Great Alaska garage sale has THIS amazing benefit

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John Sturgeon with his hovercraft before the U.S. Park Service decided to tangle with him. Photo credit: Unknown
John Sturgeon with his hovercraft before the U.S. Park Service decided to tangle with him. Photo credit: U.S. Park Service

THEY DON’T MESS AROUND IN FAIRBANKS

Now that you’re reading, this garage sale event is a fundraiser for John Sturgeon, who took his case against the National Park Service all the way to the Supreme Court.

It cost Sturgeon, an Alaska hunter, more than $750,000 in legal fees to defend Alaskans’ right to navigate Alaska rivers in hovercrafts in pursuit of moose, or for any other reason.

Hovercrafts are useful when rivers are low. They make a lot of sense for hunting. The Park Service wants to ban them.

John Sturgeon
John Sturgeon

Sturgeon battled through the courts all the way to the Supremes. And he won.

About $600,000 has been raised for the Sturgeon legal fees, but it’s not over. The case has been remanded back to the Ninth Circuit and could go back to the Supreme Court. This case will cost close to a $1 million before it’s over.

And that’s why you might want to head up to Fairbanks on Saturday where you can buy all kinds of amazing Alaska gear at a garage sale, where 100 percent of the proceeds will defray the legal fees that Sturgeon is still staring at.

“I just thought, how can we raise money for a guy who has put his foot down, did what needed to be done, and carried the heavy load? Everybody has an outdoor item they can spare, so why not turn it into cash and help pay down his legal bills?” said his friend Craig Compeau, who is organizing the fundraiser.

“Anybody who has ever picked up a fishing pole or used a rifle to hunt in Alaska has skin in the game and should help,” Compeau said.

You can donate your items until 6 pm tonight and you can go online to stoptheoverreach.com where you can make a tax-deductible donation.

If you go to the Great Alaska Garage Sale, you’ll get to meet Sturgeon, who has achieved folk hero status in Alaska. You’ll be able to find some outstanding outdoor gear for a great price and an even greater cause.

For instance, you can get your very own airboat. Sure, it’s not a hovercraft, but it can still do some pretty sick moves:

Airboat, because it makes the Park Service irritable.
Airboat; it’s not a hovercraft but your wife is going to love it anyway.

OR THIS…

All kinds of hunting stuff.
All kinds of hunting stuff, because…guns!

OR THIS…

Canoes, cars, snow machines, and gear.
Canoes, cars, four-wheelers, snow machines, and all kinds of nifty survival gear, because…Alaska!

GREAT ALASKA GARAGE SALE BENEFITS JOHN STURGEON LEGAL FUND

Place: Compeau’s Inc.

Location: 4122 Boat Street, Fairbanks

Date and Time: Saturday, Aug. 27, 11 am – 4 pm

Why: From the legal brief: “What is at stake here for Alaska is not just a different view…about permissible weekend recreation or the best method of routing tourists through national parks…[It’s because] unencumbered access to Alaska’s waters and meaningful use of Alaska’s natural resources is necessary to sustain life in much of rural Alaska.”

BACKGROUNDER

In March, the U.S. Supreme Court reversal of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision made Alaskan John Sturgeon into a giant-slayer.

Back in 2007, Sturgeon was on the Nation River in the middle of the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, using a hovercraft to get to place to hunt moose, as he had since 1991.

But the National Park Service rangers he encountered that beautiful fall day decided he could not use his small rubber boat (which had broken down) because it was too noisy for a national park.

Sturgeon wasn’t even allowed to take his boat out of the preserve under its own power. The rangers told him he’d have to get another boat to haul it out.

Sturgeon was mistreated by Park Service personnel, but the underlying case he brought against the Park Service was not just a grudge. Since when does the Park Service have authority over navigable waters in Alaska? ANILCA gave that to the state.

With 60 percent of Alaska owned by the federal government, many Alaskans say, “not one more inch!” And John Sturgeon’s case became a cause for hunters, recreationalists, and states-rights advocates.

While he lost at the district level and at the Ninth Circuit, John Sturgeon fought on. It was now David vs. Goliath. Fundraisers took place across the state to help raise the hundreds of thousands of dollars it was costing him to fight on Alaskans’ behalf.

“It’s a victory for all of Alaska,” Sturgeon wrote.

Governor Sean Parnell and the State of Alaska, with then-Attorney General Dan Sullivan, filed a brief in support of Sturgeon, saying such federal overreach “threatens not only the state’s sovereignty . . . but also the way of life of ordinary Alaskan citizens.”

Parnell celebrated the unanimous victory in March, 2016: “As governor, I was proud of John Sturgeon for standing up for his rights as an Alaskan against the Park Service, and I was honored to fight with him for the state’s interest in our waters and lands.”

The Supreme Court decision is here.