After Statehood in 1959, the federal government retained most of the 375 million acres comprising the former Territory of Alaska. Today, approximately 60% of Alaska is still under federal management and control. By contrast, most of the State’s east of the Mississippi comprise less than 1% of federal lands of the total lands within their state borders.
The recent Jim Wilde case in federal district court brought home the fact that after 51 years of Statehood, the State of Alaska’s citizens are being endangered by the federal government with impunity. In Wilde’s case, he, his wife, and a friend were subjected to a threat of the use of unnecessary deadly force by two U.S. Park Service Rangers. His “crime”? When signaled to heave to and be boarded, he headed his boat to shore where he could deal with the Rangers safely. He was manhandled by two heavily armed young men and removed to jail 100 miles west to Fairbanks. Wilde is 71. He was charged with “resisting arrest”. His boat registration was out of date. The Rangers pointed a shotgun and a pistol at him and his passengers to gain “compliance” for the check of registration.
Why was the federal Park Service enforcing boat registration on the Yukon River?
“AS 38.05.126. Navigable and Public Water: (a) The people of the state have a constitutional right to free access to and use of the navigable or public water of the state. (b) The state has full power and control of all of the navigable or public water of the state, both meandered and unmeandered, and the state holds and controls all navigable or public water in trust for the use of the people of the state.”
Clearly, the Yukon River is a navigable waterway, the enforcement of law on which is arguably a jurisdiction of the State, and not that of the federal government.
The Yukon-Charly River Wildlife Preserve is not a national park. Why were armed Park Service personnel on the Yukon River in the first place?
Is the State of Alaska just the approximately 105 million acres conveyed to date under the Alaska Statehood Compact?
Alaska Statehood Compact: “72 Stat. 339 Public Law 85-508: SEC. 2. The State of Alaska shall consist of all the territory, together with the territorial waters appurtenant thereto, now included in the Territory of Alaska.”
Sec. 2 of the Statehood Compact shows that the State of Alaska consists of all of the land mass and waters comprising the Territory of Alaska prior to statehood.
With the passage of ANILCA (1980), the federal Fish and Wildlife Service assumed fish and wildlife management over 380,900 square miles of federal lands in Alaska.
The second Hickel Administration (1991-1994) saw the passage of AS 38.05.500-505. In Alaska v. Babbitt, Gov. Hickel attempted to right the affront to the State’s authority over its lands and management of fish and game. AS 38.05.500 was clearly a nullification of what the Hickel Administration perceived as an overreach by Congress into the State’s ownership and authority over the lands in Alaska.
AS 38.05.500. Electorate Determinations: The people of the State of Alaska determine that: (1) the intent of the framers of the Constitution of the United States was to guarantee to each of the states sovereignty over all matters within its boundaries except for those powers specifically granted to the United States as agent of the states; (2) the attempted imposition upon the State of Alaska by the Congress of the United States of a requirement in the Statehood Act that the State of Alaska and its people "disclaim all right and title to any land or other property not granted or confirmed to the state or its political subdivisions by or under the authority of this Act, the right or title to which is held by the United States or is subject to disposition by the United States," as a condition precedent to acceptance of Alaska into the Union, was an act beyond the power of the Congress of the United States and is thus void; (3) the purported right of ownership and control of the public land in the State of Alaska by the United States is without foundation and violates the clear intent of the Constitution of the United States; and (4) the exercise of that dominion and control of the public land in the State of Alaska by the United States works a severe, continuous and debilitating hardship upon the people of the State of Alaska.”
Miner Carey Mills from Fairbanks normally accesses his mining claims near Eagle using the historic 40 Mile Station-Eagle Trail recognized by the State under RS2477 rights of way. The BLM has closed the road in spite of the State’s recognition and historic use. The State has refused to assert its rights in maintaining the use of the trail.
With Governor Parnell’s silence on the Jim Wilde case, and the State’s refusal assert its rights in the Carey Mills case, there is now a complete and utter abrogation of the State’s sovereignty under the Parnell Administration.