Admitted to cutting endangered trees: Sentencing hearing for Alberta ski resort

CALGARY — A week-long sentencing hearing has begun in Calgary to decide how large a fine a world-renowned Alberta ski resort will pay after admitting to cutting down endangered trees five years ago.

The Lake Louise resort in Banff National Park pleaded guilty in December to cutting down a stand of trees, including some whitebark pine, along a ski run in 2013.

The resort will be sentenced on two charges — one under the Species At Risk Act and the other under the Canada National Parks Act.

The hearing is also to determine how many trees were cut down.

The Crown has said 39 trees were removed, but the defence says the number is much lower.

The maximum fine under the Species At Risk Act for each tree destroyed is $300,000, while the maximum per tree is $250,000 under the National Parks Act.

Parks Canada investigators found a number of stumps and discarded trees near the ski run and used DNA analysis to confirm that they were whitebark pine.

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