A $125 citation given to a Port Angeles teacher and several others for visiting Olympic National Park will stand for now, after the U.S. attorney refused to dismiss them despite a request from local law enforcement officials.
Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict and Port Angeles Police Chief Terry Gallagher asked U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan to dismiss the “closure violation” tickets issued to people who stopped at a trailhead Saturday at Olympic National Park.
The law enforcement officials told the Peninsula Daily News it was absurd for the ranger to issue the tickets Saturday and it shows a lack of discretion.
“I don’t have a problem with the ranger enforcing the closure,” Gallagher said. “But the choice to issue citations was entirely discretionary.”
KTTH host David Boze agrees.
“Law enforcement officers have a bit of discretion all the time. People speed by, they decide do they deserve a ticket or not,” says Boze.
Durkan says those ticketed drove past signs saying the park is closed. There were barricades also indicating the park closure. But teacher Kelly Sanders says she thought just facilities, not parking lots were closed and there was plenty of room to drive past a barricade with a sign indicating the park was closed.
Those given a ticket can still appeal in federal court, but they’ll have to drive all the way to Tacoma to do it. Sanders says she plans to do just that.
Park spokeswoman Barb Maynes says it supports the way the ranger did her job. Three citations were issued at the trailhead and two more were issued to bicyclists near Quinault who were asked to leave the park.
“Who gives a rat’s hiney whether there’s a barricade there?” laments Boze. “Why is there a barricade there? Why are we spending money and time and resources to put up a barricade at all for a parking lot? When Wal-Mart closes down people still park at Wal-Mart.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report