Wrangell-St. Elias News

NPS Persecution of Local Landowners
 Alaska Land Rights Coalition  PRESS PHOTO>>  


START HERE:  Photo of Doug Frederick's trail protection demo that NPS insisted be called a "structure" or "bridge" for the purposes of inflaming the public and media against him and branding this upstanding citizen a criminal.  The NPS used the same methods against Joshua and Joseph Pilgrim!

Briefing paper    Maps:   General area    NPS Closure of Nabesna Area trails   

DRAMATIS PERSONAE - Who committed this outrage against Doug and Judy Frederick?  


3/4/04 Alaska Land Rights Coalition - COMMUNITY INTERVENES TO PAY FINE OF MAN PERSECUTED BY PARK SERVICE AT SLANA FOR TRAIL PROTECTION EXPERIMENT [Press Release] - Fairbanks – A petition addressed to Secretary of the Interior Gail Norton, was presented to her representative in Alaska, Cam Toohey at the annual meeting of the Alaska Outdoor Council at Pike's Waterfront Lodge.   

The petition "PROTESTS the outrageous criminalizing by the National Park Service and the federal courts of a public spirited man, Doug Frederick, of Slana, who was undertaking a volunteer trail improvement demonstration."  It continues,  "The National Park Service claims to be a good neighbor but its actions abusing this family speak louder than words.  "The $500 fine imposed by Magistrate John Roberts is not against Doug and Judy Frederick. IT IS AGAINST THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY and it is obviously intended to send a message that if anyone tries to protect the public's ANILCA rights, they will be punished by the system.

"THE COMMUNITY SENDS THIS MESSAGE BACK TO THE NPS:  What has been done is unjust, oppressive, not correct, not credible, and not honest. We have collected all of the fine money here tendered among us. We resolve that the Fredericks will pay none of it."



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Wrangell St. Elias News - Community intervenes to pay NPS fine
Is Wrangell St. Elias National Park endangered?  YES  NO 
Editorial Cartoon - Department of Injustice 
ROW Meeting -        NPS issues McCarthy Creek Access EA
Letters to the Editor
2/19/04 MARY PEMBERTON - Anchorage Daily News - Associated Press - Lodge owner welcomes battle with National Park Service - "I was working with the Park Service. Basically, they set me up," Frederick said. "Somebody has to expose the Park Service. These people are clear out of control." Frederick, 54, said his problems with the National Park Service show an increasingly hostile attitude the agency is taking toward private property owners inside the country's largest national park.  "The Park Service will do anything to get 'inholders' out," Frederick said. "They don't want anybody living in their park."  Despite what many inholders think, park superintendent Gary Candelaria, said the agency does not want to drive them out.  "It is not our intent to acquire the inholdings and move them out," he said. "None of us, from myself down to the ranger, we don't like adversarial relationships with our neighbors.  We're just folks, too."   ALRA Comment:  Yeah, but you have a big budget and dozens of lawyers!    

Frederick's attorney, Wayne Anthony Ross, said the pallets were no more construction than somebody setting up a tent. If the Park Service didn't like the pallets, all they had to do was to ask Frederick to remove them.  Ray Kreig, vice chairman of the Alaska Land Rights Coalition, a group that is fighting for inholders, said the Park Service is trying to undo rights guaranteed under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980.  Kreig said Alaska's national parks are increasingly being controlled by park supervisors with a Lower 48 park management mentality.  "They want a green wall around the park that nobody can go in unless they're healthy hikers," Kreig said. "Our parks were supposed to be different."   

OTHER OUTLETS:  San Francisco Chronicle (2/17)  ; Juneau Empire (2/17)Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (2/17)

