Stars and bars: Denali National Park staff called Alaska State Troopers for protection from American flag convoy

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While some Alaskans organize a Sunday convoy to the entrance of Denali National Park, where they plan to fly their American flags in protest of a park superintendent’s ban on the flag on the Park Road, sources tell Must Read Alaska that the park staff has called for protection from the Alaska State Troopers.

The official statement from the Troopers is that the Park Service has not called them for backup. Troopers were on site at the Fairbanks Walmart parking lot where the convoy group gathered at noon on Sunday. Must Read Alaska’s source confirms the account that the Troopers were called for traffic control at the entrance to the park.

The news about the flag ban on the road that goes through Denali National Park reached the national level, with a story on Fox News on Sunday morning, and the X/Twitter account LibsofTikTok posted stories about the decision by the park superintendent to keep American flags off of the work vehicles that are building a bridge to connect the Park Road past the Pretty Rocks Landslide, so visitors will next year be able to get to Wonder Lake, the Eielson Visitor Center, and Kantishna Roadhouse.

The flags on the worksite itself are not under the jurisdiction of the park superintendent, but rather of the Federal Highway Administration project manager. But once the work vehicles leave the job site, Park Superintendent Brooke Merrell wants those trucks to not be flying the American flag, according to numerous sources.

Drivers from Fairbanks will meet at the Fairbanks Walmart at noon and plan to be rolling by about 1 pm, with a stopped planned for the Three Bears store in Healy, before the group proceeds to the entrance of Denali National Park.

Another group has organized from the south, and will meet at the Fisher Fuel on the Parks Highway, a half-mile from the Big Lake intersection, and roll to Denali at about 10 am. The group hopes to have a burger-and-hot-dog picnic when they arrive.

“No matter, we should be able to fly the American flag, no matter where,” said Keith Fons, who is one of the key organizers of the convoy. Fons, who lives in North Pole, always flies an American flag and once receive a $1 fine for driving his truck while it was covered with Christmas lights.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, a military veteran of the U.S. Marines, has written a letter of protest to National Park Service Director Charles Sams, and at least three Alaska legislators have also written letters to Sams as well — Rep. Ben Carpenter, Rep. Jamie Allard, and Rep. Kevin McCabe. All three are veterans.

Rep. Allard pointed out that the men and women working in the park “do not give up their First Amendment rights when they put on their helmets and go to work.”

Rep. McCabe wrote that Alaska boasts the highest percentage of veterans per capita of any state in the nation. “These veterans, and indeed all construction workers employed in our National Parks, take immense pride in their country and their contributions to it. The American flag represents their dedication, patriotism, and the freedoms they have fought to protect.

Rep. Carpenter wrote, “The facts as reported have yet to be disputed by the National Park Service and, if accurate, deeply concern me and the constituents I represent … No good justification was reported to be offered by Ms. Merrell. From the reports that I witnessed, the justification given was in response to complaints from other park visitors.”

60 COMMENTS

  1. Doesn’t the jurisdiction of the troopers stop at the park boundary? After that it’s Park Rangers, Federal Marshals and the FBI.

    • In absence of actual federal officers on the ground, I believe state troopers are allowed to operate on federal land.

      I suppose she could ask the Cowardly Lion for the Guard, but I doubt even he is stupid enough to approve that.

    • “…….Doesn’t the jurisdiction of the troopers stop at the park boundary?……..”
      They have jurisdiction on the Parks Highway right-of-way, which passes through park lands, so a request for traffic control at the intersection of the highway and park entrance is appropriate. The NPS might be anticipating an invasion akin to our southern border, so traffic control might be needed. Too bad Homeland Security can’t take a hint………..

  2. As long as BLM, Antifa, or the Anarchists don’t show up this will be a peaceful protest. Actually, it isn’t a protest at all, it’s just proud Americans showing their patriotism on a holiday weekend. Glad to see this garnered national attention.

    • Merrell is a disgrace to the uniform and to the ranks of the dedicated men and women who protect and serve in our national parks. She should resign or be terminated.

  3. if your life is that miserable that the only thing holding you together is flying the stars and stripes then JUST LET THEM FLY OUR FLAG….Its a beautiful flag and stands for justice so LET THEM FLY IT.

  4. Progressives really are afraid of the American people, aren’t they?

    She just can’t stop digging, can she?

  5. This a prime example of why all public service unions need to be eliminated. They can repeat offending their employers, the American taxpayer with these woke antics. Time for accountability and ability to remove underperforming workers just as the private sector does.

  6. I’m curious. Do they really think the protesters are gonna show up and act like Antifa?

    Or are they projecting what they would do.

