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Airpark community fights railroad corporation over land dispute

Residents of Flying Crown Airpark, located just south of Anchorage, Alaska, are battling a lawsuit over property rights. Photo by Barry Byne.

Since its founding in the early 1950s, Flying Crown Airpark, just south of Anchorage, has been a dream community for pilots and aviation lovers. Nestled adjacent to a railroad track, residents of the airpark can land and park in their backyards. A longstanding land dispute between the airpark’s homeowners association and the railroad is taking a new turn. Its residents are being sued by the Alaska Railroad Corp. (ARRC) in a quiet title action.

If ARRC prevails in its lawsuit, it would have exclusive control over the property and long-term viability of the airstrip. It would also set a precedent for other rights of way on other railroad properties across the state, and negatively impact thousands of recreational users of Alaska’s great outdoors.

Property owners say they were never notified of any changes in their ownership interest, depriving them of due process under the law. ARRC is a legacy corporation with substantial funds and minimal oversight that is now taking on a small private airpark community.

Despite the uphill battle, Flying Crown residents are fighting back. According to the homeowners, “If the lawsuit is won by the railroad because no one defends this assault on the rights of Alaskans, we will all suffer from this new and uncontrolled taxing authority.”

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