State of Minn. by Alexander v. Block, Nos. 80-1769

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore LAY, Chief Judge, and BRIGHT and STEPHENSON; BRIGHT
Citation660 F.2d 1240
Docket Number80-1784,Nos. 80-1769,81-1169,80-1872,80-1815,81-1166,80-1860,81-1175 and 81-1168,81-1167
Decision Date30 September 1981
Parties, 11 Envtl. L. Rep. 21,033 STATE OF MINNESOTA By Joseph N. ALEXANDER, its Commissioner of Natural Resources, Appellant, and Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association, Inc., et al., Intervenors- Appellants, v. John R. BLOCK, * individually and as Secretary of Agriculture of the United States, Appellee, and Sierra Club, et al., Intervenors-Appellees. NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PROPERTY OWNERS, et al., Appellants, and State of Minnesota, by Joseph N. Alexander, its Commissioner of Natural Resources, Intervenor-Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America; and John R. Block, * Secretary of Agriculture, individually and in his official capacity, Appellees, and Sierra Club, et al., Intervenors-Appellees. NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PROPERTY OWNERS; Ely-Winton Boundary Waters Conservation Alliance; Range Actioneers, Inc.; Crane Lake Sportsmen's Club; and City of Winton, Appellants, v. John R. BLOCK,* individually and in his official capacity as Secretary of Agriculture; and R. Max Peterson, individually and in his official capacity as Chief of the United States Forest Service, Appellees, and Sierra Club, et al., Intervenors-Appellees.

Page 1240

660 F.2d 1240
16 ERC 2199, 11 Envtl. L. Rep. 21,033
STATE OF MINNESOTA By Joseph N. ALEXANDER, its Commissioner
of Natural Resources, Appellant,
and
Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association, Inc., et al.,
Intervenors- Appellants,
v.
John R. BLOCK, * individually and as Secretary of
Agriculture of the United States, Appellee,
and
Sierra Club, et al., Intervenors-Appellees.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PROPERTY OWNERS, et al., Appellants,
and
State of Minnesota, by Joseph N. Alexander, its Commissioner
of Natural Resources, Intervenor-Appellant,
v.
UNITED STATES of America; and John R. Block, * Secretary of
Agriculture, individually and in his official
capacity, Appellees,
and
Sierra Club, et al., Intervenors-Appellees.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PROPERTY OWNERS; Ely-Winton Boundary
Waters Conservation Alliance; Range Actioneers,
Inc.; Crane Lake Sportsmen's Club; and
City of Winton, Appellants,
v.
John R. BLOCK,* individually and in his official capacity as
Secretary of Agriculture; and R. Max Peterson, individually
and in his official capacity as Chief of the United States
Forest Service, Appellees,
and
Sierra Club, et al., Intervenors-Appellees.
Nos. 80-1769, 80-1784, 80-1815, 80-1860, 80-1872, 81-1166,
81-1167, 81-1169, 81-1175 and 81-1168.
United States Court of Appeals,
Eighth Circuit.
Submitted June 18, 1981.
Decided Sept. 30, 1981.

Page 1243

Warren Spannaus, Atty. Gen. of Minn., C. Paul Faraci, Deputy Atty. Gen., Philip J. Olfelt, Asst. Atty. Gen., St. Paul, Minn., Wayne H. Olson, Sp. Counsel, argued, Minneapolis, Minn., for State of Minn.

Brian B. O'Neill, argued, Faegre & Benson, Dayton, Herman, Graham & Getts, Minneapolis, Minn., for Sierra Club et al.

Sanford Sagalkin, Acting Asst. Atty. Gen., Washington, D. C., Thomas K. Berg,

Page 1244

U. S. Atty., Francis X. Hermann, Asst. U. S. Atty., Minneapolis, Minn., Edward J. Shawaker, James T. Draude, argued, Attys., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C., for appellee; James P. Perry, Dept. of Agriculture, Washington, D. C., James Pfeil, Dept. of Agriculture, Milwaukee, Wis., of counsel.

Dorsey, Windhorst, Hannaford, Whitney & Halladay, Edward J. Schwartzbauer, Eugene L. Johnson, Thomas E. Popovich, Minneapolis, Minn., for Lac La Croix Indian Band and Campbell's Cabins and Trading Post, Ltd.

Ben A. Wallis, San Antonio, Tex., Keith M. Brownell, Duluth, Minn., for National Ass'n of Property Owners.

Before LAY, Chief Judge, and BRIGHT and STEPHENSON, Circuit Judges.

BRIGHT, Circuit Judge.

