Alaska Land Use Permit (3-AK-e)
Note: the land use permit applies to land access, not development. A land use permit is not required for activities conducted under a valid state geothermal lease or prospecting permit. Such activities are regulated under the provision of the lease and plans of operation/development/exploration for each specific parcel. Additionally, a land use permit can be issued without a finding that it is in the best interest of the state. Alaska Statutes 38.05.035(e).
Land Use Permit Process
3-AK-e.1 – Is the Proposed Activity a Generally Allowed Use?
11 AAC 96.020 identifies uses and activities that are generally allowed on state lands managed by the Alaska Division of Mining Land and Water (ML&W) without a permit. Some generally allowed uses include using a highway or recreational vehicle on or off an established road easement, brushing or cutting a survey line less than five feet wide using only hand-held tools (such as a chainsaw), or setting a survey marker.
Note: ML&W’s list of “generally allowed uses” does not apply to state parks or to land owned or managed by other state agencies such as the University of Alaska, Alaska Mental Health Trust, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, or the Alaska Railroad. Fact Sheet – Generally Allowed Uses on State Land.
3-AK-e.2 to 3-AK-e.4 - Is the Proposed Activity Located on Special Use Land?
The ML&W designates “special use lands” for the protection of scenic, historic, archaeological, scientific, biological, recreational, or other special resource values warranting additional protections or other special requirements. Special use land designations originate from an area or management plan, or are made at the director's discretion to address a certain need. The ML&W may require a developer to obtain a permit for activities on “special use lands” that would otherwise be generally permitted.
For more information about sites and areas of state land designated by ML&W as special use land, visit the ML&W ADNR ML&W Special Use Lands Designation webpage page.
3-AK-e.5 - Is the Proposed Activity a Use Requiring a Permit Under 11 AAC 96.010?
A developer must obtain a land use permit or written authorization from ML&W prior to conducting any of the following activities on Alaska state lands:
- The use of explosives and explosive devices, except firearms;
- Uses that are not listed in 11 AAC 96.020 as generally allowed uses;
- The use of hydraulic prospecting or mining equipment methods;
- Drilling to a depth in excess of 300 feet, including exploratory drilling or stratigraphic test wells on state land not under oil or gas lease;
- Geophysical exploration for minerals subject to lease or an oil and gas exploration license under Alaska Statutes 38.05.131 - 38.05.181;
- A commercial recreation camp or facility, whether occupied or unoccupied, that remains overnight; or
- An event or assembly of more than 50 persons; or
- An activity on land subject to a mineral or land estate property interest by a person other than the holder of a property interest, or the holder's authorized representative, if the parties cannot agree on what constitutes reasonable concurrent use.
3-AK-e.6 - Land Use Permit Application
In order to obtain a land use permit, the developer must submit a Land Use Permit Application Package to the appropriate regional ML&W office. A complete land use application package must include the following:
- A land use permit application form, completed and signed by the developer;
- A description of the proposed activity, any associated structures, and the type of equipment that will be used;
- A topographic map of sufficient scale to show the location of the proposed activity and routes of travel for all equipment for which a permit is required;
- A $100.00 non-refundable filing fee; and
- Any items specifically identified and required by any of the relevant supplemental questionnaires.
- An application for the use of the uplands and non-marine waters must also include a complete Supplemental Questionnaire for Use of Uplands and/or Non Marine Waters.
- An application for off-road travel must also include a complete Supplemental Questionnaire for Off-Road Travel.
- An application for the use of tide and submerged lands must also include a complete Supplemental Questionnaire for Use of Marine Waters.
- A development plan may be required for some types of land use permit. If required, the development plan must describe any nonpermanent structures and activities.
- If the proposed activity is of a mobile nature, such as a permit to move heavy equipment across state land, a development plan is not required, but the application must include a map showing the proposed route of travel.
For more information on the application requirements and regional ML&W offices, see Land Use Application Package with Cover Letter.
