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State Park Ticket
updated: May 19, 2014, 3:35 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

State park ticket

Recently I was attending a group camping event at El Capitan State Beach. Around midnight, a couple of us decided to paddle out at the point for a full moon, 90 degree swim/surf. So we drove 1-1/2 miles down to the day use area with our camping pass proudly displayed in the window and paddled out. We returned to find a $96 dollar ticket for being in the day use area after hours. Does this seem right or another opportunity to glean revenue? Should I fight the ticket?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 520282P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 03:40 PM

Ouch. Were there any signs you were supposed to be reading by the light of the full moon? Was the area roped off in any way?

If the signs warning against after hours parking weren't prominently displayed, you could contest the ticket. $96 is quite a spank.


 COMMENT 520296 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 03:58 PM

Day use parking lot closes at sunset and there is no parking between sunset and sunrise in the parking lot


 COMMENT 520297 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 04:06 PM

What's the reason for that rule? It's a public beach isn't it?


 COMMENT 520298 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 04:07 PM

$96 bones!! That's a LOT of bones, which would have bought you before tax

- 48 Bottles of 2-Buck Chuck
- 97 Orders of Jack-in-the-Box Tacos = 194 Tacos
- 96 "Dollar Menu" items at McDonald's
- 32 $3 Cigars
- 1.5 months of Cox Internet

or....full moon, 90 degree swim/surf at El Capitan, which in my opinion is worth EVERY penny!!!


 COMMENT 520300 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 04:13 PM

Well you would think after paying $45 a night or so for camping that leaving your campsite and driving down to the beach wouldn't be such a cardinal sin. This is in light of the $45/per night cost you incur for marginally kept campgrounds where mostly volunteers and vending machines are running the place. What exactly am I paying for? "You will stay in your campsite and do what you are told!"


 COMMENT 520301 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 04:15 PM

Of course you should contest it. If you were acting honestly and ethically and doing nothing in any way harmful to anyone or anything, then participate proudly in the system by standing up for what you feel is right!


 COMMENT 520302 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 04:26 PM

Sunrise to Sunset, it's always been that way for day use.



 COMMENT 520303 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 04:29 PM

What's there to fight? You parked in a parking lot that was Closed. Just because you paid to camp in another part of the park doesn't mean you have free rein of the entire park.

What's the reason for the "no parking sunset to sunrise" rule? To prevent people from staying in day use areas overnight and so the Park Rangers don't have to patrol the closed areas at night.

Pay the ticket, and think of it as a contribution to our State Parks so they can continue to maintain that campground and parking lot so for your next surf session.


 COMMENT 520308 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 04:33 PM

Maybe the El Capitan folks have contracted with the SBPD parking enforcement officers to work a little overtime....careful everyone!


 COMMENT 520310 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 04:36 PM

It's a posted rule there, it has always been that way. It would occupy more of a single rangers time to go down there and suss out all of the cars parked there after hours to see if they have permits or not. It makes perfect sense - you could have had someone drop your gear off.


 COMMENT 520312 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 04:40 PM

if you drove 1.5 miles to your site it sounds like you were not staying in the state beach but perhaps at the el cap private campground?


 COMMENT 520313 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 04:44 PM

312 has a good question: were you camping at the privately run El Capitan Campground on the other side of the freeway? If you were camping at the state beach park, why did you drive to go swimming? Can't you walk directly to the beach?


 COMMENT 520315 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 04:50 PM

I used to work the kiosk at El Cap, Gav and Refugio. All the rangers there are super nice and absolutely hate having to cite people. Its no fun for them, and I know its not fun for the people getting the ticket. In fact, the only time I ever heard anyone getting cited was when they parked overnight in day-use and if they parked in a red zone. We would have groups of college aged campers staying up until 4am making noise all night and they always got a warning. If the ranger had to come out a second time, they got the boot, but no citation. The rangers don't have quotas or required minimums and anyone on here ranting about how it is all about cash is completely uninformed. If you looked at the amount of money from citations between the 3 coastal state beaches it would likely be less than $3,000 for the entire year. They make money on day-use fees and camping, not on citations.


 MISTA agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 05:32 PM

Our CA State Parks are OUR (California taxpayers) parks FIRST. Unfortunately, there are lots of Euro tour companies, Canadians and out of state campers that make our State Parks so popular... That is great, but why should Californians pay the same camping fees as a Canadian or out of State users?


 COMMENT 520330 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 05:46 PM

MISSTA: Good argument unless you are an informed person. For instance, I can buy a Eurail Pass here in the US, but the people "over there" cannot buy the same discounted passes. The Europeans are an informed bunch and realize that tourists = money. Just because I am a Californian does not mean that I get discounts where discounts are not given. Next time you stop at the beach think about it and just be glad we have tourists who pay an arm and leg in bed taxes, and buy food in our restaurants, gasoline, ice cream, and so on. My family love$ out-of-$tate and foreign touri$ts becau$e they bring u$ a lot of happine$$ and Joy, Joy, Joy!!! Please be Joyous and Happy People. Namaste -


 COMMENT 520343 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 06:58 PM

Guilty - pay it. But if hearing some uniformed sympathetic responses on edhat makes you cope with it better than to each their own!


