PORT ANGELES, Wash. -
Kelly Sanders is a Port Angeles teacher who wanted to hike into Olympic National Park last Saturday with some international students. She drove around a barricade and some cones into the Storm King Ranger station and parked. That's when a park ranger appeared and handed her and two others $125 tickets for violating the government shutdown.
Sanders said she saw a sign that said because of the federal shutdown, the National Park facility was closed. She said “by facility I expected that meant bathrooms, the lodge, the ranger station itself. I didn't think it meant the waterfall, the trail that we go on every month."
When she was handed the ticket, Sanders said she thought it was ridiculous. She's not angry with the park ranger who was just doing her job, and seemed apologetic for having to hand out tickets. Sanders complaint is with the government shutdown and the wording of the park's signs. "I thought that the sign should be more clearly worded to stay out, don't enter, that it was not OK to go in. I would not have done that if I had known that I would get a fine or that it was even illegal," she said.
A park service spokeswoman confirmed that it is illegal to go around barricades during the government shutdown and that Sanders went around two of them. A total of five citations have been issued so far for violating the park closure. Sanders plans to fight the ticket she received.