Group fined for illegally tenting on West Coast Path

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(Pexel)

A half-dozen men who were caught camping and paddleboarding along Vancouver Island’s West Coast Trail amid a COVID-19 closure are now facing hefty fines.

Between May 30th and June 1st, 2021, the group of six trail-goers were found engaging in “restricted or prohibited activities,” according to a Duncan Courthouse statement to Victoria Buzz.

This past Friday, in Western Communities Court, all six men pleaded guilty to entering the area without a permit, contrary to National Parks General Regulations.

Five of them were ordered to pay a $1,750 fine within one year, with the sixth ordered to pay $3,500 within three years.

After approval from Parks Canada, the group must also publish an apology article within 12 months. The agency can then republish the piece up to three times in the media.

At the time of their trip, the popular 75-kilometre backpacking trail was closed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 into nearby communities.

It later reopened to overnight visitors on June 4th, 2021, after Parks Canada gave the go-ahead in collaboration with nearby Huuay-aht, Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations.