Stop at Olympic National Park, get $125 ticket

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by Associated Press and DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @Drewmikk

KING5.com

Posted on October 15, 2013 at 5:11 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 15 at 6:12 PM

PORT ANGELES, Wash.  -- People who pulled into a ranger station at Olympic National Park over the weekend were given $125 tickets for "violation of closure."

Three of the cars were a group of international students from Peninsula College led by host Kelly Sanders, a teacher from Port Angeles.

They pulled off Highway 101 at Lake Crescent, got out and posed for a picture behind the Storm King Ranger Station when Ranger Jennifer Jackson pulled up and wrote all three drivers tickets. Each carries the $125 fine for entering the park during the government shutdown.

"I didn't realize it was actually illegal to go into the parking lot at a national park," said Sanders.

Sanders said there was room for a car to drive past the barricade. She said the sign at the barricade said the facilities were closed, but she didn't think that meant the trails or the parking lot.

"It didn't say, 'Do not enter'," said Sanders. "It didn't say, 'Violators will be fined'."

Sanders said before she went to the park she looked on the park's website for information about the shutdown. She said she never saw anything about visitors facing $125 fines.

She's not upset about getting the ticket, but she plans on fighting it in court.

"I would say it was confusing to the students and myself," said Sanders.

The ranger, who isn't being paid during the shutdown, was sympathetic and urged Sanders to appeal her ticket in federal court.

KING 5 tried to reach the National Park Service for an explanation, but their office is closed due to the shutdown.

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