Alaska sues for recognized ownership of submerged lands at Lake Clark National Park

Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 4:20 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On Tuesday, April 26, Governor Mike Dunleavy announced a lawsuit seeking recognition of Alaska’s ownership of its submerged lands at Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.

The move comes as a part of the governor’s “Unlocking Alaska Initiative,” which began last year.

The state has also sent cease and desist letters to the departments of Agriculture and the Interior for federal infrastructure built on the lands being claimed by the governor’s administration.

Alaska has 800,000 miles of navigable rivers and 30 million acres of navigable lakes, only a portion of which is acknowledged to belong to the state.

According to Deputy Attorney General Cori Mills, these lands were granted to Alaska with statehood. “There’s a misconception that these lands were taken away. It’s like we’re asking the federal government to give us these lands. That’s not the case. That is a false statement. Alaska was already given these submerged lands, as I said before, at statehood. The issue is that the federal government is refusing to recognize what is rightfully the state’s,” she said.

The press conference also included remarks from John Sturgeon, an Alaskan who successfully sued for the right to use navigable waters in the state.

The full conference can be viewed on Governor Dunleavy’s Facebook Page, and the accompanying press release can be found here.

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