About Us

What Are Public Lands?

Public lands are areas set aside by Alaskans and the American people for a variety of purposes. The public entrusts state and federal agencies to regulate and protect these lands. Some public lands are designated as parks, forests, or refuges; others as wild rivers, historical areas, or critical habitat.

The most important piece of history for Alaska's public lands is the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, or ANILCA. The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 provided the following:

  • 10 National Parks and Preserves
  • 2 National Monuments
  • 9 National Wildlife Refuges
  • 2 National Conservation Areas
  • 25 Wild and Scenic rivers

The Alaska Centers

Due to ANILCA, the Alaska Public Lands Information Centers were born. The first opened was Tok in 1984, followed by Fairbanks in 1986, Anchorage in 1987, and finally Ketchikan in 1995. These centers, though each is managed by a single department (state, National Park Service, National Park Service, and National Forest Service, respectively), represent nine different State and Federal partners: