US Supreme Court to Hear Yukon-Charley Case

Illegal Use of a Hovercraft in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve Will Be Decided

Oct 06, 2015
Lisa Oakley

 

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.

Yukon River in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. NPS Photo

Yukon River in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. NPS Photo

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

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