One year after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the National Park Service, the US Supreme Court accepted an appeal from a man who wrongfully used a hovercraft in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve.
Park Rangers discovered John Sturgeon and his hovercraft on the Nation River in 2007 and warned him that hovercrafts are banned within the Preserve boundaries. Sturgeon contested the ban in 2011.
Trustees for Alaska represented the National Parks Conservation Association as an amicus curiae, or friend of the court, on the side of the National Park Service.
At issue in this case is whether the National Park Service may regulate the use of navigable waters within the boundaries of federal lands established by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). The Ninth Circuit upheld the authority of the National Park Service to regulate activities such as boating within the parks to make sure park resources are protected. Sturgeon contends that the State of Alaska has the exclusive authority to regulate the river, even within the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. This position was rejected by both the US District Court and the Ninth Circuit.
The outcome of this case will significantly affect the Park Service’s ability to protect Alaska’s national parks, and the fish and wildlife that rely on them.
Stay tuned for updates as this landmark case proceeds.
Previous Stories on Sturgeon and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve