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Thread: Alaska's Rivers

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    Member f0zzy2's Avatar
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    Question Alaska's Rivers

    So if you’re in a national park on the river are you under state or federal law? I ask a young shiny federal officer this question at the winter show and he could not give me a straight answer. In particular I aked about the Nebesna River. His answer in a round about way was "Thats not my area, you should call the Tok office". Federal law says no airboats in the Tetlin nat. preserve, but if I stay on the river until I reach the wrangle preserve am I good?

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    Member tjm's Avatar
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    just go run it....if you get a ticket, then you'll know

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    Member f0zzy2's Avatar
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    Default Thats the plan

    Of coarse I'm going up. I have some parts of my jet boat I left up there from my last trip. Lol. I didn't see any brown shirts in the village either. I think the fed's target the older guys and stick to the deep waters of the Yukon.

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    Besides, they can't keep up with you in your new hotrod. Just put the hammer down and get off the river.
    From my research, there are very few areas that specifically deny access w/airboats.

    A similar Q came up when a friend asked about running the headwaters of the Big Su into the southern end of Denali park. Last I knew as long as you stayed in the river with your power boat it was legal.
    BK

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    I know both Tetlin and Yukon flats WR airboats are specifically outlawed. Bud
    Wasilla

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    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Well it would seem the feds don't believe in navagable waters ways and State's rights......

    ALASKAN SEA-DUCTION
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    I would not ask the Fed that question, I'd ask the State. And I would check multiple Parks, Preserves, and Refuges to be sure somehow the rules can't or don't change from one to the other. After checking w/ the state, then I might go back and ask the Feds for specific rulings, letters of intent, or documented agreements w/ the state regarding access that the State might have forgotten about or overlooked.
    My conversations, mostly not documented, w/ state officials and some feds, indicate that the State owns the waterway up to a specifically defined point, sometimes noted as the average high water, mean high water, normal high water, or others. I'd be sure I knew what I was doing, then be sure I had a way to document any interaction w/ the Fed or others while on that trip.
    ARR

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    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ak River Rat View Post
    I would not ask the Fed that question, I'd ask the State. And I would check multiple Parks, Preserves, and Refuges to be sure somehow the rules can't or don't change from one to the other. After checking w/ the state, then I might go back and ask the Feds for specific rulings, letters of intent, or documented agreements w/ the state regarding access that the State might have forgotten about or overlooked.
    My conversations, mostly not documented, w/ state officials and some feds, indicate that the State owns the waterway up to a specifically defined point, sometimes noted as the average high water, mean high water, normal high water, or others. I'd be sure I knew what I was doing, then be sure I had a way to document any interaction w/ the Fed or others while on that trip.
    ARR
    Very good point and post!

