SOP, Inc. v. State, Department of Natural Resources

[INSURANCE LAW]

In SOP, Inc. v. State, Dep’t of Natural Resources,[1] the supreme court held that a state park issuing special use permits not revocable at will create unconstitutional easements over public land.[2] The Nancy Lake State Recreation Area (the “Park”) granted numerous special use permits that allowed private land owners to use ATVs on Park trails to access their remote properties.[3] As these properties became more populated, ATV usage rose considerably, damaging the wildlife and vegetation surrounding the trails.[4] SOP, Inc. sued to enjoin the Park from issuing these special use permits.[5] On appeal, the Park argued that the permits were mere licenses within the scope of the Park’s authority to grant.[6] The supreme court reversed the lower court’s decision, reasoning that the permits constituted appurtenant easements because the permits were revocable only for cause and every remote private property owner who applied received a permit on the basis of owning property in that area.[7] The court further reasoned that, as easements, the permits constituted an impermissible, unconstitutional disposal of state park land.[8] Reversing the lower court’s decision, the supreme court held that a state park issuing special use permits not revocable at will create unconstitutional easements over public land.[9]

 



[1] 310 P.3d 962 (Alaska 2013).

[2] Id. at 964.

[3] Id. at 963.

[4] Id. at 964.

[5] Id. at 966.

[6] Id. at 967.

[7] Id. at 967–69.

[8] Id. at 969.

[9] Id.

SOP, Inc. v. State, Department of Natural Resources

[INSURANCE LAW]

In SOP, Inc. v. State, Dep’t of Natural Resources,[1] the supreme court held that a state park issuing special use permits not revocable at will create unconstitutional easements over public land.[2] The Nancy Lake State Recreation Area (the “Park”) granted numerous special use permits that allowed private land owners to use ATVs on Park trails to access their remote properties.[3] As these properties became more populated, ATV usage rose considerably, damaging the wildlife and vegetation surrounding the trails.[4] SOP, Inc. sued to enjoin the Park from issuing these special use permits.[5] On appeal, the Park argued that the permits were mere licenses within the scope of the Park’s authority to grant.[6] The supreme court reversed the lower court’s decision, reasoning that the permits constituted appurtenant easements because the permits were revocable only for cause and every remote private property owner who applied received a permit on the basis of owning property in that area.[7] The court further reasoned that, as easements, the permits constituted an impermissible, unconstitutional disposal of state park land.[8] Reversing the lower court’s decision, the supreme court held that a state park issuing special use permits not revocable at will create unconstitutional easements over public land.[9]

 



[1] 310 P.3d 962 (Alaska 2013).

[2] Id. at 964.

[3] Id. at 963.

[4] Id. at 964.

[5] Id. at 966.

[6] Id. at 967.

[7] Id. at 967–69.

[8] Id. at 969.

[9] Id.