In 2005, I had the good fortune of visiting Alaska to present oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. My case concerned whether the U.S. National Park Service (Park Service) could require a family living on an inholding in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve to obtain a permit before clearing an old road through the park. After the argument, I spent five days backpacking in the shadow of the Alaska Range, wondering, as any lawyer would, whether I would win my case. I did, but more lasting than my victory was the indelible feeling that trip left me with: that Alaska is in all respects sui generis.
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