Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act Law and Legal Definition

Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act or the ANILCA is a U.S. federal legislation that was enacted in 1980 to designate certain public lands in Alaska as units of the National Park System, National Wildlife Refuge System, National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, National Wilderness Preservation System and National Forest System, and also to preserve unrivaled scenic and geological values associated with the U.S. natural landscape. The Act also provides for comprehensive land management for all Alaska federal lands.

The law provided for the creation or revision of 15 National Park Service properties, and set aside other public lands for the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Pursuant to the Act, the Secretary was responsible for administering the newly established or added lands, waters, and interests pursuant to the National Park Service Organic Act and applicable provisions of this Act. The Act also includes provisions regarding native selections pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and commercial fishing applicable to certain national parks. The units expanded or established by the Act are withdrawn from all forms of appropriation or disposal under public land laws, subject to valid existing rights, except as explicitly provided by the Act.

The following is an example of a federal statute discussing the purpose of the ANILCA:

6 USCS § 3101. Congressional statement of purpose

(a) Establishment of units. In order to preserve for the benefit, use, education, and inspiration of present and future generations certain lands and waters in the State of Alaska that contain nationally significant natural, scenic, historic, archeological, geological, scientific, wilderness, cultural, recreational, and wildlife values, the units described in the following titles are hereby established.

(b) Preservation and protection of scenic, geological, etc., values. It is the intent of Congress in this Act to preserve unrivaled scenic and geological values associated with natural landscapes; to provide for the maintenance of sound populations of, and habitat for, wildlife species of inestimable value to the citizens of Alaska and the Nation, including those species dependent on vast relatively undeveloped areas; to preserve in their natural state extensive unaltered arctic tundra, boreal forest, and coastal rainforest ecosystems; to protect the resources related to subsistence needs; to protect and preserve historic and archeological sites, rivers, and lands, and to preserve wilderness resource values and related recreational opportunities including but not limited to hiking, canoeing, fishing, and sport hunting, within large arctic and subarctic wildlands and on freeflowing rivers; and to maintain opportunities for scientific research and undisturbed ecosystems.

(c) Subsistence way of life for rural residents. It is further the intent and purpose of this Act consistent with management of fish and wildlife in accordance with recognized scientific principles and the purposes for which each conservation system unit is established, designated, or expanded by or pursuant to this Act, to provide the opportunity for rural residents engaged in a subsistence way of life to continue to do so.

(d) Need for future legislation obviated. This Act provides sufficient protection for the national interest in the scenic, natural, cultural and environmental values on the public lands in Alaska, and at the same time provides adequate opportunity for satisfaction of the economic and social needs of the State of Alaska and its people; accordingly, the designation and disposition of the public lands in Alaska pursuant to this Act are found to represent a proper balance between the reservation of national conservation system units and those public lands necessary and appropriate for more intensive use and disposition, and thus Congress believes that the need for future legislation designating new conservation system units, new national conservation areas, or new national recreation areas, has been obviated thereby.