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Panel to address land access issues in Alaska

Submitted by Doreen Fitzgerald
Phone: (907) 474-5042

02/09/05

A panel discussion on access rights through public and private lands is scheduled for Sunday Feb. 13 at 3 p.m. Sponsored by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Resource Management Society, the forum will feature representatives from local, state, and federal agencies, and the private sector. They will address current access issues in Alaska, the provisions of Revised Statute (RS) 2477, and how these affect Alaskans. The forum will take place on the UAF campus at Elvey Auditorium, which is in the Geophysical Institute's Elvey Building.

Panelists will include Dan Cheyette, attorney and board member for the Alaska Center for the Environment, Patrick Kalen, proprietor of Kalen and Associates Inc, Joe Sullivan, natural resource specialist for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Paul Costello, director of land management for the Fairbanks North Star Borough, and Steve Ulvi, assistant manager for the Yukon-Charley National Park.

RS 2477 is part of the federal Mining Act of 1866, which in part states, "The right-of-way for the construction of highways over public lands, not reserved for public uses, is hereby granted." This provided public right-of-way across unreserved federal land to guarantee access as land was transferred to state or private ownership. Rights-of-way were created and granted under RS 2477 until its repeal in 1976. In December 1968, federal land in Alaska was "reserved for public uses" with passage of PLO 4582, also known as the land freeze. This date ends in Alaska the window for RS 2477 qualification.

The Resources Management Society is a student organization sponsored by UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences. For more information, contact the society by e-mail at fbrms@uaf.edu or call the school at 474-5042.