    ALASKAN SEA-DUCTION
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ak River Rat View Post
    My conversations, mostly not documented, w/ state officials and some feds, indicate that the State owns the waterway up to a specifically defined point, sometimes noted as the average high water, mean high water, normal high water, or others. I'd be sure I knew what I was doing, then be sure I had a way to document any interaction w/ the Fed or others while on that trip.
    ARR
    State officials will tell you this is and has been the interpretation since ANILCA was past. However, NPS has been asserting they have authority over those navigable water ways in national park areas. Just ask AKriverrunner, he currently has a lawsuit against NPS for denying him from using his hovercraft in an area he's been hunting for the past 40 years near the Yukon Charlie Preserve. He was told to remove his hovercraft from the navigable waters or be cited. He conformed with their request and spent the last two years trying to resolve the issue outside of the court room. The Feds have simply ignored his request and now its in the hands of attorneys. Heard of the Jim Wild case? Hand cuffed and sited for not have a current state registration within the preserve. I heard today he lost his case so the feds are winning on their interpretation. DNR (State) has been reported to step up and intervene and become part of Riverrunner's lawsuit as well. Not sure what's taken so long? This is a serious AK access issue that must be addressed and hopefully the state wins. The AOC, Alaska Outdoor Council, banquet is tomorrow @ Evangelos in Wasilla @ 5:30pm and this topic will be one of the points discussed. A limited number of seats are still available but they're planning to raise some funds for legal fees. The Alaska Outdoor Access Alliance is also going to help with AKriverrunners legal fees with a rifle raffle. It's unfortunate, but the only thing that prevents us from loosing our access is to throw money at it. If you're a motorized user and don't think you're slowly loosing access to public lands within the state, please think again. Get involved or write a check to help those organizations that are fighting to keep access open. Sorry didn't mean to rant or preach but this is a serious issue that I hope sparks much attention in the coming months.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Halibutgrove View Post
    State officials will tell you this is and has been the interpretation since ANILCA was past. However, NPS has been asserting they have authority over those navigable water ways in national park areas. Just ask AKriverrunner, he currently has a lawsuit against NPS for denying him from using his hovercraft in an area he's been hunting for the past 40 years near the Yukon Charlie Preserve. He was told to remove his hovercraft from the navigable waters or be cited. He conformed with their request and spent the last two years trying to resolve the issue outside of the court room. The Feds have simply ignored his request and now its in the hands of attorneys. Heard of the Jim Wild case? Hand cuffed and sited for not have a current state registration within the preserve. I heard today he lost his case so the feds are winning on their interpretation. DNR (State) has been reported to step up and intervene and become part of Riverrunner's lawsuit as well. Not sure what's taken so long? This is a serious AK access issue that must be addressed and hopefully the state wins. The AOC, Alaska Outdoor Council, banquet is tomorrow @ Evangelos in Wasilla @ 5:30pm and this topic will be one of the points discussed. A limited number of seats are still available but they're planning to raise some funds for legal fees. The Alaska Outdoor Access Alliance is also going to help with AKriverrunners legal fees with a rifle raffle. It's unfortunate, but the only thing that prevents us from loosing our access is to throw money at it. If you're a motorized user and don't think you're slowly loosing access to public lands within the state, please think again. Get involved or write a check to help those organizations that are fighting to keep access open. Sorry didn't mean to rant or preach but this is a serious issue that I hope sparks much attention in the coming months.
    HG, you seem to have a bit more knowledge than most on the subject....please keep us updated on developments and how to participate....thanks for the post....
    ------------------------------------------------
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    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halibutgrove View Post
    State officials will tell you this is and has been the interpretation since ANILCA was past. However, NPS has been asserting they have authority over those navigable water ways in national park areas. Just ask AKriverrunner, he currently has a lawsuit against NPS for denying him from using his hovercraft in an area he's been hunting for the past 40 years near the Yukon Charlie Preserve. He was told to remove his hovercraft from the navigable waters or be cited. He conformed with their request and spent the last two years trying to resolve the issue outside of the court room. The Feds have simply ignored his request and now its in the hands of attorneys. Heard of the Jim Wild case? Hand cuffed and sited for not have a current state registration within the preserve. I heard today he lost his case so the feds are winning on their interpretation. DNR (State) has been reported to step up and intervene and become part of Riverrunner's lawsuit as well. Not sure what's taken so long? This is a serious AK access issue that must be addressed and hopefully the state wins. The AOC, Alaska Outdoor Council, banquet is tomorrow @ Evangelos in Wasilla @ 5:30pm and this topic will be one of the points discussed. A limited number of seats are still available but they're planning to raise some funds for legal fees. The Alaska Outdoor Access Alliance is also going to help with AKriverrunners legal fees with a rifle raffle. It's unfortunate, but the only thing that prevents us from loosing our access is to throw money at it. If you're a motorized user and don't think you're slowly loosing access to public lands within the state, please think again. Get involved or write a check to help those organizations that are fighting to keep access open. Sorry didn't mean to rant or preach but this is a serious issue that I hope sparks much attention in the coming months.
    Excellent post HG, it seems a shame we have to join and or become a member of something to protect our rights from those we have elected.......!
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akgramps View Post
    Excellent post HG, it seems a shame we have to join and or become a member of something to protect our rights from those we have elected.......!
    You definitely don't have to join any org but you must stay involved and watchful of whats happening. Most just havent the time to commit. It isnt the elected officials that are usually the problem but those that work for the government who are paid and have the time. In this case the feds interpution are the problem and it doesnt concur with most Alaskans. One of the easiest ways to stay informed is to become part of an organization that has a staff that can keep its members informed of actions within the government that will or could effect your traditional way of life. When DNR closed a trail that I tradtionally hunted for years, I got involved.

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    This is something I posted on another thread you may find useful:
    Originally Posted by LuJon
    The root question for me is whether or not the park service had authority to make the stop in the first place. Our soldiers have the authority to stop and question people in Iraq and Afghanistan yet if one flagged me down on the glen with their uniform on and hood up only to demand my license, registration and access to my vehicle, well I am likely to meet them with a sour disposition. The same stop in Baghdad and I am very compliant.




    Originally Posted by Seraphina
    Using a strict, literal interpretation of the laws, almost certainly not. Aside from the question of jurisdiction, there is no indication that they had probable cause. (Meaning Jim could have politely greeted them and politely declined their "safety check".) However, our laws are interpreted by the courts, which do not generally adhere to strict, literal interpretations. Specifically, the courts grant officers (of all types) an enormous degree of leeway (even to the point of apparent injustice). So in practice, any otherwise lawful action by any officer, even if clearly outside their jurisdiction (and thus outside their authority) is usually upheld by the courts. That sad fact is the basis for their effective "authority" to make the stop.

    (On the other hand, even without probable cause while approaching Jim's bow, in the process of reaching Jim to receive a polite greeting and a polite decline, the officers would have likely observed the lack of registration and then stopped him on that basis. The lesson is: even in the absence of reasonable suspicion or probable cause, officers can usually find a way to manufacture it. In practice, even the most law abiding citizen can rarely avoid this outcome.)


    [QUOTE].338WM
    I just finished reading a good portion of a Alaska Law Review authored by Jack B. McGee, found here: http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...wBOkL0r8kY5iPQ . On page 17 is an explaination (Katie John case)of authority granted to federal agencies on certain navigable waters, in short(as I understand it), if those waters exist on federaly managed lands where subsistance use activities take place (granted under ANILCA), then such land managing authorites can and do enforce access rules and regulations. There are other related pages in this review which grant further insight.[QUOTE]

  14. #14

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    Thanks .338WM.

