SVI-NEWS

Your Source For Local and Regional News

Slider

Slider

Featured Regional News

Mangelsen spars in court with Grand Teton National Park

 

The expected emergence of 27-year-old Grizzly 399 in spring 2023 caused photographers to gather roadside in Grand Teton National Park for weeks. She emerged on May 16, lone cub in tow. (Mike Romano/Romanosphotography.com)

 

JACKSON (WNE) — Renowned wildlife photographer Tom Mangelsen clashed with Grand Teton National Park rangers in federal court Friday as he challenged a traffic ticket he received in October.

He was ticketed while roving a park highway to document the aftermath of a suspected vehicle strike that injured Grizzly 610, a famous roadside bear.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman did not render a verdict following the full-day trial in Jackson. The judge said he’ll issue a written ruling once he decides whether or not Mangelsen is guilty of a misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle slowly enough to interfere with the normal flow of traffic.

Mangelsen, 78, is best known for documenting Grizzly 399 over the past 15 or so years. Grizzly 610 is one of 399’s offspring.

While two park rangers  testified that the situation involving the injured bear was volatile and the safety of motorists and bears was top of mind, Mangelsen said he has felt “targeted” by certain park employees for years.

Park law enforcement testified that Mangelsen violated the law by slowing down on Highway 26 and that his slow speed, between 5 and 10 mph, led to four cars trailing his vehicle.

Timm and another ranger, Tyler Brasington, spoke to a tension over how to manage “bear jams” in a park feeling the squeeze of more and more visitors. Rangers respond to 500 “bear jams” a year and right now, bear jams are daily, he said.

While it’s illegal to stop on a roadway, Mangelsen only stopped his vehicle on his fourth drive-through, when three of 610’s yearlings crossed the road in front of him. That’s when Timm contacted and cited him.

“This behavior is so common that hundreds of people do it in the park every day,” Mangelsen’s attorney Ed Bushnell said in court.

Bushnell stated that bear jams are not “normal” traffic circumstances and no cars piling up behind Mangelsen were seen on body camera footage.

 

Let us know what you think!
+1
0
+1
0
+1
0
+1
0
+1
0
+1
0
Share

LEAVE A RESPONSE