Flag flap: Retired UA prof says the American flag on Flattop is abuse of power by Dunleavy Administration



Anchorage environmentalist and retired University of Alaska biology professor Rick Steiner says that the American flag on top of Flattop Mountain represents an abuse of power by the Dunleavy Administration and Rep. Laddie Shaw of Anchorage.

For decades, a flag has flown on top of one of the iconic hiking experiences in the Anchorage bowl, and scores of hikers make the flagpole their destination so they can take a picture of themselves at the flag.

Chugach State Park rangers have been taking the flag down, and patriots have been replacing it for years. The flag fight went on because it’s against State of Alaska policy to fly flags in State-owned parks.

Rep. Shaw has, for years, hiked the peak and replaced the flag.

He did so this past week with Reps. Sara Rasmussen, Lance Pruitt, and Kelly Merrick, all who represent Anchorage. The four huffed and puffed their way to the 3,510-foot peak to take away the tattered Old Glory, and put a fresh flag in its place.

Shaw has a conditional use permit from the Department of Natural Resources to place the flag there, although according to Steiner, this was an illegal action by the Dunleavy Administration.

“A permanent flag on Flattop in CSP clearly serves no recreational or bona-fide park purpose whatsoever. As such, the permit for this flag must be rescinded, the flag removed, and no other such permit should ever be issued in any state park, as per state park policy,” Steiner wrote, saying that Alaskans climbing Flattop “come face-to-face with yet another abuse of power and public process by the Dunleavy administration – an illegally permitted American flag on the summit.”

Steiner says the conditional use permit that Shaw has circumvented the public process and he goes on to say it was issued at an illegal meeting between Shaw and DNR.

Steiner’s name also appears on the official application for a recall petition against Gov. Mike Dunleavy, and he is a frequent critic of Dunleavy and President Donald J. Trump.


On June 15, Rep. Shaw spent the afternoon with Scout Troop 210 at Mirror Lake’s Camp Gorsuch, and brought some of the old and tattered flags that he had replaced over the years on Flattop Mountain. He spoke to the scouts about the symbology of the flag and then participated in a retiring ceremony for the tattered emblems over a bonfire.

“Every person forms their own relationship with our flag. For me, my relationship to it is shaped by the years I spent serving under that flag, and the legacies of the men and women I served with — some of whom never returned home,” said Shaw a retired Navy SEAL.

“I want to thank the troop leaders for inviting me to tell the scouts about my relationship with the flag, and to share some of my experiences as a veteran and a legislator with our young scouts. What an impressive group of future leaders,” he said.


Should the flag on Flattop Mountain remain or should it be prohibited? Leave your comments and vote in Must Read Alaska’s poll on Facebook.


    • Exactly as you say! As soon as I saw “environmentalist” and professor”, I didn’t even need to read his position and complaint. (but, I did anyway).

      Is there anyone who “teaches” at a “university” who isn’t anti-American and/or an out-and-out Marxist? Now watch – Some Stalinist will weigh in.

      Is it just me, or are these hate-everything, anti-American types just so tiring. And predictable.

      • Between this guy and Alan Boorass on the Kenai, it’s hard to say who’s in the lead for professorial stupidity over the years.

  1. Typical Democrat reformer. Never did anything for this country but complain and now wants to spit in the face of every veteran that fought for OUR flag. Hit the road Jack and don’t let the door hit you in the ass.

    • I get so tired of seeing this reflexive attempt to diminish this symbol of our country in the public square.

  2. Leave the flag, this is America and the American flag should be able to fly anywhere in this Country.

    • Totalitarian assholes like this guy have the primary goal of canceling American culture to replace it with their own ideas.
      Citizens of the United States need to stop being afraid of political correct village idiots and just start speaking their mind… They also need to reclaim their language: these totalitarians ensure that you feel bad for using words that you know are acceptable just so they can box you into a corner and attack.

  3. Baby Steiner needs to go back to his safe space. Perhaps he should replace his thumb with a pacifier. Of all the important things in the world to worry about, he gets his panties in a wad with this? Oh Puh-lease!

  4. If I have to put up with looting and destruction in the spirit of ‘compromise and diversity’, commie Steiner can put up with the damn flag.

