A 56-year-old marathoner parked in an unblocked parking lot at the Valley Forge National Historical Park on Sunday to head out for a training run. When he returned, he was was met by two park rangers, their cruiser lights flashing, and was slapped with a $100 fine.
John Bell of Chadds Ford, Pa., said he saw other runners and bikers in the park, which is technically closed during the federal government shutdown, according to the Associated Press.
Bell, who plans to fight the citation in federal court, is an “avid marathon runner” who has run in hundreds of marathons in “every state of the union” and places like Antarctica, according to his lawyer Jeremy Gonzales Ibrahim.
Although there are photographs of signs posted around the park stating it was closed, Ibrahim said his client parked in an exterior lot — one around the perimeter of the park — that did not have a sign. Ibrahim said Bell did not see closure signs or barricades and also noted that he lives about 26 miles away.
“The problem is you have to give notice to folks,” Ibrahim said. “The website, at least yesterday, did not mention the park being closed.”
“You need a road map to figure out what is open and closed,” Ibrahim said.
Asked how his client reacted upon being issued the fine when he returned from his four-mile run, Ibrahim said it was “shock and dismay.”
“He’s just a simple, humble runner,” Ibrahim said. “His comment to (the rangers) was ‘is this how they plan to solve the budget with is $100 fine?’”