Public comment is invited through June 29 on proposed revised regulations on navigable waterways within national parklands in Alaska, in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Sturgeon v. Frost.
In March 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Sturgeon v. Frost that the National Park Service could not enforce a regulation prohibiting operation of a hovercraft on part of the Nation River flowing through the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. The court decided that National Park Service regulations apply exclusively to federally managed lands and waters within the boundaries of national park areas in Alaska. Lands that are not federally managed, including submerged lands under navigable waters, are not subject to the National Park Service’s regulatory authority the court ruled.
The case stems from an incident in 2007 when Alaskan John Sturgeon was moose hunting on the Nation River near the Canadian border within Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve and stopped by park employees who said hovercraft were banned in all national parks, including Alaska. Sturgeon sued, and the case attracted a large number of supporters to his side.
Two related cases subsequently were heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, both over the regulatory authority of the National Park Service over lands in Alaska under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.
Details regarding the case and on how to submit comments are online at regulations.gov/document?D=NPS_FRDOC_0001-0137.