Alaska’s Brooks Falls is a prime viewing spot for brown bears as they load up on salmon as summer turns to fall. Tourists around the world flock to the webcams pointed at the falls to watch bears snatch fish from mid-air, with thousands more making the journey personally.
Last August three of those in-person viewers had a bit too much to drink, then left the nearby viewing platform to wade into the river to nab some selfies. That was dumb dumb.
All three pled guilty last week to misdemeanors associated with entering the protected area. David J. Engelman, 56, from New Mexico, and King Salmon residents Robert J. Engelman II, 54, and Steven R. Thomas, 30, each were sentenced to about a week of jail time, a year’s probation, and ordered to pay $9,000 in fines that will go toward a conservation group that works with the bears.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Matthew M. Scoble said during the hearing their actions were “drunken capering, and a slap in the face to those who were there.”