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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reopens federal lands minutes before North Dakota to file federal suit

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reopens federal lands minutes before North Dakota to file federal suit

This is a pretty good example of how the federal government went out of its way to make life difficult by shutting federal lands it never did anything to staff full time in the first place.

North Dakota threatened to sue, and just minutes before the federal complaint was to be filed, Fish & Wildlife agreed to open lands not just in North Dakota, but nationally.

Here is the announcement from the Governor of North Dakota (h/t @CamEdwards):

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to reopen more than 288,000 acres of wildlife lands in North Dakota that have been closed to public access since the federal government shutdown began on October 1.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe announced the reopening of Wildlife Service lands nationwide late today after he was informed of North Dakota’s intent to file a complaint in U.S. District Court. The complaint, already completed and within minutes of being filed, requested a federal judge require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reopen more than 288,000 acres of wildlife lands closed to hunters and other public uses.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, in talks with U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials, said they were prepared to file the complaint at 3pm today. Just minutes before 3pm, U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials said they would reopen the wildlife lands nationwide.

“These Waterfowl Production Areas are an important part of North Dakota’s outdoor experience and the law is very clear that a government shutdown is not a legal justification to close these unstaffed, public lands,” Gov. Dalrymple said. “We are pleased that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to reopen these lands in time for North Dakota’s opening day of pheasant hunting.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service’s attempt to prohibit access to the wide outdoors was clearly contrary to law, which assures these areas are to be open to hunters and anglers,” Stenehjem said. “I am delighted that Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to end the confusion, and to allow our sportsmen to enjoy a successful hunting season.”

In the complaint, Dalrymple and Stenehjem said the closures are unnecessary and unwarranted because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not, under normal conditions, maintain full-time staff on the lands and because there are no additional public safety or management issues created by keeping the lands open. Dalrymple and Stenehjem said the law allows closure only in exceptional circumstances, none of which are present.

On Tuesday, the state also sent a letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, voicing the same arguments in urging him to reopen the state’s Waterfowl Production Areas.


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Watch and see.

This government by malice episode will spawn a welter of lawsuits, many of them TOTALLY well-founded and successful.

Trouble is…you and I will pay the damages awarded to individuals, businesses, and the states.


    Anchovy in reply to Ragspierre. | October 11, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I choose to view it this way…. we get to pay for both the law suit and the defense so we will win no matter what happens.

    I am an optimist. I also voted for Romney. In the world of half assedness, I always view the world as half full of asses.

North Dakota is one of the few States too, where the Majority of land is held in private hands. That the Federal Government would do such a thing out of spite probably never even crossed most North Dakotan’s minds until hunting season was impacted.

There is a reason North Dakota is considered one of the most free States. Farmers don’t put up with silly crap.

2nd Ammendment Mother | October 11, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Interesting that the Feds are folding so quickly when challenged on their little demonstrations of pettiness.

In my fantasy, the plaintiffs get to name Obama personally (he’s been hosting lots of fundraisers on the taxpayer dime) as the person who directed the pettiness and damage to their businesses.

>>“I am delighted that Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to end the confusion,”

It wasn’t confusion, it was illegality. Stop scumbling.

Yep – the Feds from Obama down have been breaking and ignoring laws and ethics from day one of his administration.

Obama has used every agency of government to persecute and stifle dissenters and opponents.

He’s a nasty POW and always has been. He and his whole administration are*…lawless – brazenly lawless.

*there are many descriptors that fit…most with four letters.

nordic_prince | October 11, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Score a victory for the people. No doubt some of these federal jackasses don’t understand that a lot of folks in rural areas actually rely on hunting to put meat on their tables. Depriving people of their right to hunt is the same as taking food out of their children’s mouths.

But of course “shame” is a foreign concept to the Obama regime.

Next – the private operators at US Forest Service campgrounds and at National Park Service facilities should sue to reopen these leased real estate locations – all of which actually make money for the government.

The next thing to do is reclaim all the land from the federal government. Each state should prohibit the federal government, by constitutional amendment, from laying claim to any of its territory. The state should then designate the lands as areas for the public’s use and entertainment with the revenues from such use allocated and restricted to the maintenance and service of such lands. That might prevent the thieves at the state government level from raiding to lands’ revenues to fund social welfare projects.

Let the US Forest Service be limited to fire service work. Let there be no more NPS. Let lumber businesses be responsible for the planting and tending of trees and shrubs, with a nice hefty fine and loss of business license for over-cutting leading to deforestation and soil erosion.

No more Fish and Wildlife Service at the Fed level. Instead, let each state administer its lands for the benefit of the people to whom they are responsible at the ballot box. That will teach the forestry employees a lesson about to whom they are beholden.

    I think the original idea for federal ownership of the national parks was to assure that vagaries in state politics and desires didn’t impact treasures that should be owned by all Americans. No one anticipated an Obama.

    Perhaps the National Parks should be operated in a manner similar to how the federal highway system is run. Federal funds be given to the states to maintain these areas and the “national” designation in return for certain accessibility concessions, and otherwise do away with federal control.

    I will never think of Smokey Bear the same way again…

BannedbytheGuardian | October 12, 2013 at 12:04 am

So it took a kid’s lacrosse team to challenge & at least win back temporary access to their playing fields. They has paid their user fees & it was judged they had rights.