    Quote Originally Posted by f0zzy2 View Post
    So if you’re in a national park on the river are you under state or federal law?
    The simplest answer of all is that since the Supreme Court has not yet ruled on this question, no one really knows. Everyone you ask, including Officers and lower Courts, is simply stating an opinion (albeit perhaps one with consequences for you).

    In my personal opinion, even if this question does make it to the Supreme Court, they're likely to fudge on it, because the answer would have legal ramifications far beyond the Parks.

    In the meantime, the safest thing to do is to assume that BOTH have jurisdiction! (Can you say "double jeopardy"?)

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    Member f0zzy2's Avatar
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    All of the brown shirts I have seen are mostly visitors from another state. I met the three on the Yukon at Slavden cabin that arrested Jim. I asked them what we’re doing. One said they patrol the water between the cabin and Eagle. I asked them how many terrorists they had found and they just laughed. I was nice and courteous to them and I didn’t even get a vessel check. I also asked why I didn’t see them up the Charley they were scared to run up the Charley River because it was too shallow. Actually they were pretty nice guys.

    My mind set is, I’m going where I want in Alaska’s waters and if they can follow me to give me a ticket than I'll fight it and hopefully it shed some light on the whole matter.

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    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    HG, Please keep us informed on the lawsuit as I too am very interested. Maybe a seperate thread can be created to keep track of it.

    ALASKAN SEA-DUCTION
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    Quote Originally Posted by f0zzy2 View Post
    All of the brown shirts I have seen are mostly visitors from another state. I met the three on the Yukon at Slavden cabin that arrested Jim. I asked them what we’re doing. One said they patrol the water between the cabin and Eagle. I asked them how many terrorists they had found and they just laughed. I was nice and courteous to them and I didn’t even get a vessel check. I also asked why I didn’t see them up the Charley they were scared to run up the Charley River because it was too shallow. Actually they were pretty nice guys.

    My mind set is, I’m going where I want in Alaska’s waters and if they can follow me to give me a ticket than I'll fight it and hopefully it shed some light on the whole matter.
    If you would have been using an hovercraft they would have cited you or asked that you leave unless you wanted cited. This is exactly what they did to AKriverrunner. I believe they are also restricting airboats do to their noise level and PWCs for some reason. It probably won't be long before they restrict anything with a noise level over 100db or restricting 2 strokers altogether. It ruins the "the experience" of everyone else out their trying to enjoy the peace and quite of our wildlife refuges.

    If you think you'll just fight them and have any chance of winning, I wish you the best of luck. It will cost a lot of money and time with the end result being the same, you'll lose. Just ask Jim. AKriverrunner did the best thing by leaving after being threatened with a citation, sending numerous letters to NPS, Secretary of Interior, asking for an interpretation and explanation with no response from anyone. He's now had to take legal action to force them to answer the question. Sadly it cost lost of money but it the end if he wins it will be to a great benefit to ALL Alaskans. If he loses, be prepared for further restrictions in the future. AOAA, will be helping to offset legal fees with a rifle raffle this year. We're usually at all of the sport shows so stop by and support the raffle. We need to establish a clear interpretation of the laws established by the "elected politician" so we're not being harassed by the brown shirts in the future. The last thing anyone want's is to be forced to leave or be cited for something they thought was and always has been legal.

    "One of the penalties of not participating in politics
    is that you will be governed by your inferiors."

    Plato

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBassking View Post
    HG, Please keep us informed on the lawsuit as I too am very interested. Maybe a seperate thread can be created to keep track of it.
    A sticky is a great idea! I'll talk to AKriverrunner about posting a new thread and posting the actual lawsuit filed. I have a copy but don't want to post without his permission. He's currently on an Elk hunt so when he returns I'll see if he can post more details.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Halibutgrove View Post
    I believe they are also restricting airboats do to their noise level and PWCs for some reason. It probably won't be long before they restrict anything with a noise level over 100db or restricting 2 strokers altogether. It ruins the "the experience" of everyone else out their trying to enjoy the peace and quite of our wildlife refuges.
    I think that number is 75db, which would include or exclude, depending on how you look at it, most if not all sport jet powered boats, heck, my OB may be over 75db.....?
    Look at the feds park regs, its daunting how many regs there are.............I have posted this before, but here ya go.....

    http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text...0.1.15&idno=36
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akgramps View Post
    I think that number is 75db, which would include or exclude, depending on how you look at it, most if not all sport jet powered boats, heck, my OB may be over 75db.....?
    Look at the feds park regs, its daunting how many regs there are.............I have posted this before, but here ya go.....

    http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text...0.1.15&idno=36
    Wow, We REALLY need AKriverrunner to win his case or we'll all be paddling. What appears to be stupid is why they say a vessel underway must not exceed 75db but a vessel not underway "stationary" can not exceed 88db. Seems back words to me but it doesn't surprise me that the feds would publish something like that. We recently measured the diesel Avenger at 70db at idle and 90db at WOT. I guess we can run near WOT as long as we're parked on the shore.

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