ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Backcountry Hunters & Anglers’ Alaska chapter is levying criticism against a bill being considered by the state legislature that would enable the state’s seizure of all publicly owned lands and waters located within Alaska’s borders.
H.J.R. 25 would petition Congress to alter the Alaska Statehood Act to “recognize the State of Alaska’s constitutional right to maintain ownership over all land, water, assets, resources, and activities within the state’s boundaries.” Rep. David Eastman introduced the measure on Wednesday during a special session in the legislature.Alaskan sportsmen described the measure as anti-public lands, anti-sportsmen and a nonstarter.
“Public land owners in Alaska and throughout the United States have made ourselves clear,” said BHA Alaska Chair Larry Bartlett, who lives in Fairbanks. “We champion wild public lands, and we expect some of the quiet, hard to reach places to remain for future great grandchildren. Representative Eastman did not introduce his bill during the regular session of the legislature for good reason: It’s both unpopular and infeasible.
“It’s time our elected officials drop the anti-sportsman rhetoric and work with us on real public land management solutions,” Bartlett continued, “solutions that will benefit Alaska’s people, our economy and our longstanding hunting and fishing traditions.”
The state regularly offers for sale lands and waters under its ownership. Currently the Alaska Department of Natural Resources is making available for purchase 48 parcels located all across the state.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on State Affairs for further consideration.