Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 18,400+ case briefs...

The Wilderness Society v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
353 F.3d 1051, en banc (9th Cir. 2003)


The purpose of the Wilderness Act (Act), 16 U.S.C. §§ 1131 et seq., was to preserve and protect wilderness lands in their natural state. In accordance with this purpose, § 4(c) of the Act prohibited commercial enterprise within any wilderness area. Although the Act did not define “commercial enterprise,” it listed exceptions to the prohibition. Commercial-fishing activities were not included in this list of exceptions. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) conducted a salmon-hatchery project in Tustumena Lake, located in the Kenai Wilderness (wilderness area) and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, to research salmon reproduction. In 1993, the ADFG contracted with the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association (CIAA) to run the ADFG’s hatchery programs. The CIAA was a non-profit corporation that received funding from the commercial salmon industry and the production of hatchery-raised salmon. In 1997, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) (defendant) issued a permit to the CIAA for the Enhancement Project (project), which involved catching salmon outside the wilderness area, hatching eggs, and releasing salmon into the wilderness area. The FWS determined that the Act was a legislative compromise that did not reflect absolute preservationist values, and that the project was therefore consistent with the Act. The Wilderness Society and others (plaintiffs) challenged the FWS’s permit in district court, claiming that the permit violated the Act. The district court found that the project was not a commercial enterprise, based in part on the FWS’s environmental assessment finding that (1) the project had a benign impact on the wilderness area, (2) the CIAA was a non-profit entity, (3) the State of Alaska (state) heavily regulated the project, and (4) fishermen were catching the salmon outside the wilderness area. The plaintiffs appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Gould, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 497,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 497,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 18,400 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial