meanook National Wildlife Area, near Athabasca, Alta. Credit: Google Earth

A municipal district north of Edmonton has been fined $300,000 for breaking a federal environmental law.

Environment Canada says Athabasca County pleaded guilty to violating Wildlife Area Regulations of the Canada Wildlife Act.

It says the county cut and burned trees in the Meanook National Wildlife area in 2017.

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The department also says fencing, signage and scientific equipment were destroyed in the area that caused risk to wildlife and damage to wildlife habitat.

The Meanook National Wildlife Area 140 kilometres north of Edmonton is in the transition zone between boreal forest and aspen parkland.

Environment Canada says the area provides habitat for boreal songbirds, hawks, grouse and mammals including snowshoe hare, black bear and moose.

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The fine is to be paid to the federal government’s environmental damages fund.

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