Alaska Reviewer: Greatland Reviewer
GeocacheAlaska's Advocacy Committee and individual cachers have worked with Alaskan Land Managers to identify the following land use policies. If an area is not covered below, adequate permission to place a geocache should not be assumed and proper permission should be obtained from the appropriate Land Manager before submitting your cache for review..
Terrific resources to determine land ownership that are available in many communities are web-based Global Information Systems (GIS). These online databases/applications provide means to identify land ownership and use designations using a combination of mapping tools and tax records. A non-comprehensive list of links to Alaskan GIS databases follows:
|Alaska State Geo-Spatial Data Clearinghouse||Municipality of Anchorage||City/Borough of Juneau|
|Bethel Planning Department||Fairbanks North Star Borough||Kenai Peninsula Borough|
|Ketchikan Gateway Borough||Kodiak Borough||Matanuska-Susitna Borough|
A high level tutorial on how to use these databases is provided in the February 2015 GeocacheAlaska! newsletter.
Alaska Railroad Right-of-Way
The Alaska Railroad has a legal 100' Right of Way (ROW) on both sides of the centerline of the tracks. Geocaches should not be placed inside this ROW for safety reasons with the following exceptions (per Jim Adams, Alaska Railroad Security Agent):
- Land on the opposite side of the bicycle trail from the tracks where the bicycle trail falls within the 100' ROW.
- Land within the vehicle transportation corridor including pull outs that falls within the 100' ROW. These areas are usually delineated by a fence or guardrail.
People are discouraged from crossing or walking along the tracks for safety reasons.
Note: Groundspeak imposes a 150' buffer between caches and tracks unless specific exemptions are identified such as those above.
Alaska State Parks
GeocacheAlaska! has a blanket permit with Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation for placement of traditional geocaches and Earthcaches within the Alaska State Parks lands. The current permit is 15-KA-1994 and is valid through 12/31/2020. Download the permit here and be sure to read and comply with all the stipulations prior to placing a cache in the affected State Park areas. All caches must have the permit number on the inside of the cache along with the cache owner's contact information. On the outside of the cache, you must write "Alaska State Parks Permit #15-KA-1994 Geocache AK" in permanent marking. The cache listing must state "Cache placed under GeocacheAlaska! Park Use Permit #15-KA-1994" within the description section. In order to speed up publishing a new cache under this permit, write a Reviewer Note that states that you have complied with all terms of this permit and describe your geocache container. Containers must be durable, watertight, animal-resistant and no greater in size than a "regular" 50-cal ammo can.
The State Parks land parcels that are covered by the permit are listed below. You may click on the parcel name to download a gpx file of the parcel's boundaries to upload to your GPS or use with GoogleEarth, Garmin Basecamp, Garmin Mapsource, and many other mapping applications.
To download a file, click on the park name, choose "Save As," and select the desired location on your hard drive. Once the file is on your hard drive, double click on the file, click "Extract all files," keep the existing name or change the name, and click "extract." Now that the file is unzipped, it's ready to be used in any number of applications. Visit this thread in the GeocacheAlaska! Forums or reference the March 2015 newsletter for instructions for how to upload the file to your GPS or a map application.
Within Municipality of Anchorage
Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge (includes Potters Marsh)
Joe Meehan, Program Coordinator, Lands and Refuge Program, Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Caches are allowed in the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge with careful thought regarding placements that won't lead to the creation of new "social" trails or disturbing wildlife. Caches may be placed on the Potters Marsh Boardwalk, but not adjacent to it.
Joint Base Elmendorf AFB/Ft. Richardson (JBER)
All caches are to be disabled or archived effective immediately (April 12, 2009) and must be physically removed by May 1, 2009. Affected caches have had a "Needs Archived" note posted on their cache page. Download this map (7MB pdf) to view the extent of Ft. Richardson/Elmendorf AFB lands.
Update 5/21/12: Regulations prohibit the placement of geocaches on JBER.
Contact: Mark Sledge, Civ USAF PACAF 673 CES/CEANC, 384-1128.
Municipality of Anchorage Parks
Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) parklands are open to geocaching. GeocacheAlaska! and the MOA have a symbiotic relationship where we host CITO events and teach geocaching as part of MOA's activities schedule and we get to place caches in Anchorage's parks.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
Northern Field Office, 907-474-2369
White Mountain National Recreation Area, Randy Goodwin, email@example.com
Dalton Highway, Roger Delaney, Roger_Delaney@ak.blm.gov
Fortymile, Jeff Kowalczyk, Jeff_Kowalczyk@ak.blm.gov
Caches are allowed without permit in most locations except Mt. Prindle, Limestone Jags, Serpentine Slide, Big Windy Hot Springs, other Research Natural Areas, and Areas of Environmental Concern.
