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United States v. Brown

Citation: 7 ELR 20366
No. No. 76-2017, 552 F.2d 817/(8th Cir., 04/01/1977)

Relying on the Property Clause of the United States Constitution, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the authority of the National Park Service to enforce no-hunting regulations on non-federal waters running through a national park. Appellant was convicted of duck hunting on a lake within Voyageurs National Park. Acknowledging appellant's argument that although Minnesota had deeded lands within the park to the federal government, the state had not relinquished ownership of the waters, the district court held that the Property Clause provided congressional power to regulate hunting within the national park. Affirming the district court, the Eighth Circuit indicates that although Congress intended to include the waters within the park boundaries, the state did not expressly cede jurisdiction over the waters to the United States but did participate in the park's creation with knowledge that the federal government intended to restrict hunting in the park. The court then answers the question left open in Kleppe v. New Mexico, 6 ELR 20545 (U.S. 1976), by finding that the Property Clause justifies federal regulation of activities on non-federal public waters to protect wildlife and visitors on federal lands.

Counsel for Appellant
William W. Essling
Suite 828, Minnesota Bldg., St. Paul MN 55101
(612) 224-4818

Counsel for Appellee
Robert G. Renner, U.S. Attorney
596 U.S. Courthouse, Minneapolis MN 55401
(612) 332-8961

Counsel for Amicus Curiae State of Minnesota
Steven Thorne, Ass't Attorney General
102 State Capitol, St. Paul MN 55155
(612) 296-6196

Joined by Lay & Smith*, JJ.