 COMMENT 520347 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 07:12 PM

330: AGREED!! California State Parks are for everyone around the world; the locals AND the tourists who come here to enjoy the beauty. They should be treated equally and have equal access, and pay the same price to enjoy. It would be elitist to charge out-of-towners (or out-of-countriers) more money.


 COMMENT 520349 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 07:32 PM

Seems pretty simple, you messed up, you pay up. Im wondering if you really needed to ask...did you really not know that you earned your ticket? There is not conspiracy theory here..just you breaking the rules, that are posted, and getting caught. The one great thing that comes from the post is that others might not do the same thing, so that is helpful.


 COMMENT 520357 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 08:22 PM

I'm afraid I have to agree that had you been camping within the State Park you would not have needed to drive 1.5 miles to the beach. That puts you squarely in the private recreational area up the canyon.

As for the State Parks belonging to US FIRST..... FAIL. I just don't get the fallacy that Public Property (State, County or Federal) belongs individually to members of the public. User fees probably account for more of the parks' revenues so even proprietorship through taxation is a parsed stretch.


 MISTA agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 09:02 PM

With regard to rail travel in Europe, I am quite informed, thank you. All students get huge discounts in their prospective countries rail system as to those who commute on the same track schedule daily, as do seniors who get very substantial discounts on public transportation as well as getting Free passes 2'x per month to travel anywhere within the country they live in. I also stated that it was "great" others besides CA residents use our parks.... I am simply stating that since we already pay State income taxes, we should be cut a break on camp fees. Camping should be encouraged for local families by making it an affordable option.


 COMMENT 520394 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 06:41 AM

so, let me get this straight.... the rule is no parking overnight because they don't want to hire a guard to check out the parking lot to keep people out... but they hired a person to go around giving parking tickets in the middle of the night??? hmmmmmm


 COMMENT 520395 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 06:51 AM

A ticket is not a "contribution to the state park" system at all. State and local governments have outsourced ticket operations to various for-profit private operators, so while the State of California's name might be on the ticket, Some Private Company actually gets almost all of the revenue.

OP should fight the ticket, first because he's in the right, and second because these private sector vampires should not be so empowered to abuse the public.


 COMMENT 520398 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 07:07 AM

Better a $96 ticket than having your car broken into. Living in the Age of Entitlement kinda sucks sometimes.


 COMMENT 520404 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 07:13 AM

I was in the state park, far end opposite the point. I am certain it is well over a mile hike to get to the point. Actually I didn't see it posted. I disagree on the night time closure. If someone pays to camp at a beach park, one of the main reasons you go to camp there, the beach, is shut down at night unless you hike a long distance or get someone to drop you off? Because rangers would be burdened with dealing with it? The place is run by kiosks and volunteers for the most part. What exactly am I paying for at $45 a night ($500 a night group) the rangers pension? Bike path closed down to Refugio, place in marginal repair at best...I guess if my ticket $$ were going there I would feel better about it.


 COMMENT 520408 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 07:26 AM

Those state park rangers will write you a ticket any opportunity they get. Not sure why they're like that. I think it must make them feel like real law enforcement officers are something.


 COMMENT 520410 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 07:35 AM

I will not camp at El Cap again. Arrived on a Friday. Ranger came over and said hello, we thought how nice. After we set up camp we went for a walk. Returned to a ticket. Right front tire was not on the pavement. Ranger knew this when he came over, said nothing. Later we were given a stern warning by another armed park ranger because we were complaining to one of the volunteers. We fought the ticket and won, park ranger did not show up to court.


 COMMENT 520414 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 07:46 AM

I had one of them write me a ticket a couple years ago for having a small fire at the beach. I plead ignorance which was the absolute truth to him and said I should go to court about it. I think in a nice way he was telling me don't worry about it I won't show up and you'll walk free.


 COMMENT 520425 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 08:12 AM

Haters gonna hate. The sign wouldn't say Day Use Area if it was open at Night.


 COMMENT 520427 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 08:30 AM

My Impression is that government from the State Parks, County Building departments to the Federal level are much more aggressive about fining people.
Maybe they are expecting a backlash. That might explain all the agencies getting armor and automatic weapons.


 COMMENT 520428P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 08:34 AM

520427 - wow, half-baked theories. Some rangers may be aggressive; some may look the other way. There is not enough of a sample size to infer anything. Remember, innocent until proven guilty.


 COMMENT 520441 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 09:13 AM

Actually I had a decent conversation with a ranger the next day. I really didn't feel I got a good reason why the beach parking lot is closed down at night, but I understood they are doing their jobs. I just think it is a crappy policy and probably not one I will get changed. Another thing to consider is that the place is nuts during the summer time. I doubt the ranger is driving around a night looking for passes in car windows anywhere with in the park. It is something the volunteers do doing the day and the ranger, who is an armed peace officer, doesn't want to be bothered with checking dates on pieces of paper in car windows.