3-AK-e.7 to 3-AK-e.8 - Review Application Materials for Completeness
Once ML&W receives the developer’s complete application package, accompanied by the nonrefundable application fee, ML&W will consider the developer’s application. The application must contain sufficient detail to allow ML&W to conduct a complete evaluation of the proposed activity and its potential effect on the land.
3-AK-e.9 - Notify Adjacent, Upland Property Owner if the Proposed Activity Will Occur in Shoreland, Tideland, or Submerged Land
11 AAC 96.030(c) requires ML&W to give notice to an upland owner of an application involving the use of shoreland, tideland, or submerged land adjacent to the upland owner's property. ML&W must give the upland owner priority in obtaining a land use permit on such lands.
3-AK-e.10 - Public Notice (Optional)
If ML&W determines that public notice of the developer’s application for a land use permit is necessary, ML&W may require public notice before issuing a land use permit. 11 AAC 96.030. If ML&W determines that public notice is required, the developer must pay any advertising costs for publishing the public notice.
3-AK-e.11 - Review Land Use Application Package and Public Comments (If Applicable)
Once the developer’s application package for a land use permit is complete and the public notice and comment period has concluded (if required), ML&W will review the developer’s application and any comments received (if applicable).
All activities on state land must be conducted in a responsible manner that will minimize or prevent disturbance to land and water resources. ML&W may approve the developer’s application if ML&W determines that the developer can conduct the proposed activity in a manner that minimizes conflicts with other uses, minimizes environmental impacts, or would otherwise to be in the interests of the state. 11 AAC 96.040(b).
3-AK-e.12 – Does ML&W Approve the Developer’s Application?
The director of ML&W may approve or deny the developer’s application for a land use permit.
3-AK-e.13 to 3-AK-e.14 – Request Reconsideration of ML&W’s Decision (Optional)
If the director of ML&W denies the developer’s application, the developer can appeal the director’s decision to the commissioner of Alaska Department of Natural Resources (commissioner). 11 AAC 02.900. The commissioner may affirm ML&W’s decision, issue a new or modified decision, or remand the matter to the director for further proceedings. 11 AAC 02.020(d).
3-AK-e.15 to 3-AK-e.16 – Appeal Final Administrative Order to the Superior Court (Optional)
If the commissioner denies the developer’s request for reconsideration, the denial is considered the final administrative order. The developer may appeal the commissioner’s final administrative order to the superior court, in accordance with 11 AAC 02.900 – Appeal and Request for Reconsideration Regulations.
3-AK-e.17 - Land Use Permit
If the ML&W approves the developer’s application for a land use permit, ML&W will issue a document authorizing the developer’s use of state lands. A land use permit is not a disposal of the state’s interest in land and therefore does not require proceeding through the environmental "best interest finding" required for land disposals in Alaska. The permit does not grant a preference right to a lease or other disposal.
ML&W can revoke the permit for cause or for violation of a permit provision. ML&W can also revoke the permit at will if ML&W determines that revoking the permit is in the best interest of the state. ML&W will give the developer 30 days notice before revoking a land use permit. 11 AAC 96.040(b).
ML&W generally grants land use permits for a specified term of up to 5-years and may extend the permit term for a number of consecutive periods which may not exceed 1-year. ML&W can modify provisions of the permit in the approval or extension of any permit or during the term of the permit. 11 AAC 96.040(b).
3-AK-e.18 - Bond, Certificate of Insurance (As Required)
Unless ADNR waives the bond or certificate of insurance requirement after considering the developer's history of compliance and the potential risk to the state, the developer must furnish security acceptable to the department in the form of a bond or certificate of insurance. 11 AAC 96.065.
3-AK-e.19 to 3-AK-e.20 - Proceed with Permitted Use of Land
The developer may proceed with the land use permitted by ML&W under the specific terms of the lease.
3-AK-e.21 - Annual Report or Completion Statement (As Required)
For a permit with a term of more than 1-year, ML&W may require the developer to file information necessary to show compliance with the permit conditions at the end of each year, operational information, or a completion statement including a detailed description of cleanup and restoration work performed at the site.
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