  7. From the Denali FB page:

    “Reports that a National Park Service (NPS) official ordered the removal of an American flag from a Denali bridge construction worker’s vehicle at Denali National Park are false. At no time did an NPS official seek to ban the American flag from the project site or associated vehicles. The NPS neither administers the bridge project contract, nor has the authority to enforce terms or policies related to the contract or contractors performing the work. The American flag can be seen at various locations within Denali National Park – at park facilities and campsites, on public and private vehicles, and at employee residences – and we welcome its display this Memorial Day weekend and every day.”

    Suzanne, did you even TRY to see if this alleged outrage was true before you published your pablum, or did you even care about truth?

  8. No need for troopers. Flag bearers are just showing their patriotism. First ammendment rights. What makes the park think violence will happen? Just peace loving, flag flying Americans.

    • You really need to meet some of these Parkies. You’d understand then.

      I’m pretty sure that the Troops will take it in stride and kind of laugh it off. It’s easy duty and there will be some joking and joshing with the locals.

      Really what it comes down to, at least around there, is that NPS staff know how highly the Parks Highway State Troopers are respected and how little NPS Rangers are.

      Those Troops show up, things will stay chill, everyone will enjoy themselves, and probably no sort of enforcement action by anyone will occur.

      • So what you’re saying is not that there won’t be any extralegal activity, but that you’re confident state troopers won’t take any enforcement action at all while they’re there.

    • It’s the so-called patriots that freak out about a non issue such as this that I’m honestly more worried about in the US.

      • I will guarantee we won’t have fires, vandalism, looting, fighting, throwing bottles and other projectiles, trash strewn about, or punching little old ladies.

  9. “…sources tell Must Read Alaska that the park staff has called for protection from the Alaska State Troopers.” The AK State Troopers must be a pretty rough bunch if the park staff need protection from them

  10. Funny how this only seems to happen when someone tries to fly the flag of the United States of America. No one tries to stop anyone from flying Nazi flags, Confederate battle flags, lgbtq flags, Ukrainian flags, only American flags.

  11. Yes and no.

    AST has jurisdiction over nearly every inch of Alaska but not within old Denali NP.

    HOWEVER…

    There is a standing MOU between AST and NPS regarding mutual aid.

    The Troopers are few and far between, but AST has far better personnel when it comes to handling certain situations, so NPS can and does request AST assistance on occasion. AST also occasionally requests NPS assistance when additional bodies are required or the Troops are just too far away to respond to something.

    So essentially, they can have a “loaned” jurisdiction but they cannot enforce federal statute.

    The Park Rangers are generally not a problem, it’s Park administrators that are.

  12. Why is Must Read Alaska using an anonymous source for this story? If you are going to make an accusation like this against someone, you should do it openly. We have no idea whether any of this is true because we don’t know who is saying it.

    • We know the source. Sources have jobs. Government can blacklist them, so thanks for the suggestion, but this is our decision. – sd

      • The lefties have their sources too. Like which supreme court justice leaked the decision on Roe v. Wade? Or who erased Hillary Clinton’s 65,000 emails in her State Department account? Or who covered up Byron Mallott’s affair with a 16-year old girl?
        Lefties, Democrats, commies, and America Haters are such dishonest, cowardly thugs.

    • The Lefties have created cancel culture and doxing – where have you been?
      Anyone that deviates from the “cultural narrative” will be targeted to have their life destroyed.

  13. In this Day 2024 Memorial , with all Fellow Americans, ” I’m ready ” for my Lord God & my Country…God Save & Protect AMERICA , Please everyone THINK today of those that gave the ultimate sacrifice…Bless their Souls. Bless our Country! Embrace our Country’s Flag of FREEDOM . Liberty Ed

    • Regardless of your opinion on the reason for a rally, when conservative rally its peaceful and fun. Unlike the burning, looting, vandalism, assaults, and other nefarious activities sponsored by the Left.

    • Yeah, I guess its really not Progressive liberals on every college campus spitting on Jewish students?? I live in Washington state. Not 1 these radical protests has ever been conservatives, or even centrists.. Its 100% been BLM, Antifa, and the radical students on college campuses.. I’ve yet to even see a conservative anything formed into an actual pd test here.. even summer 2020 on Capitol Hill.. Those were NOT conservatives, and not once has it been conservatives closing down I-5. You need to open your eyes..

    • Typical democrats.. Start trouble, blame it on other ppl, then deny you ever started it in 1st place.. Hello 54 years of Biden..

  14. Troopers can act anywhere on Federal grounds in Alaska with very few exceptions. The “old Park” is one of those exceptions.

    Thanks ANILCA for that exception.

    They can only act there by specific request. Of course if they observe something while passing through the Park, they may take an interest if there is an imminent threat to life or safety, but even then NPS LE is immediately notified.

    There is a long standing MOU between AST and Denali NPS which does provide for mutual aid.

  15. Nps did not say that. But the ranger lady did so on her own. It was on the news all the way down here in Tennessee a week ago. NPS wouldn’t ever say stuff like that I live right by Smoky Mountain National Park, and American flags are everywhere all year long . This was just one ranger talking out her neck

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