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Canoeists Lose Claim Over Management of Allagash

(CN) - The federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act does not contain any language suggesting that it pre-empts state legislation, a federal appeals court in Boston ruled.

Two avid canoeists in Maine sued the director of the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, claiming the state statute, which governs the management of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, destroys the "wild" character of the waterway. The canoeists said the Maine statute is pre-empted by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act based on its conflict with the goals of the federal law.

The 1st Circuit affirmed dismissal of the case, ruling that the federal law embraces flexibility in management of the waterways.

Language in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act allows individual states to determine how to best accomplish the goals established in the federal law, the court ruled, adding that the canoeists merely disagree with the state over how to administer the waterway.

"That sort of disagreement does not give rise to a viable claim of pre-emption," Judge Lynch wrote.

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