2/8/04 Anchorage Daily News - Slana resident ordered to pay $500 for putting bridges on [deteriorating] park trail - was ordered to pay $500 for the misdemeanor.  Doug Frederick, who owns the Sportsman Paradise Lodge on Nabesna Road, said his case should never have gone to court and blamed it on an overzealous National Park Service, which issued the citation...residents including Frederick volunteered to help fix a trail damaged by ATV use after the Park Service held a meeting about the trail in July 2002.  [They] put together wooden pallets...on damaged parts of the trail as an example of possible solutions...But the Park Service considered the pallets illegal structures...Frederick and [his attorney Wayne] Ross said they plan to appeal the magistrate's ruling.
2/6/04 Federal District Court (Magistrate John Roberts) - Sentencing hearing - Wayne Ross (attorney for Doug Frederick):  In the old days we picked up hitchhikers because we looked out for folks ; we can't do so much any more because when we try to help people, sometimes we get mugged.  I see that situation here.  The NPS was duplicitous in this case.  Mr. Frederick, like picking up a hitchhiker, he got mugged.  I am taking the appeal of this case PRO BONO because...what the NPS has done is not correct, not credible, not honest.  MAGISTRATE ROBERTS ABSOLVES THE NPS OF ANY ROLE IN TONYA FREDERICK's DEATH  

REALITY:  Life in the bush is risky. The NPS has one effective pressure tactic in its tool box that it deploys with impunity against inholders.  It knows -- in the long run -- it can weaken its targets by taking actions that cause an increase in stress, accidents, financial losses and tragedies in the lives of people it wants off of private lands of interest to the park.

1/12/04  NICOLE TSONG - Anchorage Daily News - Judge upholds trail upgrades citation - UNAUTHORIZED: Slana man's attempt to bridge wet areas in national park may result in fine - Slana resident Doug Frederick thought putting down wooden pallets on a deteriorating trail in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park to keep it open was a sensible solution for him, other trail users and the National Park Service. The Park Service didn't agree [and] cited Frederick in June for putting bridges in the park without a permit...U.S. District Magistrate John Roberts sided with the government...Residents volunteered to help fix it...Frederick and some other residents put together wooden pallets around May to cover wet areas, as an example of possible solutions...the wooden pallets were not structures...rangers gave the impression that they wanted help fixing the trail...the Park Service said the judge reached the appropriate conclusion.

But Frederick...said he would have removed the pallets if asked.  "How the judge could even remotely think I was guilty is way beyond me," he said.  And the trial has been devastating to him personally. His 21-year-old daughter died in a car accident while returning his truck to him because he needed to get to Anchorage to deal with his court case.  "This has cost me everything I had," said Frederick, 54.

Jim Stratton, Alaska regional director for the National Parks Conservation Association, is sympathetic with Frederick's desire to have better access. The government works slowly, he said. But "it's a national park," he said. "We need to treat that land differently."

1/6/04 FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT DECISION - Magistrate John D. Roberts - Doug Frederick guilty of building "structures" in park!

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Wrangell St. Elias News - Kurt Stenehjem - Doug Frederick’s day in court

What cost “justice?” - The Park Service told Mr. Frederick that they did not have money for trail repair.  Actually, during the summer of 2002 the NPS Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program was the recipient of a $30,000 grant from the State Recreation Trail Grant program. Incredibly, they elected to spend the money on a trail 30 miles outside the park, on BLM land.  Yet the NPS had money to prosecute Mr. Frederick....So, over $40,000 dollars later, the trails are exactly as they were when this whole thing started. We now know the cost. On a cost-benefit analysis, what was the benefit?  Was it necessary for the Park Service to take this course to stop Mr. Frederick? We will never know because they tried no other means; no telephone call, no letter, no nothing. According to Mr. Frederick a phone call would have been plenty.

Is there a pattern? - Individuals like Mr. Frederick actually become tools in the hands of the Park Service. Regardless of how this trial turns out, whether he is found guilty or innocent, the Park Service wins. They have exerted tremendous pain and suffering on Doug and communicated loud and clear to all those watching that they are a force to be reckoned with. Every one on their team goes home, well paid, and never inconvenienced. Mr. Frederick however has suffered incalculable costs.

