Less than one percent of the land in Alaska is held privately – the remainder is owned and administered by the State, the federal government (Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and others, and Native organizations. A good overview can be found at http://www.dnr.state.ak.us/mlw/factsht/land_own.pdf
For researchers, this land ownership translates into needing permits and permission, often from multiple entities for the same land area. With the exception of Barrow and near communities, where CPS does assist with North Slope Borough and UIC permitting, obtaining these permits and approvals is the responsibility of the research team.
Researchers may also be asked to assist NSF in documenting their projects' compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). For more information on NEPA, please review this OPP Office of Safety and Health letter.
Obtaining the correct permits and documentation can take many months and is best begun as soon as you receive funding.
Air carriers, especially helicopters, may ask that you give the pilot a copy of your permit before they will proceed with your work.
If local people or communities are impacted by your science (or the logistics it takes to support your work e.g. helicopters), it is very appropriate to seek permission and to encourage local understanding. All researchers should also be aware of NSF's Principles for the Conduct of Research in the Arctic.
Please contact CPS if you have any questions on whom to contact, or permits needed:
CH2M HILL Polar Services
(Alaska at Polarfield.com)
2325 King Road
Fairbanks, AK 99709
Frequent contacts include:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
101 12th Ave. Room 236
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Bureau of Land Management
National Park Service
State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources
Pictured above: Brooks Range and the North Slope.