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 by downloading a Fact Sheet.
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 download the 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 those operating 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 – e.g., helicopter support – it takes to support your work), it is appropriate, even expected, that researchers will seek permission and encourage local understanding. All researchers should also be aware of the Principles for the Conduct of Research in the Arctic, which can be found on the NSF website.
Please contact CPS if you have any questions about permits needed or whom to contact:
CH2M HILL Polar Services
2325 King Road
Fairbanks, AK 99709