Photo by National Park Service. Retrieved from Alaska Public Media, "Denali wolf sightings hit record low," 5/4/2020.

The Denali Wolf and the Property Clause

Wild horses have been protected in the United States since 1971 when Congress enacted the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The act was passed as a result of a national letter-writing campaign. The act may not be constitutional in all its applications because of limits to Congress’s extraterritorial power under the Property Clause. Another talked about animal many believe in need of protection is the Denali wolf. A trap can capture a wolf the minute it steps out of Denali National Park and Preserve. There has not yet been an effective campaign to Congress about the Denali wolf; but if there were, and if Congress enacted a statute protecting the Denali wolf outside the park, would the statute be constitutional? This article examines the extraterritorial reach of the Property Clause, including by means of the hypothetical Denali Wolf Protection Act, and suggests the hypothetical act could be written to be constitutional. 

Start Here: Introduction