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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.


So long as the penalties are just a slap on the wrist like this one, this stuff will continue to happen. We need to gett he courts to tkae the proetction of park resources seriously.

I'm curious how the NPS has authority in this case, since the former Lake Aldwell is outside Olympic National Park?

"Although Lake Aldwell was not within the park, the National Park Service was given jurisdiction over the area for the purpose of the restoration project."

225 dollars fine give me a break!!! Should have been in the thousands.

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

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?

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.

Oh, so now the poor economy justifies stealing?

Yes, there probably is something to be learned here.

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