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Alaska Department of Natural Resources
Division of Mining, Land and Water

Copper River Basin Area Plan

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The Department of Natural Resources is restarting the process to revise the 1986 Copper River Basin Area Plan. The last scoping phase for the Copper River Basin Area Plan concluded on April 29, 2016, with a total of 86 comments received. Various issues were raised, and the public's response was robust. A discussion of these comments can be found in the Planning Update #2. Given the responses and the length of time since the last round of public meetings in 2018, the Department is going to conduct another round of scoping and public outreach.


The Copper River Basin planning area, 15.9 million acres of land, is located in the eastern portion of southcentral Alaska. It is comprised mostly of rugged and mountainous landscape with large glaciers, wild and scenic rivers, and expansive boreal forests. The majority of this land is under federal ownership and is managed by the National Park Service or Bureau of Land Management. It hosts robust populations of caribou, Dall sheep, mountain goat, moose, bear and various fur-bearing mammals. The Copper River and its tributaries are natal waters for one of the world's most productive salmon fisheries. Evidence of human habitation of this area has been determined to be several thousand years old and is still home to many native Alaskans. This area contains several mining districts, some dating back to the 19th century when prospectors first discovered rich gold, silver, copper and lead deposits. A portion of the Trans Alaska Pipeline runs through the planning area before reaching its terminus in Valdez, just southeast of the plan boundary.

The Copper River Basin Area Plan (CRBAP) addresses the management of approximately 3.3 million acres of state lands. Native corporations within the planning area are entitled to approximately 1.8 million acres of land. Numerous small tracts of privately owned land, particularly near Glennallen, Copper Center, and Kenny Lake, exist within the area, and the University of Alaska also manages several small tracts of land near Glennallen and McCarthy.

A robust public involvement process will be employed to seek input from the public, regional and local Alaska Native corporations, industry representatives, and other stakeholders. The plan will increase permitting efficiency and predictability for the public.

Public Involvement

Scoping meetings related to this planning process are scheduled in the communities listed below. Members of the public are invited to attend all meetings, even if they do not live in the community where the meeting is scheduled.


Communities Date Time Meeting Place
Glennallen, Tazlina, Tolsona, Mendeltna, Gakona, Gulkana, Copper Center June 21st 5:30-7:30pm Glennallen High School Multipurpose Room
Valdez June 22nd 5:30-7:30pm Prince William Sound Community College Atrium
Kenny Lake, Tonsina, and Willow Creek June 23rd Noon-2:00pm Kenny Lake Community Hall
Chitina, McCarthy June 23rd 3:30-5:30pm Chitina Village Hall
Mentasta Lake, Slana, and Nabesna June 24th 10:00am-12:00pm Mentasta Lake Community Recreation Center
Anchorage rescheduled - see below June 29th 5:30pm-7:30pm Atwood Building Conference Room 106 - William Egan Room
Anchorage July 6th Noon-2:00pm Robert B. Atwood Building, Room 102
July 6th 5:30pm to 7:30pm Microsoft Teams meeting: Join or call +1 907-202-7104, Conference ID: 137 282 2#
Anchorage July 8th 5:30-7:30pm Robert B. Atwood Building, Room 102

The purpose of the meeting will be to:

  • Get input from local users about the area
  • Inform the public on the planning process, schedule, and scope of the plan
  • Provide basic background information on the planning area
  • Provide information on how to meaningfully participate in the planning process

A public comment period associated with the initial scoping process is open from June 7, 2021 through September 8, 2021.

Comments may be submitted via email to or though the online comment form.

Letter to Alaskans PDF Make Your Comments Count PDF Map of Planning Area PDF Planning Update No. 2 (2017) PDF Public Scoping Comments (2016) PDF Planning Update No. 1 (2016) PDF 1986 Copper River Basin Area Plan

Why Plan for Public Land?

The Copper River Basin is rich in natural resources, and there are many different ideas as to how these natural resources should be used. Although some uses are in direct conflict with each other, different uses can occur on the same piece of land provided the uses are properly managed.

The planning process provides a means for openly reviewing all resource information and public concerns before long-range decisions are made on state land-use issues. The planning process also resolves conflicting ideas on land use and lets the public know what choices were made and why.

Preparation of land use plans for state lands is required under Title 38 of the Alaska Statutes. State agencies that are responsible for implementing the plan use a variety of methods such as permits, leases, land sales, or negotiated agreements with adjacent landowners to manage the land and its resources. Actions of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be based on the approved area plan.

This final plan describes the intended uses of state lands. The plan contains recommendations on which tracts of land should be retained by the state, sold to private citizens, or exchanged for other tracts of land. In addition, the plan includes a process to identify how the plan will be revised and updated. Maps and legal descriptions are used to clarify the plan.

Planning Process

The planning process is designed to ensure full participation by the public and government agencies, to provide opportunities for review and revision of the plan, and to include consideration of a wide variety of ideas. The outline of the planning process is provided below.

STEP 1 - Identify Issues Current Process

Hold public meetings to identify issues and concerns in the planning area.

STEP 2 - Gather Information - Occurs Throughout Process

Collect information about natural resources, present and past land use, land ownership, and the local economy. A great deal of this is done in the beginning, but it occurs throughout the planning process.

STEP 3 - Prepare and Evaluate Land Use Alternative

Describe possible choices for managing state land based on public interests, local resources, and state policies. Describe the effects of each choice on goals for the management of an area.

STEP 4 - Prepare Draft Plan

Create a draft plan that reflects resource values and public and agency goals. The agencies review the first draft and settle any land use conflicts that remain or propose the best alternatives for public review.

STEP 5 - Public Review of Draft Plan

Hold public meetings to provide the public an opportunity to comment on the draft plan and to identify parts that need to be changed.

STEP 6 - Prepare Final Plan

Review agency and public comments and revise the plan. Prepare the plan for publication.

STEP 7 - Approve Plan

The Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources approves and signs the plan.

STEP 8 - Implement Plan

The plan guides management decisions for state lands in the planning area.

1986 Copper River Basin Area Plan

The first link is for the entire document, which is quite large and may take considerable time to download on certain internet connections. The other links will take you to specific sections or pages for faster downloads.

PDF File of Entire Plan (45 MB) PDF

Chapter 1. Introduction PDF
Includes: Summary of Purpose, How this Document is Organized, Description of Planning Area, Why Plan for Public Land, Planning Process and Management Structure, Summary of Plan Implementation, Summary of Process for Modifying the Plan

Chapter 2. Areawide Land Management Policies

Chapter 3. Land Management Policies for each Management Unit

Chapter 4. Implementation PDF
Includes: Introduction, Proposed Selections, Relinquishments and Exchanges, Land Use Classifications, Management Plan Priorities, Recommendations for Legislative Designations, Procedures for Plan Modification and Amendment


  1. Explanation of Resource Policies in the Plan PDF
  2. Glossary PDF
  3. Publications Related to the Area Plan (References) PDF
  4. Trails PDF
  5. Summary Brochure of the Plan PDF
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