SCI Supports Member’s Case in U.S. Supreme Court

firstforhuntersaroraborealisalaskaSafari Club International filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of SCI member John Sturgeon’s challenge against the National Park Service’s regulation of activities on waters running through National Preserves in Alaska.  The Supreme Court selected Sturgeon’s case as one of the very few they will consider during the Court’s term. The Court accepts only about 80 out of approximately 10,000 case requests it receives each year. Earlier this year, SCI assisted Sturgeon’s efforts to have the Supreme Court accept his case by filing an amicus brief in support of Sturgeon’s claims.

The case began when NPS personnel prohibited Sturgeon from operating his personal hovercraft on waters running through the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve in Alaska. The NPS asserted authority over those waters despite the opposition of Sturgeon and the State of Alaska. Sturgeon sued the NPS in federal court in Alaska and the State of Alaska joined to assert its own authority. The district court ruled in favor of the NPS and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision.

SCI’s amicus brief focuses on the extensive hunting that residents and nonresidents enjoy in Alaska and the importance of access to remote hunting locations via waters running through National Preserves.   SCI’s brief also demonstrates the flaws in the approach taken by the Alaska district court and the Ninth Circuit due to the illogical ramifications that will result from the courts’ interpretation of the laws at issue.

The Supreme Court ruling will determine whether the National Park Service or the State of Alaska has the authority to regulate the types of activities that can take place on waters that run through National Parks and Preserves in Alaska. The outcome of this case will likely affect hunting and access to hunting opportunities at many out-of-the-way, choice hunting locations in Alaska.

SCI will continue to follow the case. Oral argument in Washington, D.C. is expected to take place in January of 2016.

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