Woman fined for removing campground artifacts

A Lake Isabella woman says she has to pay almost 300 hundred dollars for removing artifacts at a local campground but there are no sign that says the campground is a historic, archaeological site.
A Lake Isabella woman says she has to pay almost 300 hundred dollars for removing artifacts at a local campground. according to the woman, she says there is no sign that says the campground is a historic, archaeological site.

"If I had known this was a town dump and it was historic, I would have never come here and done that," said camper Nancy Martin.

At Boulder Gulch Campground in Lake Isabella, you'll find historic artifacts scattered throughout the area but, under the 1906 Antiquities Act, removing these artifacts will cost you.

"Anything more than 50 years old is considered an archaeological artifact and is protected under federal law," said Kern River District Manager Jeff Ulrich.

Nancy Martin and her father were cited 275 dollars each Wednesday. They say they had no idea they were digging and taking artifacts from an archaeological site.

"We were very shocked, we didn't know that. No postings, no signs, no information around this valley that we know of," said Martin.

Martin says the items looked intriguing. She wanted to make art with some of the broken glass. After collecting some of the artifacts, she was approached by several rangers telling her the area was an old town dump.

"They asked us we had been here before and if we had taken things, they even discussed among themselves possible coming out to our houses," said Martin.

Martin says she has never seen any signs posted in the area about the historic site, or about possible citations.

"To actually sign the site would first be a violation of federal law for me because I'd be telling people where there were artifacts that we were not actively managing like at a visitor site," said Ulrich.

Jeff Ulrich says there are posters on several bulletin boards and inside the Sequoia National Forest Visitor brochure. He says some people dig up the artifacts and sell them for profit but Martin says signs should be posted near the archaeological sites.

"You're a law-abiding citizen and you try to be but, when there's no information out there to let you know that this is against the law, that's really frustrating," said Martin.

"These laws again were set up to protect our past so we can understand it," said Ulrich.

Martin and her father have 30 days to pay the fine.
 
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