Disorderly Conduct Charge on Yukon River Draws Federal, State Controversy

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

Governor Parnell is asking that the state be given formal status in the federal court case against 70-year-old Jim Wilde of Central.  Wilde was charged with disorderly conduct and other violations during a boat safety inspection along the Yukon River.  In addition, the state is requesting that the federal Department of the Interior stop further actions on navigable waters – even if they are within national parks.

“We believe that Congress and ANILCA gave us the right to manage our own navigable waters – and our citizens have that right to freely travel on those waters,” Parnell said.

Parnell says he has also asked the Commissioner of Public Safety to work on improving the state’s partnership with the National Park Service.  He said the state usually works well with the agency.

Attorney General Daniel Sullivan says the dispute with the federal government over what he calls “liberty issues” has been going on for more than a decade, beginning when the Park Service issued regulations asserting its authority over navigable waters within National Parks.

“We believe that these regulations violate the clear language and intent of ANILCA in ANILCA’s unambiguous legislative history which restrict the applicability of NPS regulations to federally owned land, and not the state’s own lands and waterways,” Sullivan said.

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