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Cutting trail in a provincial park nets fine

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A Caledon man has been fined $2,000 for illegally cutting a trail and operating an off-road vehicle within a provincial park.

Florian Kunst pleaded guilty to unlawfully cutting trees in a provincial park and operating an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) in a provincial park without written authorization of the park superintendent.

In addition to the fines, Kunst was ordered to pay up to $3,000 towards the costs associated with rehabilitating the damaged park lands.

Court heard that in August, 2008, a Ministry of Natural Resources conservation officer was patrolling in Prairie River Mouth Provincial Nature Reserve, along the north shore of Lake Superior.

The officer discovered an area where there had been considerable trail cutting, erosion, and rutting by an off-road vehicle.

Further investigation revealed that more than 130 trees had been recently cut along a 1.2-km trail, where Kunst was discovered operating his ATV.

No cutting or ATV travel had been authorized by the park’s superintendent.

The nature reserve protects a highly-sensitive beach/ridge dune complex and an old-growth spruce-lichen forest.

Justice of the Peace Liette Hunter heard the case June 11 in Schreiber.

To report a natural resources violation, call toll-free 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) any time or contact your local MNR office during regular business hours.

You also can call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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