Park Closures Spark Protests Against Government Shutdown - KMSP-TV

Park Closures Spark Protests Against Government Shutdown

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VALLEY FORGE, Pa. -

Runners laced up their shoes Sunday morning, running for what they call their right to run at our national parks.

John Bell helped spearhead the picket run around Valley Forge Historical Park.

He's one of the many people not happy it's closed because of the federal government shutdown.

"They're trying to make it a safety issue," Bell said. "It's not really about that. We run with cell phones. We can call 911."

We first met Bell earlier this week. Right after he'd gotten a $100 dollar ticket for his weekly run at Valley Forge.

"I was pretty much shocked when I first got it," Bell said.

"I thought it was ridiculous because these are public lands," Caren Lipkin, who took part in the picket run said.

Most signs posted around the park clearly state it's closed because of the government shutdown. That use of the grounds, trails and parking lots is not allowed.

But Bell, who's run many marathons, says he was only greeted by a closed sign when he started his run last Sunday.

A week later we spotted one park ranger drive by. It didn't appear other bikers and runners using the trails were being ticketed.

Runners aren't alone in their outrage, Citizens for Liberty and a number of veterans staged their own rally and walk through Valley Forge in an act of civil disobedience.

"I feel like this is the Boston Tea Party all over again. But it's in Valley Forge, " said organizer Steve Piotrowski.

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