Friday, May 29, 2009
A new law stiffens the penalty for vandalism on public lands that are managed by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
FWP officials say the law, passed by the 2009 Montana Legislature, requires judges to suspend hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for 24 months of those convicted of vandalism on FWP managed sites. These sites include state parks, fishing access sites, and wildlife management areas. The law also carries a fine of up to $1,000, and six months in jail, or both, for vandalism.
Those who criminally trespass on FWP properties may also lose their hunting, fishing and trapping privileges.
"Vandalism is a frequent, chronic and expensive crime and we hope this new law will serve as significant deterrent," said Chas Van Genderen, FWP parks division administrator.
Vandalism at four fishing access sites in the past two weeks alone has resulted in more than $6,000 in damages, in addition to the staff time it will take to make extensive repairs and the inconvenience the public will experience until the repairs are completed.
Anyone with information about crimes in Montana's state parks, fishing access sites, WMA's or other FWP sites can report them by calling 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668). TIP-MONT callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 upon conviction of those responsible for the crimes. TIP-MONT also takes calls reporting vandalism on public lands managed by other agencies.