Message #285:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: Walnut Canyon Vandal Busted/Fruita Rural Cultural Landscape Tort Case
Date: Thu, 05 Sep 96 14:54:00 MST
Encoding: 48 TEXT

[ Clipped from: fpforum.  Please excuse the cross-posting -- SASIG Ed. ]

From:    Anne Vawser 
Subject: NPS Morning Report - 8/23/96
Author:  Bill Halainen at NP-DEWA
Date:    8/23/96 10:21 AM

96-485 - Walnut Canyon (Arizona) - ARPA Case
On August 8th, rangers arrested Howard W. Wells of Valencia, California, for 
collecting artifacts within park boundaries.  Wells had a sack with him 
which contained 435 pieces of pottery, and admitted to collecting them 
inside the park.  Several projectile points were also found hidden inside 
one of his socks.  All of the artifacts appeared to have been collected from 
the surface of several sites.  In a pre-trial agreement, Wells agreed to 
plead guilty to a misdemeanor ARPA charge, pay a fine of $1,000, and 
reimburse the National Park Service $2,500 for the cost of the investigation 
and artifact curation. [Bill Hudson, DR, WUPA]

Ruling on Major Tort Claim - A final judgement was recently made in Schiano 
vs. the United States, a $1.2 million tort claim stemming from an October, 
1993, incident in which park visitor John Schiano fell from an orchard 
ladder provided by the park while picking fruit in an orchard at Capitol 
Reef. Schiano sustained serious injuries, was treated by park EMTs, and was 
taken by ambulance to a local hospital.  The case eventually landed in 
federal district court in Florida.  Schiano's primary arguments centered on 
a claim that the ladder was defective and that "the Park and its employees 
acted willfully and maliciously in failing to guard or warn of dangerous 
conditions" by providing ladders and the opportunity for visitors to pick 
fruit.  The ladder was proven to be free from defects, and it was determined 
that maintenance of park ladders, which is routine and documented, is a 
discretionary function of the NPS, thereby precluding an inquiry on abuse of 
the discretionary function authority or negligence.  It was also found that 
various warnings were in place.  An important point in the park's defense 
concerned the application of the Utah Limitation of Landowners Liability 
Act. In essence, that act says that the owner of land owes no duty of care 
to keep premises safe for entry by persons using the land for recreational 
purposes, or to give warnings of a dangerous condition or use.  Because the 
Schianos had not paid an entrance fee to access the orchard (the park only 
charges an entrance fee for its scenic drive, and they had not passed the 
entrance station), the government, as a landowner, was covered by the 
statute.  If the U.S. had lost this case, it could have greatly impacted 
orchard operations within the park's historic Fruita rural cultural 
landscape, where fruit picking from the 2800 assorted fruit trees, remnants 
of a turn-of-the-century Mormon settlement, is a very popular visitor 
activity.  [Tom Cox, ACR, CARE]