Government Fines Couple for Visiting Grand Canyon during Shutdown

For John and Laurie Boone, it was meant to be a trip of a lifetime. A trip the couple had been anticipating for 17 years.

The Grand Canyon rafting trip was a bucket list item that the couple was very excited about. But the federal shutdown turned John and Laurie Boone’s Grand Canyon trip into quite the hassle.

When they arrived at the Grand Canyon National Park on Sept.30 as part of a 16-person group, the park was still open.
According to John Boone, the couple was anticipating a 16-day, 225-mile rafting trip; launch day being the day before the government shutdown.

Halfway through the trip, some of their rafters needed to be switched out. Five people left, but their replacements were not allowed to enter the park. One person, though, was able to sneak in illegally and was caught by the park rangers.

The rafter was told to leave the park or face a fine. After much discussion, the group decided the extra person was necessary to safety raft and they all decided to stay.

According to Laurie Boone, the group had to pick between safety and breaking the law. They had no choice, she added.
John Boone and the new rafter were slapped with a $20,000 fine, up to 30 days in jail and a five-year ban from national parks. Luckily, the group was able to tour Grand Canyon safely and the fine was reduced significantly.
Recently, Boone’s charges were dropped to those equal to a serious traffic violation and Boone settled with the government for a $750 fine.