From: alra@governance.net
Subject: NPS “Damage” Lawsuit Against Pilgrims Eminent

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973 – E-mail: alra@landrights.org or
alra@governance.net  Web Address: http://www.landrights.org 
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE – Washington, DC 20003
Phone: 202-210-2357 – Fax: 202-543-7126 – E-mail: landrightsnet@aol.com

NPS “Damage” Lawsuit Against Pilgrims Eminent

***Pilgrim Airlift Continues – See Below.

Park Service Plans To Crush Pilgrims With Huge Lawsuit.

This is worse than condemnation or eminent domain. There is no end to the heavy handed intimidation tactics of the National Park Service against the Pilgrim Family in Alaska.

The Park Service plans a huge lawsuit against the Pilgrims claiming they damaged park resources.  Their goal is to try to destroy them financially and force them off their land.

The NPS imported many “ologists” this summer to “carefully” examine the old mining road on which the Pilgrims used a D4 bulldozer as a tracked vehicle last spring to try to bring supplies up to their homestead.

All of these “ologists” were “guarded” by park personnel dressed in Swat Team outfits looking every bit like they missed their army plane to Iraq.  You can see them at www.landrights.org 

The Park Service says that even though the road is designated by the State of Alaska as an RS 2477 right-of-way, the NPS does not recognize it.  Even though the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) guarantees access to inholdings and the McCarthy Creek Road is the only route, the Park Service continually denies access.

The agency even says in their Land Protection Plan for the Wrangell St. Elias National Park that inholders who try to use their ANILCA access rights will be subject to land acquisition.

The driver of the bulldozer did crush down some undergrowth that had come up in the roadway since the last time it had been used.  Tracked vehicles have been commonly used on this roadway since the 1920’s.

Ironically, the Park Service caused far more damage when they  forced a survey of the Pilgrims property and in the process, clearcut a swath 11 feet wide and 2 miles long to mark the property lines. More impact on natural undisturbed vegetation damage than the Pilgrims caused by their small bulldozer.  And the clearcut was completely unnecessary under normal standards of the BLM, which carried out the instructions of the Park Service while doing the survey.  

Now the Park Service has spent between $350,000 to $500,000 using helicopters and bringing in their gang of “ologists” to try to intimidate the Pilgrims and document so called damage.  Never mind this area has been mined for nearly 100 years.  The Park Service investigators did not seem to care who did the damage or when. They want to stick it all on the Pilgrims.

Keep in mind that the Park Service closed the Visitor Center in McCarthy this past year because they said they could not afford the $27,000 it cost.  The NPS has a problem with priorities.

What the Park Service is doing to the Pilgrims is aimed at trying to intimidate anyone else who might stand up to the agency.  The NPS believes that if the Park Service can inflict enough pain on the Pilgrims, then other inholders, miners and landowners will quietly slink off in the night and forget about access.  This has been their pattern across America and now they are doing it in Alaska.

Action Items:

Nationwide Phone-In To Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior.

Make your “Gale, have a heart” calls today and every day for the next week.

Call Gale Norton, the Secretary of Interior in the Bush Administration, who has the power to stop this harassment.  You need to call the Secretary every day until next Wednesday to urge her to reign in the Park Service.  Tell her to put a stop to this costly and irrational attempt at intimidation by the Bush Administration National Park Service on the Pilgrim Family.
Gale Norton’s contact information:
Phone:  (202) 208-7351
FAX:  (202) 208-5048

Remember – Call Gale Norton every day until next Wednesday.

“Gale, have a heart”

Pilgrim Airlift Continues

Thank you to so many people who have been instrumental to the success of the Airlift so far.  

The weather is getting worse of course and the flights are more sporadic.  There are still lots of things to bring in by air.  But a great deal of material the Pilgrims need to rebuild their home is in McCarthy but is too big to go on a plane.  

We’re working feverishly to get emergency access.  As you know, the Pacific Legal Foundation sued the Park Service on Monday for access.

In the meantime, the Pilgrim Family Airlift will continue.  Money is still needed to fly in essential items.  And we still need skilled volunteer pilots who are comfortable landing on snow covered runways.

The Pilgrims were forced to bring their horses out because they could not get enough feed in.  One horse remains that is recovering from a heart ailment and unable to make the dangerous trip over the ice.  We slip a bale of hay on board a plane whenever the chance arises.

The Park Service continues to blockade the McCarthy Creek Road into the Pilgrim homestead.  This fight is about access.  It is a fight for every rancher, prospector, miner, forestry advocate, off-highway and recreation advocate.  Native groups in Alaska are also taking an interest.

This fight is also about freedom.  It is about you.  It is about whether Congress will honor the promises made in 1980 with the passage of ANILCA and in 1976 with the RS 2477 statute revised.

The Pilgrim Family Airlift offers every American an opportunity to strike back peacefully at a giant bureaucracy that is trying to take America’s parks away from the people using an armed camp mentality and intimidation.

The central place for fuel, supplies, and food to be received and stockpiled for airlift to the Pilgrims at their homestead in upper McCarthy Creek valley will be at the McCarthy B&B hanger on the McCarthy WEST airstrip located off the Mile 58.5 turnoff across from the National Park Service closed Kiosk.  Donated supplies will be received there.  Call John Adams at 554-4433 or 554-1133(cell) for more information.

In McCarthy the local coordinator of Airlift logistics is:  Laurie Rowland at 554-4498.

This will be an expensive rescue effort.  Please do your part by sending a contribution for $25, $50, $75, $100, $500, $ 1,000 or whatever you can afford to the McCarthy-Kennicott Community Church or MKCC to meet some of the family’s immediate needs.   

Make a notation on the check or money order that it is for the Pilgrim Fund. Mail to McCarthy-Kennicott Community Church, McCarthy #42, PO Box MXY, Glennallen, Alaska 99588. For more information, call Rick Kenyon, pastor (also the editor of the local Wrangell-St Elias News) at (907) 554-4454.

LEGAL FUND ----- The Pilgrim Family legal fight will help all Americans who want access to their parks and other conservation areas.  We have a number of lawyers who are helping out but there will be substantial basic costs and fees.  At least $10,000 is needed.

Please send your donations to the Pilgrim Family Legal Fund, American Land Rights, PO Box 400, Battle Ground, WA  98604.  Or you can mail them to the McCarthy-Kennicott Community Church as listed above.

Please make sure to call Gale Norton every day for a week.

And please forward this message as widely as you can.

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