These appeals arise from three consolidated cases involving multiple challenges to provisions of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act of 1978, Pub.L.No. 95-495, 92 Stat. 1649 (BWCAW Act or the Act). On cross motions for summary judgment, the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota upheld all portions of the Act. 1 National Association of Property Owners v. United States, 499 F.Supp. 1223 (D.Minn.1980). In this opinion, we will consider separately two groups of appeals. In Case No. 1, appellants allege that Congress unconstitutionally applied federal controls on the use of motorboats and snowmobiles to land and waters not owned by the United States. In Case No. 2, appellants assert that certain provisions of the legislation violate the Constitution and conflict with preexisting treaties and statutes.

Case No. 1

The State of Minnesota, joined by the National Association of Property Owners (NAPO) and numerous individuals, businesses, and organizations, 2 brought suit against the United States, challenging the constitutionality of the BWCAW Act as applied to lands and waters that the federal government does not own. A group of organizations concerned with the environmental and wilderness aspects of the boundary waters intervened in support of the United States. 3

The challenged portion of the statute, 4 section 4, prohibits the use of motorboats in the BWCAW in all but a small number of lakes. The Act also limits snowmobiles to two routes. The United States owns ninety percent of the land within the borders of the BWCAW area. The State of Minnesota, in addition to owning most of the remaining ten percent of the land, owns the beds of all the lakes and rivers within the BWCAW.

Appellants assert that Congress had no power to enact the motor vehicle restriction as applied to nonfederal lands and waters. We reject this contention and conclude that Congress, in passing this legislation, acted within its authority under the property clause of the United States Constitution and that such action did not contravene the tenth amendment of the Constitution. Accordingly, we affirm.

Page 1245

I. Background.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), a part of the Superior National Forest, consists of approximately 1,075,000 acres of land and waterways along the Minnesota-Canadian border. A sponsor of this legislation described the area in introducing the BWCAW Act on the House floor:

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area is the largest wilderness area east of the Rocky Mountains and the second largest in our wilderness system. It is our Nation's only lakeland canoe wilderness a network of more than 1,000 lakes linked by hundreds of miles of streams and short portages which served as the highway of fur traders who followed water routes pioneered by Sioux and Chippewa Indians. Despite extensive logging, the BWCA still contains 540,000 acres of virgin forests, by far the largest such area in the eastern United States.

This last remnant of the old "north-woods" is remarkable not only for its lakes and virgin forests, but also for its wildlife. * * * (M)any western wilderness areas lack such complete food chains. This natural ecosystem is a valuable educational and scientific resource; it has been the focal point of important research in wildlife behavior, forest ecology, nutrient cycles, lake systems, and vegetation history.

The BWCA is complemented on the Canadian side of our border by the Quetico Provincial Park of Ontario where commercial logging and nearly all motorized recreational activity are prohibited. Together, these areas encompass an area the size of Yellowstone National Park and constitute one of the finest wilderness areas on our continent. Not surprisingly, the BWCA is the most heavily used unit in the national wilderness system, drawing people from throughout the country who seek the solitude of a wilderness experience. (123 Cong.Rec. H621-22 (daily ed. Jan. 31, 1977), reprinted in Legislative History of the Boundary Waters Act of 1978, at 1-2.)

Beginning with the federal government's first reservation of forest land in 1902, 5 up to the present, both the United States and the State of Minnesota have sought to protect the boundary waters area. 6 Increasingly through the century, the governments have sought to preserve the primitive character of the area. 7 These efforts resulted in the designation of the boundary waters as part of the national wilderness system established under the Wilderness Act of 1964, as amended, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1131-36 (1976).

The Wilderness Act of 1964 prohibited use of motorized vehicles in any national wilderness area. That Act, however, provided a specific exception for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area:

Page 1246

Other provisions of this chapter to the contrary notwithstanding, the management of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area * * * shall be in accordance with regulations established by the Secretary of Agriculture in accordance with the general purpose of maintaining, without unnecessary restrictions on other uses, including that of timber, the primitive character of the area, particularly in the vicinity of lakes, streams, and portages: Provided, That nothing in this chapter shall preclude the continuance within the area of any already established use of motorboats. (16 U.S.C. § 1133(d)(5) (1976).) 8

In response to the confusion and litigation generated by the proviso, as well as in reaction to threatened deterioration of the wilderness from excessive use, Congress enacted the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act of 1978. At issue here are portions of section 4 of the Act, the provision barring the use of motorized craft in all but designated portions of the wilderness. 9 Section 4(c) limits motorboat use to

Page 1247

designated lakes and rivers, allowing a maximum of either ten or twenty-five horsepower motors on these waters. Section 4(e) permits certain limited mechanized portages. Section 4(e) restricts the use of snowmobiles to two designated trails. 10 With these exceptions, the Act as construed by the federal government and by the district court, prohibits all other motorized transportation on land and water falling within the external boundaries of the wilderness area. 11

