Runner fined for using National Park during shutdown - New York News

Runner fined for using National Park during shutdown

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VALLEY FORGE, Pa. (AP) — A marathoner says he was fined $100 for running in Valley Forge National Historical Park during the government shutdown.

John Bell, 56, said he parked his car on Sunday in a remote parking lot, not one blocked by a barrier. Bell, of Chadds Ford, said two rangers were waiting with their car lights flashing when he returned.

Bell said he plans to fight the ticket in federal court. He said he saw many other runners and bikers in the park.

Maine’s Acadia National Park had trouble keeping visitors out during the shutdown and was issuing fines to campers, bikers and hikers. On Saturday, 16 hikers hopped a gate to gain entry to Utah’s closed Zion National Park to protest the shutdown.

A National Park Service spokesman in Washington, D.C., didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment Monday.

The Park Service says 20,000 employees have been furloughed and about 3,000 are providing security and emergency services.

Bell’s lawyer, Jeremy Ibrahim, said Bell was just trying to stay fit, even as Congress debates a national health plan.

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