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Shutdown: Teacher gets $125 ticket for entering national park

PORT ANGELES, Wash. — National parks in the state of Washington have been closed since the federal government shutdown began Oct. 1. One Port Angeles teacher found that out the hard way this weekend.

The Olympic National Park is a favorite spot for Kelly Sanders and her family.

“Marymere Falls, we go almost every weekend. The lake, we go almost every day in the summer,” she said Tuesday. “It’s our backyard.”

BWqM_WGCcAILeSGThis weekend, Sanders was hosting some international students from Japan. She wanted them to see the park, so she did a quick check on the National Park Service website to see if she could go.

“I didn’t see anything saying I could not,” she said. “When I got to the park, there was a partial barricade. But there was a full lane open.”

There was a sign on the barricade, but Sanders was confused by the use of the word “facility.”

“I thought that meant the gift shop and the restrooms and the ranger station — I didn’t think it meant the waterfall and the path. It didn’t occur to me that I was breaking the law, at all.”

But within minutes, a park ranger showed up and wrote her and several other visitors $125 tickets for “violation of closure.”

“I actually wanted to look it up to see if it’s a real law I violated, or if it’s just to communicate a point,” Sanders said.

Sanders doesn’t blame the ranger. She says it’s the lawmakers in Washington, D.C., who are responsible for the federal shutdown.

“I really would like them to know they’re affecting so many people.”

She was supposed to take some sixth-grade students on a field trip to the park next week, but now she doesn’t know if that will be possible.

“Even stepping foot into the national park at this time is not OK. I hope it will be soon.”

Sanders said she is going to go to court to fight the ticket. Even if she doesn’t win, she said, it’ll be a learning experience for her and her students.

11 comments

  • Anonymous

    I think every American should rise up and go to their nearest National Park. They can’t ticket everyone! Time to remind the government it’s FOR the people, not the other way around!! Stick it to the man!!

  • The World is Ending

    I find it interesting that they are shut down and can't operate, but they can write tickets and in some cases block access to private busnesses on leased land using several rangers working 24 hours a day.

  • marj413

    I love how clueless this "teacher" is. Come on lady, you know darn well that the government was shut down, to include national parks. You also can read I assume, being a "teacher" and all, so what about the sign is so confusing? Even IF the sign language was confusing (which it isn't) then the presence of barriers on the road (the whole road or one lane, doesn't matter) should have clued you in. If it were just the restrooms and gift shop then the signs and/or barriers would be in front of them, not the roads leading into the park.

    Do I think she deserved a ticket? No. But complaining to the media and acting like you were oblivious to what was going on is pretty appalling, especially for someone who is supposed to educate other people.

  • mlblogscbgoldsmith

    Writing tickets for clueless and precious dopes who deliver themselves to government to be punished is all government can do. This hypothetical consent we give government to rule us is called Sovereignty. It works only if government treats this as a gift given by the citizens allowing them to rule us and not the right of government to rule simply because they can. Otherwise, government becomes a house of cards built upon a base which can not hold.. In the face of government's impotence to do much beyond tax, fine and sometimes collect the trash anyone who follows the rules is begging the powers that be to continue to abuse them. Anarchy is the only answer to anarchy.

  • TeddyFan

    Ask yourself WWTRD … What Would Teddy Roosevelt Do …. you bet your ass he'd be going for a walk in the park owned by each and every g-dam American. The only power the government has is that which we give unto them.

  • gerry

    Ms. Sanders does not seem to be too bright. If she had gone in to make a political point, I would say good for her. But she went in on pure ignorance. After all the talk in every form of media on this shut down I fail to understand how an intelligent woman could get a ticket for this. And just think….. this is an example of what is teaching our children these days.

  • norsknab

    First of all the American People own these lands and the government only manages them, which we the American People pay them to do. I feel they have no right to block access to the land we actually own.

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