The boundaries of the BWCAW circumscribe a total surface area of approximately 1,080,300 acres 920,000 acres of land and 160,000 of water. The United States owns approximately 792,000 acres of land surface, while the State of Minnesota owns approximately 121,000 acres of land, 12 in addition to the beds under the 160,000 acres of navigable water. See National Association of Property Owners v. United States, supra, 499 F.Supp. at 1253. Congress recognized that Minnesota would retain jurisdiction over the waters, but provided that the State could not regulate in a manner less stringent than that mandated by the Act. 13

Page 1248

Minnesota brought this action 14 against the United States on December 27, 1979, challenging the application of section 4 to land and waterways under state jurisdiction that fall within the boundaries of the BWCAW. The district court rejected the State's claim, holding that section 4, as applied to nonfederal property, constituted a valid exercise of Congress' legislative power under the property clause of the United States Constitution. National Association of Property Owners v. United States, supra. 499 F.Supp. at 1261.

On appeal, Minnesota and the intervening plaintiffs renew their...

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41 practice notes
  • Friends of Boundary Waters Wilderness v. Dombeck, Nos. 97-3282
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 7 Enero 1999
    ...is a heavily visited wilderness area, though motorized vehicle use is severely restricted. See State of Minnesota By Alexander v. Block, 660 F.2d 1240, 1245 (8th Cir.1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 1007, 102 S.Ct. 1645, 71 L.Ed.2d 876 (1982). The Wilderness Act of 1964 generally prohibits the......
  • Isle Royale Boaters Ass'n v. Norton, No. 2:99-CV-152.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • 6 Junio 2001
    ...and without discrimination to the inhabitants, ships, vessels, and boats of both countries. 36 Stat. 2448. See also Minnesota v. Block, 660 F.2d 1240, 1257 (8th Cir.1981) (quoting treaty F. National Environmental Policy Act The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 requires that agencie......
  • Manufactured Housing Communities v. State, No. 66831-1.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • 9 Noviembre 2000
    ...other jurisdictions are in accord with this position, many in the context of rejecting a takings challenge. See, e.g., State v. Block, 660 F.2d 1240, 1256 (8th Cir.1981) (state statute granting federal government right of first refusal not a taking even if some diminution in value results);......
  • Olmsted Citizens for a Better Community v. United States, Civ. No. 4-84-492.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Minnesota
    • 20 Marzo 1985
    ...added to minimize the changes.8 See National Ass'n of Property Owners v. United States, 499 F.Supp. 1223, 1226 n. 28 (D.Minn.1980), aff'd 660 F.2d 1240, cert. denied, 455 U.S. 1007, 102 S.Ct. 1645, 71 L.Ed.2d 876 Plaintiffs do claim that the discussion of safety and local land uses is inade......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
41 cases
  • Friends of Boundary Waters Wilderness v. Dombeck, Nos. 97-3282
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 7 Enero 1999
    ...is a heavily visited wilderness area, though motorized vehicle use is severely restricted. See State of Minnesota By Alexander v. Block, 660 F.2d 1240, 1245 (8th Cir.1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 1007, 102 S.Ct. 1645, 71 L.Ed.2d 876 (1982). The Wilderness Act of 1964 generally prohibits the......
  • Isle Royale Boaters Ass'n v. Norton, No. 2:99-CV-152.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • 6 Junio 2001
    ...and without discrimination to the inhabitants, ships, vessels, and boats of both countries. 36 Stat. 2448. See also Minnesota v. Block, 660 F.2d 1240, 1257 (8th Cir.1981) (quoting treaty F. National Environmental Policy Act The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 requires that agencie......
  • Manufactured Housing Communities v. State, No. 66831-1.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • 9 Noviembre 2000
    ...other jurisdictions are in accord with this position, many in the context of rejecting a takings challenge. See, e.g., State v. Block, 660 F.2d 1240, 1256 (8th Cir.1981) (state statute granting federal government right of first refusal not a taking even if some diminution in value results);......
  • Olmsted Citizens for a Better Community v. United States, Civ. No. 4-84-492.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Minnesota
    • 20 Marzo 1985
    ...added to minimize the changes.8 See National Ass'n of Property Owners v. United States, 499 F.Supp. 1223, 1226 n. 28 (D.Minn.1980), aff'd 660 F.2d 1240, cert. denied, 455 U.S. 1007, 102 S.Ct. 1645, 71 L.Ed.2d 876 Plaintiffs do claim that the discussion of safety and local land uses is inade......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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