01/15/2015 12:33 EST | Updated 03/17/2015 05:59 EDT

Man Fined For Swimming With Banff's Endangered Snails

Jerry Bowley/Flickr
A Saturday spent in and around Banff with Lisa, her parents, and the kids.A close up of a couple of the endangered Banff Spring Snails. This is the only place on Earth that the creature lives. Each one is about the size of a lemon seed.(Though it may not look like it in the shot, these little guys were about 4 inches beneath the surface of the water.)

CANMORE, Alta. - A judge has fined a man $4,500 for taking a dip in a thermal pool that is home to a type of endangered snail in Banff National Park.

Bailey Thomas Townsend, 27, pleaded guilty Wednesday in a Canmore, Alta., court to entering a restricted area under the Canada National Parks Act and damaging critical habitat under the Species at Risk Act.

He was arrested in November after he was caught bathing at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. The site is the only place where the Banff springs snail is found.

Crown prosecutor Adam Zelmer said Townsend had earlier been warned by Parks Canada staff not to go into the pool, but did so anyway.

Court heard he was drunk and smoking a cigar while in the water.

Zelmer said protected sites such as the thermal pool "have been designated protected to help ensure the unique life forms which reside there do not disappear from the planet."

The snail was designated as threatened in 1997 and, three years later, was redesignated as endangered.

It is considered the most at-risk species in Banff park.


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