Feds’ Closure of Alaska Land Violates Federal Law

by Alec Torres

When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began shutting down lands in Alaska because of the shutdown, Alaska lawmakers pushed back. Citing the 1980 law guaranteeing state residents access to the land, these Alaskans are not only calling the practice wrong, but illegal.

“It seems that agencies are working harder to keep people off federal lands than they have ever worked before to get them to visit federal lands,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski.

The Alaska National Interest Land Conservation act, a federal law signed by President Carter in 1980, demands that the government give notice of any closures before blocking access to public lands, according to a Washington Times report. Though the Park Service and Bureau of Land Management have left their lands open, the Fish and Wildlife Service has closed access to their lands in spite of the law.

The federal government has faced increasing criticism since the government shutdown for blocking access to parks and public spaces, even open-air memorials that need no park supervision as well as pieces of property that the federal government neither owns nor pays for.

UPDATE: Post has been updated to reflect the fact that the Alaska National Interest Land Conservation act is a federal law, not a state law.

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