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Olympic National Park Officials Fine Individual For Taking 100-Year-Old Wagon Wheel From Park


Apparently a local living near Olympic National Park never thought too hard about the saying that in a national park you should "take only pictures and leave only footprints."

Park officials say the unidentified individual spotted a wagon wheel thought to be about 100 years old in the lakebed of the recently drained Lake Aldwell and toted it home to sell.

Well, rangers have computers, too, spotted the wagon wheel on sale on Craigslist, and tracked down the seller. The seller was issued a $225 citation on June 15, after the wheel was purchased by an agent of the park, a park release said.

The receding waters at the sites of Lake Aldwell and Lake Mills have revealed many items left behind by early residents of the Elwha Valley. Park officials want you to remember that many of these items are of historic significance and collecting such items is illegal in both reservoirs.

“The remains of prehistoric and historic cultures are part of our heritage,” said Olympic National Superintendent Todd Suess. “When artifacts are stolen and archeological sites are damaged or disturbed, we lose important clues about the past, forever.”

Strict laws protect artifacts and sites on state, federal and Indian lands and any artifacts found in the former reservoirs should be left where found and reported to the park. If a historic artifact or site is found, please contact Dave Conca, chief of cultural resources, at or call 360-565-3053.


Wait. The federal government is STILL screwing Native Americans?

The Elwha Tribe would like to add the drained Lake Aldwell area and newly exposed sacred sites to their tiny thousand-acre reservation:

The NPS could afford a lavish invitation-only party celebrating the start of the $350 million dam removal project, but claims there is no money to study transfering the land they themselves now control. The tribe still has not received millions of dollars promised when longtime congressman Norm Dicks brokered their original participation in the Elwha Project. Since Dicks has announced his retirement, I'm guessing the Native Americans are likely to be screwed out of their money and land once again.

Touched a nerve, did I?

Good. Your continual slams on public employees and efforts to preserve our public lands are becoming tiresome.

Ha, Lee, stealing? Just a little tired of the self righteous outrage. Would picking up debris on the beach when the tide goes out be next on the no no list? Arch sites should be protected don't get me wrong. If the wheel was older than 50 years old and in a National Park (questionable in this case) the wheel would be protected under federal statute right along with pure garbage that is 11 years younger than myself, lol! I'm giving you an opportunity here, I know, Lee:)!

The point was the lack of any indication of connection, empathy as to the very serious economic state we are in. The guy should just have a federal job so he could also have that lofty head set.

The number of people that are rapidly finding themselves in dire straights may just find themselves sorting through more than just 100 year old wheels when the Elwa tide goes out. That's the point, Lee:).

Oh, so now the poor economy justifies stealing?

Yes, there probably is something to be learned here.

Nothing was mentioned about whether the guy had a job in this economy. Secure government employees seem to be detached from the real world. Where do you draw your check from, John? There's something to be learned from this, I believe.

Thanks, JCR! "Restoration" sounds pretty open-ended. Anyone know of a specific cutoff for this authority, or is the former reservoir likely to become a de-facto park addition?

Hope the Agent didn't pay more than $225.00 for it

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