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Alaska's Rep. Don Young Wants National Park Service To Get Out of the Water At Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve



In perhaps just the most recent example of legislative might, U.S. Rep. Don Young of Alaska is determined to kick the National Park Service out of the water at Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve.

The Republican, outraged that park rangers handcuffed a 70-year-old last fall when he failed to meet their requests to answer a few questions and show them his boat registration papers, Congressman Young attached a rider to the Interior funding bill last week that "(F)orbids the National Park Service from enforcing regulations activities on waters in Alaska’s Yukon-Charley National Preserve."

If you read news accounts of what transpired, it seems as if misunderstandings and over-reactions on both sides precipitated the confrontation. While a bench trial in the matter has yet to return a verdict on who was in the wrong, Congressman Young has made up his mind.

“I am very pleased that my colleagues (on the House Appropriations Committee) were able to see the glaring overreach by the Park Service in Yukon-Charley.  The inclusion of my request (to forbid NPS enforcement on the Yukon River) is important to preserving the freedoms of Alaskans, and to protecting ANILCA," the Republican said in a prepared statement.

Another "highlight" of the Interior funding bill cited by Congressman Young is a provision to block "judicial review from any effort to delist gray wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes states."


What I meant about "going overboard" is that it seemed a little bit crazy to expect someone to be boarded in the middle of the river.

From what I understand about most NPS law enforcement is that they're typically deputized by local law enforcement to give them the authority to enforce state and/or local laws.  It doesn't sound if the local law enforcement in Alaska is to keen on giving NPS law enforcement that authority.

From the accounts of the incidents, it does sound as if NPS LE went overboard.

Those accounts are largely those false claims manufactured out of thin air by defendant's attorney attempting to try the case in the media before the various court hearings, and those of highly selective reporting by the hometown newspaper trying to sensationalize what was actually fairly boring and cut and tried testimony. Add the typical yellow commentary masquerading as reporting from Craig Medred with Alaska Dispatch in his continuing futile quest for a Pulitzer, and it is no surprise that the typical person paying attention to this issue would not know anything much about what actually happened or why.

Congressman Young continues to be a disgrace to his country and to the state he represents. I am somewhat mollified by the fact that the verdict of GUILTY for Mr. Wilde is likely to come down before the Senate takes up the measure and so this bold abuse of Young's disproportionate influence in the House is stripped from the bill in conference. In other news, my fellow Alaskans who are foolish enough to fall victim to his false populism will no doubt award him with another term, much to the chagrin of every thinking Alaskan with a world view larger than a pea.

By the way his little clause goes far beyond what is being reported in the press including this article. It actually strips authority from any bureau in Interior to perform enforcement anywhere on the Yukon River. No more hunting or fishing checks in the various national wildlife refuges up and down the river either...

Wise words, JLA.

Unless you were there and actually involved in the incident all comments are based purely on partial information and speculation.  I'm sure no one has ever heard of a subject in a law enforcement incident presenting a biased account of the incident.  It always seems that people without law enforcement experience and training are pretty quick to critique law enforement officers actions with very little information. The legal reasonableness of an LE officers actions are based not on what the general public thinks of the action, but on what a reasonable officer in a similar situation with similar information would have done.  Most people say they support law enforcement, but it is very suprising how many people qualify that with " long as LE is not interferring with me.."
Let's let this work through the Court system, not the court of public opinion

There were over-reactions on both sides...But if your going to be in law enforcement,you don't get to over react.

This comment was edited to remove speculative accusations.--Ed.

I think its's a good move. Somrthing needs to be done to get the attention of NPS law enforcers. They have become a bunch of Rambo's who answer to no one. What law enforcement has the righ to flag me down and interrogate me without reason. Especially in the middle of a wild river. Yea, better watch out for the elderly, We're all out on the river running guns and peddling dope.

   From the accounts of the incidents, it does sound as if NPS LE went overboard. I remember there were issues with some LE rangers working at Point Reyes NS who seemingly abused their authority by pepper spraying someone asking why they had a friend in handcuffs. This was actually off NPS land, and they were apparently using their authority as deputized by the Marin County Sheriff Dept.

However - random inspections are legal in many jurisdictions. The US Coast Guard makes random inspections all the time, including some riverways. They'll check for proper paperwork and legally required safety equipment.

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