8/11/02 On Sunday morning, two Park Service rangers banged on Doug Frederick's Sportsmen's Paradise Lodge (a public place) stepped away and waited for him to come out. They said that they were delivering to him personally the notice that the trails were closed, The Notice of Route Closure is for 1,000 feet each side of these trails to All ORV/ATV users, including both Subsistence and Recreational Users. Frederick stated that he needed to get supplies to his caretaker at his Copper Lake inholding.  The rangers told him that he would have to find a different way. Frederick stated that there is no other route and that he has been going that way for 35/40 years, first with track rig and now ATV. They told him they would issue citations if he used these trails.
8/8/02 Gary Candelaria and Hunter Sharp contact Doug Frederick to meet with them at the Slana ranger station. Ole Bates and Thumper Williamson come with Doug. When the three showed up, Candelaria and Sharp would not let Ole or Thumper into the meeting.
7/24/02 National Park Service holds meeting (with very little notice) about what to do about the trail. Eighty-five people showed up and recommended that the Park Service shut down the impassable original trail and work on the higher ground trail. Also included is a trail that extends from Doug Frederick's Sportsmen's Paradise Lodge on the Nabesna Road to Jack Lake that people have been using since the late 30's. The Park Service never designated this trail because the trail head originates on Frederick's private property but nevertheless told users that since Frederick's Lodge was a public accommodation that the users could go through the Frederick property to access Jack Lake.  The Fredericks had no objection to that.  

See article:  Rick Kenyon - Nabesna ATV trails closed - Wrangell St. Elias News - NPS accused of pandering, harassment - The NPS had announced that several ATV trails in the area were causing ecological damage to the parklands, and they were considering closing these trails. Trail users said the trails had been used for years, long before the area became a national park, so instead of closing them, how about we just fix them up a bit?...Although many people at the Slana meeting testified against the trail closures, and no one spoke in favor of them, it seemed to have little effect on the outcome. According to those present, anger and dismay grew more evident as the evening progressed. Most people called for increased access into the Park, not less, lamenting that in the 13 million acre park there is very little road access. Many accused the NPS of pandering to outside interests instead of listening to the local subsistence users.   

Frederick and [former State Legislator Dick] Shultz tried to partnership with the NPS. They proposed that the NPS provide materials to stabilize some of the trails, and that locals would volunteer their time for the improvements. Sorry, said Chief Ranger Hunter Sharp, no money in the budget for that sort of thing.

Chief Ranger Hunter Sharp threatens Doug Frederick :  

Sharp:  Mr Frederick, you scare me
Frederick:  Why is that?
Sharp:  You want development, we can't have development. Our job is to protect the park.
Frederick:  I agree but your job is also to make the park accessible for the enjoyment of the public. I think that people should be able to come here and see and enjoy the park.
Sharp:  That's where you're wrong, my job is to protect the park and if I have to I'll fence it off. You and I are going to push and shove, but I've got a bigger push than you do.  (conversation reported by Doug Frederick to have taken place at this meeting)

early 8/01 NPS Rangers Marshall Neeck and Hunter Sharp meet with Doug Frederick about the trail. It was discussed to have a better trail to Tanada Lake. They asked if Frederick would go with them and look at a better trail. He agreed and we went out in early Oct. He asked them for supplies to place on the places where it could turn into a bog hole. Ranger Neeck said that he would get back with Frederick which he never did.
7/7/01 Frederick reports that on this day that his father passed away, he was over at Copper Lake with his wife, a Doyon shareholder, and a couple friends.  The Park Service followed them with an airplane for the whole 5 hour trip coming out. Frederick says the other trails in this area are being tore up because the National Park Service will not let us fix them and they will not consult the people that use these trails. He feels the Park Service is trying to force him into becoming a so-called "willing seller". He says they are only shutting down trails (in good condition) that affect him and not the trails heavily used by others that are being badly torn up.  Frederick insists he is not a "willing seller". This is where he and Judy want to live!
1988 Runway washed out at Richard Frederick's Copper Lake inholding.  NPS refused to allow repairs. 
1967 Doug Frederick helped his folks build the Sportsman's Paradise Lodge on the Nabesna Road.  It opened in 1969.
1950's Fredrick family begins to use an overland route to haul freight, supplies and materials to Copper Lake. In the late 60's started using a route that went around Tanada Lake and over to Copper Lake.  
1949 Doug Frederick first comes to the area.
Late 1940's The trail that goes to Tanada Lake was built by track rigs. This is now (in 2004) the designated Park trail. This trail is in the swamp and is impassable.  The Fredericks have been using the high ground all these years.  In 2002 several subsistence users started using this higher trail to access Tanada and Copper Lakes.

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