Alaska Wildlife: Court Orders National Park Service to Revise Hunting Rules
Alaska National Parks are revising hunting regulations. There are several reasons for this. Find out more with this article from National Parks Conservation Association.
“District Court concludes that rule allowing destructive hunting practices on national preserves in Alaska is arbitrary, sends it back to agencies to revise
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – A federal District Court in Alaska ruled on Sept. 30 that a National Park Service rule allowing hunting practices like baiting brown bears in national preserves in Alaska was poorly reasoned and arbitrary. The decision allows the rule to remain in place while the Interior Department and Park Service revise regulations.
“This ruling is important. The court flat out found that the current rule is illegal and that the Park Service indeed has authority to protect the national interest in federal public lands,” said Jim Adams, Alaska Regional Director for the National Parks Conservation Association. “Unfortunately, it also left the illegal rule in place in the short run, putting bears and wolves at risk and flying in the face of the agency’s mission and core values. NPCA has fought for commonsense hunting regulations on Alaska’s parklands for decades, and we will continue to push for an end to this terrible rule.”
The 2020 rule reversed the Park Service’s longstanding position that the State of Alaska may not implement practices within National Park System units that are designed to decimate predators to increase the numbers of moose and caribou available for hunters.
“The 2020 rule arbitrarily and unjustifiably reversed federal regulations and undermined the very purposes established for national preserves by Congress,” said Rachel Briggs, staff attorney with Trustees for Alaska. “Any rule that leads to the manipulation of predator populations rather than the preservation of wildlife diversity undermines the health and purpose of these public lands. We would have preferred that the court had tossed out that destructive rule while agencies redo the regulations, and we hope that the Park Service will quickly fix it.”
Trustees filed a lawsuit in August 2020, charging the National Park Service with violating the National Park Service’s Organic Act, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. Federal agencies typically allow the State of Alaska’s hunting regulations to apply on federal lands, but only within the bounds of federal mandates.
Law firm Trustees for Alaska filed the lawsuit on behalf of 13 clients: Alaska Wildlife Alliance, Alaska Wilderness League, Alaskans FOR Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, Copper Country Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, Denali Citizens Council, the Humane Society of the United States, National Parks Conservation Association, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Sierra Club and Wilderness Watch.”
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