A B.C. man who gained over half a million YouTube followers is facing several charges after he allegedly crossed into Banff National Park to hunt, fish and light fires during a 30-day survival challenge.
Gregory Ovens is next scheduled to appear in a Calgary court on Feb. 9, 2022. He faces six charges connected to illegal fishing, hunting in a park, discharging a firearm in a park, lighting an illegal fire, and damaging or destroying a natural object. He is also alleged to have breached the Canada National Park Act for flying a drone without a permit, said a spokesperson for Parks Canada.
The court appearances come following a joint Parks Canada and BC Conservation Officer Service investigation against Ovens, triggered after a public report in July 2019.
Ovens, who lives in the village of Canal Flats near the headwaters of the Columbia River, is alleged to have crossed into Banff National Park during a '30 Day Survival Challenge in the Canadian Rockies' with fellow survivalist Zachary Fowler, an American citizen. Fowler has an outstanding arrest warrant against him for seven related charges.
In a series of popular YouTube videos, Ovens and Fowler forage for mushrooms, build a raft, and pan for gold. Most of the videos show the men catching and smoking fish, but by day 30, Ovens is seen roasting a wild gopher in a tree fort several metres off the forest floor.
The survival challenge launched Ovens's YouTube channel in 2019, which to date has received over 45 million views. Glacier Media reached out to Ovens and Fowler, but neither was immediately available for comment.
Both men previously appeared in the third season of the History Channel reality show Alone.
Fowler won the competition after surviving 87 days in the Patagonia wilderness, over which he says he ate 63 fish and two birds.
Ovens lasted 51 days before coming down with hypothermia.