 COMMENT 520453P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 09:37 AM

The City of SB gives a price break to residents for Parks & Rec classes (e.g my daughter did ballet and swimming). When you first sign up you show them something like a local address on your DL and they issue you a Resident number to use when you register. I think that would be possible at the State Parks, too, to give residents a price break, since we do fund the parks with our taxes.

So 357 non-paying poster, what is false about the assertion that members of the public ("the people") own public property (i.e. government-owned, government by and for the people)? And how is it that our taxation does NOT give us an ownership interest? I learned that in Civics back in high school. Please explain.


 COMMENT 520454P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 09:39 AM

If it says don't park there and you park there anyway, then you shouldn't be surprised at getting a ticket. If it says speed limit 60 and you drive 80 and get a ticket, you shouldn't be surprised. If you don't agree with the rule, then follow a process to change it. What's hard to understand about that?


 COMMENT 520457 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 09:40 AM

Just set a court date, change it last minute , and setup a new court date. They won't show up you will likely win. But!!! You can't park in a state park day use after sunset. Period.


 COMMENT 520459 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 09:45 AM

Ummmm, you broke the law, pay the finee


 COMMENT 520464 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 09:54 AM

So if you don't like your camp site you can just camp there. Pay up!


 COMMENT 520467 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 10:02 AM

Day-use-only parking restrictions are due to all the problems that come with off-hours use; drug use, alcohol abuse, public safety, crime, trash, increased costs to manage, etc.

Just because that wasn't your agenda, you're expected to comply with the rules to keep the park safe.

Imagine what it would become if beaches allowed night-time parking.


 COMMENT 520491 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 10:33 AM

Clearly it's a law to curb those who abuse the area and camp/loiter.
Maybe an evening pass for an activity such as yours would be allowed.

Please let us know what you decided to do and the outcome.
Forget about all the "you broke the law, pay the fine" tools. At least some of us know what you meant.


 COMMENT 520512 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 11:17 AM

Those park rangers can definitely be overzealous with there authority from my experience. Perhaps because they have such a small jurisdictonal area and sparse population to police.


 COMMENT 520526 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 12:05 PM

They are probably being told to maximize their revenue from tickets due to the budget shortfalls.

Although weren't the state parks people the ones hiding a bunch of money in illegal places last year?


 COMMENT 520529 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 12:10 PM

Has anyone ever seen a park not have a sign saying closed at sunset? Every park ive been to does.

You may not agree with it, and may want to do it anyways. But you take the risk of getting caught, and then have to deal with it if you do.


 COMMENT 520574 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 01:43 PM

Day Use parking is not Park Until You Feel Like Moving parking. El Cap is a busy place with high amounts of traffic in and out daily. They have rules...like many other beaches.....and the entitled masses here are just going to have to get over it. I spend nearly every day there....those rangers are cool.....but they have a job to do.


 COMMENT 520599 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 02:47 PM

Oh come on now we don't have to get all entitled this and that..for the money we pay to camp now I think one is entitled to certain things in the State Beach Camping Park. I simply disagree with the fact that parking down by the beach is off limits at night. I got the ticket, I will pay it, but it is LAME!


 COMMENT 520620 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 03:36 PM

Sadly I found out it was illegal as I never saw the "clearly posted" sign. No whining statement of fact, we keep paying more and getting less when it comes to getting to the beach at our "local" parks. The place is almost as run down as the median on the 101 in Montecito! No problem with following rules but I am entitled to my opinion of what I think is silly rule. Yes I think I am entitled to certain things when I am paying $45 a night. Thanks!


 COMMENT 520622 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 03:42 PM

I find it ironic that those always ranting on about, "entitlement" seem to feel, "entitled" to pass judgement on others as, "entitled" anytime they disagree with them. Get over yourselves!


 COMMENT 520644 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 06:08 PM

298 - You forgot one. For $96 you could buy

- An adult admission ticket to Disneyland (prices just went up again)

BTW, some of the items on the McDonald's dollar menu cost more than a dollar, and 2-Buck Chuck now costs $3


 COMMENT 520657 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 07:44 PM

Submit an appeal and include your receipt for the camping along with an explanation of what happened. Ask for the ticket to be dismissed in the interest of justice. An understanding commissioner or judge just might dismiss it.


 COMMENT 520665 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 08:58 PM

I got a ticket at el cap less than 10 minutes after sunset. Still totally light out in summer, but the official sunset was at 7:48 or whatever, and the ranger showed that to us while he was writing out the ticket. and he seemed perfectly happy about it.


 COMMENT 520849P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 12:47 PM

665 - It's not the officer's job to teach you the difference between sunset and twilight.


 COMMENT 520867 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 01:34 PM

And the Wet Blanket award goes to........49P!

Congratulations you've done it again!


 COMMENT 520940 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 06:08 PM

"Around midnight, a couple of us decided to paddle out at the point for a full moon, 90 degree swim/surf. So we drove 1-1/2 miles down to the day use area
with our camping pass proudly displayed in the window and paddled out."

I think I found your problem.


14% of comments on this page were made by Edhat Community Members.


*** 2 comments were deleted from this thread by the Edhat Board Nanny for violating Edhat Comments Board policy. Click Here to see them.


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