Hunts On Native Lands: Assessing The Potential


Published: January - 1999

Not long ago hunters and fishermen in Alaska, both residents and non-residents, pretty much did their hunting and fishing anywhere they pleased, with the exception of National Park lands and a few reserves designated by State and Federal agencies. However, in recent years, Native American lands owned by Native Corporations have begun to close to free access, or any access at all for that matter. As this trend continues, the impacts can be significant since the Native Corporations will eventually have ownership of somewhere around 44 million acres.

The Native Corporations obtained these lands through passage of the Alaska Claims Settlement Act of 1971. The conveyance of these 44 million acres started in 1979 with still approximately one quarter yet to be conveyed. These lands are deeded and truly private property to be managed as the landowners see fit, in this case the Native Corporations. The Corporations now have the dilemma of deciding how to manage their lands. Resources vary depending upon where the lands are located. Some include timber and minerals, but virtually all include wildlife and fishery resources. While these resources have continually been utilized for subsistence by rural residents and sportsmen, many of the corporations are now beginning to take a deeper look at them, just as ranchers and farmers have been doing for some time in the Lower 48. They are beginning to realize they can profit handsomely by setting up sustainable hunting and fishing programs. In my view, there is much to be gained here by individual hunters, as well as guides, outfitters and companies like my own.

I run Multiple Use Managers, Inc., a resource consulting and management firm that specializes in developing and managing wildlife and recreation resources on private land. MUM currently manages such well-known properties as Santa Rosa Island and the Dye Creek Preserve. The Native Corporation MUM has begun to work with in Alaska is the Tyonek Native Corporation. This organization owns a number of parcels of land. Some are located on the Kenai Peninsula, with others located along the Susitna River and yet more in the upper........(continued)

 
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