Anchorage Field Office, Campbell Tract/Far North Bicentennial Park
Contact: Jorjena Daly, Outdoor Recreation Planner, 907-267-1317, JDaly@blm.gov
Caches allowed without permit except for 50m/150' exclusion zone along streams/waterways to provide bear corridor and protect salmon spawning grounds. See the GeocacheAlaska! forums for details. A downloadable map of the exclusion zones is downloadable here
Chugach National Forest
The ranger staff of Glacier Ranger District (based in Girdwood) of the Chugach National Forest has visited many of the active caches on their part of the Forest, as part of their backcountry patrols. They welcome caching as an activity, as long as cachers keep their hides well-policed, don't create social trails, don't promote otherwise illegal activity, and continue to practice CITO.
The rangers remind cachers as well as well as the general public that "it is prohibited to possess or operate a motor vehicle on National Forest System lands on the CHUGACH NATIONAL FOREST other than in accordance with these designations (CFR 261.13). Violators of 36 CFR 261.13 are subject to a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment for up to 6 months, or both (18 U.S.C. 3571(e)). This prohibition applies regardless of the presence or absence of signs."
Caches are not allowed in designated Wilderness Areas of Chugach National Forest which is the designation given to much of western Prince William Sound (east of Whittier). There are also Alaska Native Lands inholdings throughout the Sound that need to be treated as private property. Download this map to identify the Wilderness areas and refer to the map on page 6 of this Chugach Visitor Guide to identify private lands.
Creamer's Field Migratory Bird Refuge
Caches are allowed where hunting is allowed.
Maps available at Alaska Fish & Game, 1300 College Road, Fairbanks
Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks
As of April 11, 2011:"After a careful review of how other communities around the United States manage the placement of Geocaches in their park facilities I concluded that for the time being it seemed over reaching or an overreaction to regulate or restrict this rather benign activity in our park facilities.
With that said if a Geocache attracts garbage, damages trees or other park amenities, is placed in a dangerous location, or because of its popularity creates new unplanned trails or foot paths we will remove it. Additionally, Geocaches are probably not appropriate in the developed community parks such as Pioneer Park or neighborhood playgrounds.
I think it will be sometime before Fairbanks needs to implement a Geocaching policy like some of the lengthy ones I reviewed from parks near large metropolitan areas in the lower 48 states. For the time being the Parks and Recreation staff will not disturb the Geocaches that are responsibly placed.
FNSB Parks & Recreation
459-1198 or firstname.lastname@example.org"
If you wish to conduct a GPS or compass navigation training exercise please contact Matt Steffy at Chena Lakes Recreation Area at 488-1655 or Ricky Borland at Birch Hill at 457-4488. The Fairbanks Parks Superintendent is John Haas, 459-1198.
North Pole City Parks
Caches are allowed as long as " there is nothing destructive that will occur to city property or cause a health or safety issue to all park users, " per Bill Butler, Director of City Services (488-8594 or email@example.com). City of North Pole managed parks are Terry Miller Park located at 5th and Santa Claus Lane, Hipple Park located at LaSalle Avenue. and Homestead Road, and North Pole Skate Board Park located at 5th and Old Richardson Highway. Bill Butler may be contacted at 488-8594 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Wildlife Refuges under USFWS administration
Physical cache containers are not allowed in any National Wildlife Refuge under USFWS jurisdiction within Alaska. Physical caches and EarthCaches may be placed on the Islands and Ocean Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge property in Homer by UFSWS staff members with USFWS chain of command approval.
The affected refuges in Alaska are:
Physical caches may be placed on the Islands and Ocean Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge property in Homer by UFSWS staff members with USFWS chain of command approval.
GPX files for boundaries of the hyperlinked refuges may be downloaded for personal use.
Alaska Native Corporation Lands
Caches of any kind may not be placed on Alaska Native Corporation Lands without explicit written permission from the appropriate Corporation. Examples of Alaska Native Corporation Lands include, but are not limited to, the 157,000 acres of Eklutna Native Corporation Lands lands between Chugiak and Knik Arm and in the Mat-Su Borough and the 1.528 million acres of Ahtna Native Regional Corporation land in the Copper River Basin.
A GPX file of the Eklutna Incorporated lands may be downloaded by clicking here. An exception to this geocache exclusion is on Eklutna lands administered by Alaska State Parks in Chugach State Park at Eklutna Lake, where caches may be placed under the Alaska State Parks blanket permit.
Trans Alaska Pipeline (Alyeska Pipeline) Right-of-Way
Geocaches cannot be placed in the pipeline Right-of-Way. Alyeska Security is extremely sensitive about objects not related to the pipeline within the ROW and conducts routine inspections.
Also, unless a person is currently badged for access to facilities of the TransAlaska Pipeline System (TAPS, aka Alyeska), one must obtain a RUG permit from Alyeska Security to use the TAPS Right of Way (ROW) to access other trails. Permits may be obtained at the following locations upon presentation of a photo ID:
Anchorage (3700 Centerpoint, 787-8971)
Fairbanks (701 Bidwell Ave., 787-5707)
Pump Station 11/Glennallen Response Base (787-5107)
Valdez (Valdez Marine Terminal, 787-6480)
Permits are free, good for the year issued, and apply to the entire pipeline ROW.
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