Supreme court to hear appeal of National Park Service authority

The Supreme Court will decide whether the National Park Service has authority to enforce federal regulations on state-owned lands and rivers in national parks in Alaska.

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Where the Charley River meets the Yukon. (Photo by USGS)
Where the Charley River meets the Yukon. (Photo by USGS)

The justices agreed Thursday to hear an appeal from an Alaska hunter who says the park service cannot ban him from operating a hovercraft along the Nation River, which runs through the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve.

John Sturgeon claims all navigable rivers within national parks in Alaska are state-owned lands and not subject to federal enforcement. But a federal judge ruled that the regulations extend to all parts of the national park system.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also sided with the park service.

Alaska officials had urged the justices to take the case to protect state-owned property from federal regulation.