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Feeding Fish or Dumping Trash? Grand Canyon Rafter Fined

An Alaskan man will pay almost $2,500 in fines and court fees for dumping trash during a Grand Canyon rafting trip.

75-year-old Niels Nicholas Niemi was found guilty of dumping trash and illegally collecting firewood.

The incidents took place during the course of a 12-day rafting trip that Niemi was leading. One participant told investigators that Niemi dumped trash in the river "with the comment that it would provide food for the fish."

Niemi was leading the trip with a non-commercial rafting permit, and was employed by a company that advertises a "Leave No Trace" principle.

Finding enough evidence to convict those dumping trash can be difficult.

U.S. Attorney John Leonardo said in a statement that Niemi's "prosecution and sentence [should] remind all users of the Colorado River that the rules and regulations designed to protect the ecosystem within the Grand Canyon National Park are important and will be vigorously enforced."

While dumping trash may seem like a minor offense, this area is a shared resource and more than 97,600 non-commercial users spent time on the Colorado River last year.

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Feeding Fish or Dumping Trash? Grand Canyon Rafter Fined