John Sturgeon US Supreme Court Case
• Over the 45 year period he used a variety of watercraft licensed by the state of Alaska.
• About 25 years ago he started using a small hovercraft for access because of shallow, rocky characteristics of the rivers.
• The hovercraft was licensed and registered by the state as a proper watercraft under state statues by the state of Alaska, statehood January, 1959.
• During this 45 year period, which started in 1971, changes occurred within the state of ownership and authority of waterways.
• ANILCA (Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act) passed December 2nd, 1980 establishing the Yukon Charley Preserve owned by the National Park Service.
• In 1996 the National Park Service wrote a regulation 36 CFR Section 1.2(a)(3)13.2. This regulation bans use of hovercraft throughout the entire United States within boundaries of National Parks Service land.
• Regulations passed by the state of Alaska authorized John Sturgeon’s hovercraft as a proper watercraft on all waters of Alaska. This authority falls under police powers of the State of Alaska.
• In 2007 while repairing his hovercraft on the shore of a tributary of the Yukon, Mr. Sturgeon was approached by National Park Service rangers and under threats of citation, he was instructed to remove his hovercraft under authority of United States Parks Service.
• The tributary of the Yukon had been determined navigable and he informed National Park Service personnel that he had the right to be on the water.
• Upon determination of navigable water status, the authority of subsurface ownership resides in the state because of the Federal Law Submerged Lands Act (1953). The water volume, upon ownership of submerged lands, is held in trust by state law. “Under the Alaska Constitution & state law, the right to use such waterways is placed in the people of the state”. Alaska Public Easement Defense Fund vs. Andrus, 435 F.Supp 664 (D. Alas. 1977)). Federal District Court.
• Mr. Sturgeon sent communications to U.S. Secretary of Interior, as well as the United States Parks Services, for rescinding 36 CFR U.S. Parks Service in October, 2010. No reply was received.
• Mr. Sturgeon filed in Federal District Court in September, 2011 after establishing his standing.
• Mr. Sturgeon has appeared before the Federal District Court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unsuccessfully therefor filing a petition to the United Sates Supreme Court in July, 2015. Over 2,000 cases were filed as petitions to the Supreme Court for 2016. 13 cases were accpeted including John Sturgeon's case. Court date for the United States Supreme Court is set for January 20, 10 a.m., 2016.
• National Parks Service had eliminated the police powers of the state of Alaska on licensing of watercraft on parks within Alaska also violating ANILCA, 1980.
• John Sturgeon is a public interest plaintiff. In other words, all untitled property rights that Mr. Sturgeon secures before the Supreme Court of the United States are applicable to all Alaska residents.
• The question is between the statute created by ANILCA, 1980 and a regulation by the National Parks Service in 1996. Section 103(c), the statute creates state authority on navigable waters inside boundaries of federal lands in Alaska. The authority of the state (Police Powers) by statute managed use and users for licensing, seasons and bag limits, means and methods, safety and protection as in all other states. United States government is responsible for Navigational Servitude and Reserved Water Rights. On all other lands and waters (Public Lands), the Parks Service manages lands and waters within their boundaries. Section 103 (c) excludes in‐holders, corporation land owners and state of Alaska from Park Service regulations.
• The legislative history of 103(c) is extensive. Rep. Sieberling, 125 Cong. Rec. 11158 (1979) (Rep. Sieberling was the sponsor of the amendment adding 103(c): “[T]here is no question in my mind that the present text of the Udall‐Anderson bill does not alter in any way the ability of the State or Natives to do what it will with those lands... All this amendment does is restate and make clear beyond any doubt that any State, native or private lands, which may lie within the outer boundaries of the conservation system unit are not parts of that unit and are not subject to regulations which are applied to public lands which, in fact, are part of the unit. ...within the boundaries drawn on the map for the conservation unit does not in any way change the status of that State, native, or private land or make it subject to any of the laws or regulations that pertain to U.S. public lands, so that those inholdings are clearly not controlled by any of the public land laws of the United States.
• Congressman Mo Udall, the primary sponsor of ANILCA (125 Cong. Rec. 9905 (1979)): I want to make clear that inclusion of these Native lands within the boundaries of conservation system units is not intended to affect any rights which the Corporations may have under this act, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, or any other law, or to restrict use of such lands by the owning Corporations nor to subject the Native lands to regulations applicable to the public lands, within the specific conservation system unit.
• John Sturgeon will spend $450,000 with local and Washington DC attorneys to seek a favorable decision for your untitled property rights, the use of fish, water and wildlife in the state of Alaska.
PLEASE HELP SUPPORT JOHN STURGEON
This is a 100% Public Interest Lawsuit...we cannot leave Mr. Sturgeon at the table to pick up OUR tab. Let's do this TOGETHER!
The Court overwhelmingly rejected the Park Service’s overreaching interpretation of its authority over nonfederal land in Alaska. It made clear the Ninth Circuit’s decision had no basis in law or fact.
We hope on remand both the Ninth Circuit and the Park Service heed the message of this unanimous decision and abide by ANILCA’s express limitations on federal authority.