Press Release Mar 22, 2016

National Parks Group Continues to Defend Park Service’s Authority to Manage Its Waterways

Supports National Park Service's Efforts to Enforce Safety and Other Park Regulations on Waters Within Parks

Background: Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its ruling in Sturgeon v. Frost, a suit challenging the National Park Service’s authority to manage activities on navigable rivers within parks in Alaska. National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and allies, represented by the nonprofit law firm Trustees for Alaska, was involved in the case through the filing of an amicus brief, supporting the National Park Service’s efforts to enforce safety and other park regulations on waters within the parks.

Statement by Jim Adams, Alaska Regional Director for National Parks Conservation Association

“It is important to underscore that today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Sturgeon vs. Frost case will not decide how rivers in national parks are protected, nor does it affect Americans’ right to a voice in the management of these waterways. At its core, this case is about operating a hovercraft in a national park. While the Ninth Circuit’s earlier decision expanded the issues, to focus on the park service’s authority over in-holdings, which are privately or state-owned lands, the Supreme Court rejected that approach. The case now returns to the Ninth Circuit and the original question of the National Park Service’s right to manage uses of waters in national parks. We are confident the lower court will again affirm the service’s ability to manage rivers inside national parks and protect them from damaging uses such as hovercraft, which can impact wetlands, nesting grounds and other sensitive habitat.”


About National Parks Conservation Association

Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit

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