Canyon river runner fined in trash, firewood case

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- A Grand Canyon river runner from Alaska has been fined $1,500 and ordered to pay roughly $1,000 of court costs for dumping trash into the Colorado River and for illegally collecting driftwood for campfires.

A federal magistrate in Flagstaff on Dec. 1 sentenced 75-year-old Nels Nichols Niemi (KNEE'-me) of Haines on two misdemeanor convictions stemming from an Oct. 29 trial.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says evidence showed that Niemi was a trip leader for a group that dumped trash and garbage into the river daily during a 12-day trip and that he also collected driftwood to make fires each night.

U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo said the prosecution and sentence should remind Colorado River users that rules and regulations protecting the Grand Canyon National Park will be vigorously enforced.