  5. Leave it alone. This guy shouldn’t have any publicity at all. Just because he was Biology teacher doesn’t give him the right for publicity.

    He hates America

  6. Our beautiful American flag should be welcome in state parks. Hiking to the flag on Flattop has become a thing for Alaskans and tourists. Let’s change the law so that the flag is allowed in specific places in parks and a responsible party will be committed to caring for it.

  7. “For decades, a flag has flown on top of one of the iconic hiking experiences in the Anchorage bowl, and scores of hikers make the flagpole their destination so they can take a picture of themselves at the flag.”. Sounds like it serves a recreational purpose to me.

  8. We have certainly come a long ways since our battle for independence. Now issuing a permit for the American flag on public land is an abuse of power.

  9. Great comments by real Alaskans….Proud to be Alaskans and Proud to be Americans! There is no place in education for — like Rick Steiner.

  10. I do not think flags belong on top of any mountains. Personally as someone who enjoys climbing mountains I do not like getting to the top and seeing trash. I do not care if it is a memorial for a dead person. Tibetan prayer flag or an American flag. Why do people still feel they have this need to leave stuff behind as a statement that they were there.
    The flag code of content states
    (a) It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flag staffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
    Maybe Laddie Shaw should stay up there with a flashlight.
    I have American flags at both my homes so I have no issues with displaying the flag. Just do not think they belong on every mountain top someone wants to stick it.

    • Proudly said by Leo NON-Americus. If it would keep American flag haters off Alaska’s mountain tops, maybe we should put our country’s flag on top of every mountain in Alaska. Thanks to Laddie Shaw, a great American and Alaskan hero, Leo can take a lesson from someone who served his country proudly.

    • Leo.
      Your point might have had a point when you referred to the flag code. But you lost all credibility when you equated the country’s red white and blue symbol to “trash” a “Tibetan prayer flag “ and a “memorial for a dead person”.
      The article is not about any of those things. So why muddy the issue with things that are not relevant?
      It is a small flag that adorns a small
      hill top that just about everyone other than you and author Steiner enjoys seeing. Steiner is a Dunleavy hater which explains his complaint. Are you also?

      • I realized when i reread that it came out that way. My issue is when these flags are destroyed they are not disposed of properly and become trash. I was equating items I find littering mountains. I have no idea what this has to do with Dunleavy. I did not read the Steiner article. I have held this opinion long before Dunleavy was in politics. I developed this opinion from hiking around Alaska and seeing flags and other memorials that started out with good intentions become trash over the years. This is not a political issue for me.

        • Leo, ok, I understand where you are coming from. But jeezo, don’t you think that it would give your comments more weight if you had at least read what Steiner wrote? Suzanne provided a link that required only that you touch it to get the whole picture.

          • I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m getting mighty fed up with these whiney, fussy, mentally unstable, liberal, treehugging, SOB’s! They represent the worst of our great country, and yet demand the most of it. For example, I put up with 8 long years with no president to represent me. I’ve also put up with 8 more years of no governor to represent me here in Washington State. And yet I have not thrown any tantrums, thrown any rocks, burned any police cruisers, or bitched about mexican and gay flags pasted up everywhere. But this A-HOLE, who has done nothing but hide in his classroom, corrupt young minds with liberal gibberish, and suck off the tax payers is offended by an American flag. Send him packing with the rest of the trash to one of their socialist utopias. Just make sure we blackball them from re-entry into the US when they find their ideal world crumbling around them.

    • By Leo’s definition, even the flag on the moon is/wrong. Is it still there onthe moon?
      Planting flags has been a symbol of possession for centuries. Remember the celebrated picture of the men raising our flag at Iwo Jima?
      Flags are hardly “trash” and it seems odd for a citizen of this country to label them as such.
      Steiner is also an odd person but typical of his ilk. Became wealthy thru the freedoms and opportunities he enjoyed in the country of the flag he dislikes and now uses his wealth to criticism the benefits he enjoys.

      • An American flag flew day and night on top of Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima from the date of the famous photo until 1968 when possession of the island was returned to Japanese ownership.

        Perhaps the liberals want ownership of Flattop like they do CHAZ in Seattle?

