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National Rifle Ass'n of Am. v. Potter

ELR Citation: 16 ELR 20356
Nos. No. 84-1348, 628 F. Supp. 903/(D.D.C., 02/24/1986)

The court holds that a National Park Service (NPS) ban on hunting and trapping in national parks and recreation areas does not violate either the Service's Organic Act or the Administrative Procedure Act. The court first rules that the National Rifle Association has standing to sue on behalf of tits members. Plaintiff has alleged injury to its members as a result of their inability to hunt and trap in certain areas and that its members' interests are within the zone protected by regulation since all citizens have the right to use the national parks in a manner consistent with congressional mandate. The court next rules that the ban does not violate the directives given the NPS by Congress in the Organic Act, as conservation is its single stated purpose. Only in certain designated individual park units did Congress authorize hunting and/or trapping and the absence of such language in the Organic Act is a further indication of congressional intent to ban hunting or trapping unless expressly stated. The court notes that hunting and trapping are considered distinct activities as shown in the individual enabling acts that permit both activities in some units, but only hunting in others. In addition, park officials, in the system's early years, interpreted the Organic Act and the first park enabling acts to ban hunting and trapping. The court rules that the interpretation of the NPS is reasonable and upholds the ban.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Stephen Shulman
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft
1333 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 293-6300

Counsel for Defendants
James F. Bowe
Hunton & Williams
2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, P.O. Box 19230, Washington DC 20036
(202) 955-1500

Counsel for Defendant-Intervenors
Steven Reed
Steptoe & Johnson
1330 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 429-3000