Courts Rule Against 2 Plaintiffs Challenging Park Service Authority

The 9th Circuit Court of appeals has ruled against plaintiffs in two cases challenging National Park Service authority. The court found against hunters John Sturgeon of Anchorage and Jim Wilde of Central, who challenged park service regulation of state waters inside Yukon Charley Rivers Park and Preserve.

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Wilde appealed a misdemeanor convictions stemming from a run in with park rangers during a boat safety check on the Yukon River. Sturgeon challenged the agency’s banning him from using hovercraft on the Nation River.

Both plaintiffs cases hinge on exemptions in the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, but earlier this month, a 3 judge panel of the 9th circuit found they don’t apply because the regulations involved were of general nature and not specific to the Alaska conservation unit.

The state of Alaska, which intervened on Sturgeon’s behalf, was found to not have standing in the case. Wilde’s attorney has filed for review of the decision by the entire panel of the 9th circuit.

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Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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