Senator Lisa Murkowski today welcomed a United States Forest Service decision to dismiss a citation issued to a Southeast Alaska daycare center for using a picnic table without a permit. The operator of Auntie's Day Care in Wrangell was facing a $350 fine (plus a $25 processing fee) for allowing youngsters to eat at a picnic table in the Tongass National Forest. Murkowski shared the anecdote during her comments at a Federal Overreach Summit in Anchorage on Tuesday, saying "What are they thinking?" while citing it as a glaring example of callous and unreasonable federal policy in Alaska. Last week, she had brought it to the attention of USFS Chief Thomas Tidwell during their joint visit to the region.
"It shouldn't take an act of Congress, or a U.S. Senator getting personally involved to ensure Alaskans are treated fairly," said Murkowski. "This disregard for common sense by the U.S. Forest Service -- by penalizing a woman taking a handful of kids out for a simple picnic -- is the latest in a dismal tradition of top down policymaking in DC hitting Alaskans in the pocketbook and chipping away at our state's unique culture."
"What is happening when you can't go out to a national forest and have a picnic for kids without a permit?," said Marilyn Monk who runs Auntie's Day Care. "That was a crazy thing asking me to have a permit, but I am thankful and relieved that Senator Murkowski took this ridiculous fine to the top and got it dealt with."