The National Park Service (NPS) and USDA Forest Service recently issued criminal citations to concessioners for violating the terms of their concession contracts. NPS issued a citation to an NPS concessioner for having paid its franchise fee late. The citation, which constituted a Class B misdemeanor, was issued by an NPS Law Enforcement Officer in Glacier Bay National Park. NPS’ regulations that apply to Glacier Bay National Park prohibit any party from violating the terms of its permit. While typically NPS deals with late payments through the provisions of its concessions contracts, which include late fee penalties, NPS took the highly unusual step of also asserting that the late payment was a crime.
The Forest Service also issued a citation to a Term Special Use Holder based on allegations that the permittee was operating a campsite without proper authorization. The permit holder believed that the terms of its permit authorized the activity. Notably, the Forest Service had inspected the campsite in prior annual evaluations and never stated that it was unauthorized. In fact, the agency included photos of the campsite in the annual evaluation. When this fact was pointed out to the Assistant U.S. Attorney handling the case, he responded that the agency’s actions were akin to a police officer not issuing a ticket for speeding all week, but then deciding to do so at the end of the week. The permittee is contesting the citation. [Update 05/09/2019: After reviewing the facts which formed the basis for the Forest Service’s issuance of the Violation Notice, the Assistant U.S. Attorney filed a motion with the Court to dismiss the criminal citations filed against the permit holder.]