The Supreme Court ruled in favor of an Alaska man who was barred by the National Park Service from using his hovercraft to hunt moose on a section of a river that runs through public land.
John Sturgeon, with the support of Alaska, argued that the National Park Service did not have jurisdiction over the land. Alaska allows the use of hovercrafts.
“That means Sturgeon can again rev up his hovercraft in search of moose,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote for a unanimous court.
While the opinion is specific to Alaska, it signals support for states when it comes to control of waterways through public lands.
Sturgeon argued that a federal law – the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act – stripped the Park Service of its authority to regulate the navigable water.
His lawyers said the law was passed to balance a goal of protecting public lands with the needs of the “State of Alaska and its people” and specifies that the Park Service could not prohibit certain activities “of particular importance to Alaskans.”