        Works for me. Flattop overlooks Anchorage, the liberal bastion of Alaska. It’s an appropriate liberal “mountain”. With thousands and thousands of mountains in this state, you can be sure the liberals will never find the flags I’ve raised. They’re too pussified to get there.

  11. Looking at everything with a Jaundiced eye, can’t be healthy and certainly can’t be fun to be around. Maybe a prescription for some rose colored glasses, might be of some help. Maybe you could go south and find a statue to pull down… Don’t worry, be happy.

  12. What an ignorant policy! Serving only the do nothing, do gooder! Maybe Laddie could start this next session getting this ‘policy’ changed. The American Flag should be able to fly within all our Parks, greeting visitors from around the world.
    “Proud to be an American”, words probably not easily uttered by Rick Steiner!

  13. hey leo. im sticking a flag on every peak viewable from your boat slip in cordova just because. you may not see them but know they are there.

    • Um, that would be virtually every university system. Nothing but CommuNazi mills cranking out anti-American Leftist Soi boys and Karens.

  14. Rick Steiner is a twirp. I hope I get a chance to meet up with him when I start planting US flags on Bird Ridge.

  15. Anyone who doesn’t like the flag displayed for all to see feel free to move to North Korea where the flag is everywhere, or else.

  16. I’m getting sick and tired of leftist, America hating idiots trying to impose their “sentiments” on the rest of us. This fool, steiner, owes everything he has and is to the American way. Where the hell did his “public” pension come from? It isn’t from some commie a-holes or a foreign communist country. It is from Alaska, America and the American people. Where did the ‘right’ to protest our country’s flag come from? Not from his, apparently, choice of non freedoms in the ‘country’ of his vaporous dreams. It, and his freedom to express any American hating thoughts, came from the sacrifices of Americans that make him ‘free’ and their pride in the American flag and American freedoms. If the fool doesn’t like it, leave and go to Venezuela or Vietnam or China. Protest their flag and see where it gets him. That is where his sympathies apparently lie. Get out of Alaska/America and live in your idyllic communist garden of hate. Enough traitorous statements and actions to smear America.
    Remember this jerk in November, and all commies of his mindset.

    Leo, I thought better of you. Another lesson learned. Yes, there is an American flag displayed in a prominent position at my home. If I choose to put it on a mountain top, that is part of my freedom in America.

  17. I think Mr. Steiner owes Alaskans and Americans reparations for his years of feeding off the Alaskan educational system. Mr. Steiner is entitled to his own opinion regarding the placement of Old Glory; but I have a real problem with anyone that views this symbol of freedom as an eyesore.

  18. Leave the flag alone. If he’s offended by it then he can fall back on his freedom to not hike there. And a shout out to the pickups around the valley flying big American flags off their trucks. Thank you, makes me proud.

  19. Democrat supporters have noted that the American flag does evoke feelings of nationism and pride in the country… things globalists wish confined if no abolished. So, for any true follower of the Left, Old Glory has a visceral gut-punch to their psyche. They forget that if they get their way they will eventually have to swear allegiance to some other flag… be it UN , Islam or CCP. In those cases, being white and European in heritage will not be positive points.

  20. I think the flag above the city is a great reminder of sacrifices made by all genders, races and ages. May Old Glory fly over our city for a long time.
    Thank you to all who have made our freedom possible.

  21. Teaching? You mean…..brainwashing. Rick was brainwashed by his own psycho mentors. This is how Lefties educate.

  22. Let’s pass legislation to authorize the American flag and the Alaska Flag on any Alaska Public land or facilities.

    What legislator could justify a NO vote?

  23. We have been warned that Russian Communist trolls would be here. Rick Steiner is a prime example.

  24. The term standard bearer comes to mind. You see historically when soldiers took the field of battle they would fly the flags of their Country, State, army, regiment, or unit. Historically being the standard bearer was something to be proud of, something that many young men died for. Historically if the standard bearer were to fall on the field of battle another soldier would drop his weapon, pick up the flag, and become the standard bearer. Men have died to hold that flag high.
    Rick Steiner is himself a standard bearer of sorts, he represents the hatred the left has for this country, he represents the hatred that people like him have for those who died to protect that flag and everything that flag represents, he represents people who would destroy our history like those who toppled the statue of George Washington and burned our flag on that fallen statue.

