[dropcap]A[/dropcap]NCHORAGE – BLM Alaska conveyed 39,995 acres to the State of Alaska in the Goodnews Bay area recently pursuant to the Alaska Statehood Act of 1959. This is the largest single conveyance of land to the state in eight years.
“This conveyance is just one of many we anticipate in the near future,” said Ted Murphy, acting BLM Alaska State Director. “BLM Alaska understands it is a priority to Governor Dunleavy to see the State obtain title to its remaining entitlement, and BLM stands ready to convey lands at the State’s request.”
This conveyance is a result of a full revocation of Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act-related withdrawals known as ‘d-1s’ (referring to Section 17(d)(1) in ANCSA). Over the past four years, BLM Alaska has been working on a statewide strategy to initiate large-acreage d-1 revocation recommendations for the Secretary of Interior. Part of that strategy included working with the State of Alaska to identify areas important to the state and currently unavailable due to a d-1 withdrawal and could be made available once the withdrawal is revoked.
“This conveyance was a direct result of the collaboration between the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and the BLM Alaska,” explained BLM Alaska Deputy State Director for Lands and Cadastral Survey Erika Reed. “Through the 17(d)(1) Public Land Order Revocation Strategy Working Group, Alaska DNR staff identified the Goodnews Bay area as a priority for conveyance. Since this area was already recommended for revocation in the Bay Resource Management Plan, we worked with the Secretary of the Interior’s office to make it possible.”
The State of Alaska has roughly five million acres of a 104 million-acre entitlement remaining and has previously identified other d-1 withdrawals and lands in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Corridor as priorities. The BLM Alaska continues to work on revocation recommendations from previous approved resource management plans in an effort to fulfill the State’s remaining entitlement.
There are approximately 50 million acres of BLM managed public lands in Alaska encumbered by d-1 withdrawals, approximately the land area of Utah.