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Contact: Sarah Davis, (662) 680-4014
WAYNE CO, TN– On January 7, 2017, a winter storm with snow and ice caused dangerous driving conditions on the Natchez Trace Parkway. After rangers worked a 3-car motor vehicle collision on a treacherous hill, the National Park Service decided to close the Parkway from milepost 355 to milepost 370 to protect life and property. Under the United States Code of Federal Regulations 36 CFR §1.5 Closures and Public Use Limits, the Superintendent has the authority to close sections or all of a National Park to protect the visitors, wildlife, employees, or resources.
Barricades were placed, detours identified and signed, and press releases were sent to media sources to notify the public of the road closures. Unfortunately, a number of motorists ignored the barricades and entered the closed area. Rangers ticketed at least six people with violating the closure. Each violator received a mandatory federal court appearance set for a later date.
The National Park Service places closures in effect for public safety. Driving around barricades is illegal and puts the driver and park employees in an unnecessary risky situation. Violation of the 36 CFR §1.5 carries a penalty of up to $5,000 in fines and up to six months imprisonment in a Federal facility. Under Tennessee Law, travel on a closed road or tampering with, moving, or damaging a road barricade is a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in prison and up to a $2,500 fine.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.