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State ANILCA Coordination

What is ANILCA?

In 1980, Congress passed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) establishing more than 100 million acres of federal land in Alaska as new or expanded conservation system units (CSUs). The ANILCA compromise challenges federal land managers to balance the national interest in Alaska's scenic and wildlife resources with recognition of Alaska's fledgling economy and infrastructure, and its distinctive rural way of life. Public Law 96-487

Various provisions of ANILCA have been amended since 1980. See a compilation of amendments and other Congressional actions affecting ANILCA, current to February 2020.

What are CSUs?

The term conservation system unit (CSU) means any unit in Alaska of the National Park System, National Wildlife Refuge System, National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, National Trails System, National Wilderness Preservation System, or a National Forest Monument, including additions and expansions to these systems in the future (see Section 102(4) of ANILCA).

CSUs managed by the National Park Service in Alaska include 15 national parks, preserves, and monuments.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages Alaska's 16 national wildlife refuges.  Two national monuments within the Tongass National Forest are managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Portions of many of the above CSUs are also designated Wilderness; and 24 rivers both within and outside existing CSUs have been designated as National Wild and Scenic Rivers.  In addition, the Bureau of Land Management manages 2 national conservation and recreation areas that, while not CSUs, are subject to many of the same ANILCA provisions.

ANILCA Implementation: Why Do We Care?

Over 100 specific provisions of ANILCA require some form of federal agency consultation with the State of Alaska.  In addition numerous other federal laws, regulations and policies require state consultation. ANILCA issues closely monitored by the State of Alaska include continued public access for traditional activities; guaranteed access to inholdings; transportation and utility corridors; access for subsistence; and recognition of state authorities concerning fish, wildlife, navigable waterways, tidelands, and submerged lands. The State also encourages federal agencies to consider statewide and regional opportunities during recreation and tourism planning, and sometimes enters into cooperative forums to accomplish this task. While each new state administration identifies priority issues, the State's inherent interests and organizational procedures remain relatively consistent.

Successful consultation with the State involves: 1) early communication when issues first arise, 2) consultation and cooperation concerning identification of data needs, if any, and subsequent research methodology, 3) consideration of state and other non-federal management tools if a management response appears to be necessary, and 4) internal state review of draft federal proposals that address or affect state management authorities and jurisdictions.