  25. I am so proud of Rep. Pruitt for taking a strong position on the flag. Of course the liberal democrats say nothing about the flag or how great America is because all they talk about is: Virus. Death. Sickness. Unemployment. Hungry children. Racial injustice. Inequality. So I put a big American flag on the side of my tent to say that despite the problems, our leader will deliver me and America to greatness. We need Rep. Pruitt for Governor.

  26. This guy should crawl back under a rock and study bugs for a spell, and leave the rest of us alone to honor our flag. To hell with his type!

  27. When it suits their cause progressives are happy to ignore code, law, and the basic social contract in order to further their agenda.
    Yet they will nit pick the tiniest detail of bureaucratic process, procedure, permitting, or any other minor impediment in order to derail something they dislike or that is an affront to their Marxist sensibilities.

  28. Stand down Steiner. Don’t you have anything better to do with your time than start this crap? Petty nitpicking is killing this republic. If you don’t want to see the flag up there, hike somewhere else.

  29. All the typical respondents are out and until yesterday no one had heard of Steiner.

    You didn’t give a rip what he thought then and today he remains a person with an unimportant perspective. Let’s move on, shall we? Whatever this goof says is certainly less important than having the local phone book company litter the end of your driveway with their useless phone book… or how the clown your elected is now attempting to buy properties to give away like time share condo’s for homeless people.

    How about you shake something controversial out of your sleeve, Suzanne? It’s time to feed the tiger.

    • “It was not part of their blood,
      It came to them very late,
      With long arrears to make good,
      When the Saxon began to hate.

      They were not easily moved,
      They were icy — willing to wait
      Till every count should be proved,
      Ere the Saxon began to hate.

      Their voices were even and low.
      Their eyes were level and straight.
      There was neither sign nor show
      When the Saxon began to hate.

      It was not preached to the crowd.
      It was not taught by the state.
      No man spoke it aloud
      When the Saxon began to hate.

      It was not suddently bred.
      It will not swiftly abate.
      Through the chilled years ahead,
      When Time shall count from the date
      That the Saxon began to hate.“

      We’ve been ignoring the America haters for too long. For years, decades(!), we, magnanimously, thought that, while they had a different viewpoint, they were still America first. We were wrong. We did not realize that they were, in fact, Enemies of the State. We have awoken from our slumber, and, while still groggy, we too are learning to “hate”.

  30. …. Steiner, please take your pension and get out of Alaska. You’re stinking up the joint. You and everyone you have likely indoctrinated for years with extreme leftist ideology.

    • Apparently this Steiner fink drank some tainted bong water..I’d first recommend if the flag chaps his sphincter then he needs to pay a visit to his proctologist and get a nice soothing buttermilk enema..This pathetic moron needs to go take a flying leap to the nearest communist country he can find and join his comrades..I’ll gladly pay for his one way ticket..Me being a veteran takes serious offense to the vile vomit that this sissy little twirp spews..But if I were him I’d be careful not to spew his filth within arms reach of a veteran..He might find that to be a very uncomfortable situation..

      • I love the American flag. I support the people who support the flag staying on flat top. Why does everything have to be a battle. Obviously, the Republican people are patriotic and love America and its freedoms. I personally do not see this as a bad thing! Rock on Dunleavy, Rasmussen, and all that support the American flag?

    • Professor Steiner seems to maybe have retired too soon as he does seem to now be lacking in any meaningful productive industry and instead is wasting his time in cantankerous pettiness.

  31. We need a law of some sort that will serve to protect the flag from liberal courts. Then again we could go for a constitutional amendment. You would never see this and any other country our flag should be able to fly anywhere in the country period.

  32. The first battle of the upcoming civil war has been lost to the brainwashing of our children by liberal “teachers” in the education system of our country . The fad of tearing down statues is nothing more than people getting their participation trophies. Without question, the flag should be flown anywhere.

  33. MA, you only need to post once, but it all goes to the moderator. To answer your question, a flag is retired through a cremation ceremony, typically, rather than thrown in the garbage. It is tradition. – sd

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