Karluk River
Frequently Asked Questions

Q. "Do I need to get permission from the landowners before I begin my trip?" 
A. Yes, if you plan to cross, enter, or use private land. Where you intend to begin and end your trip, as well as the length of time you want to spend in a particular area, will determine what land use permits are required. As previously mentioned, there are public use easements available at various locations along the river for anyone to use, but they are limited in number, and there are restrictions on uses.

Q. "What type of restrictions are there on the use of these easements?"
A.  The easements exist only to provide access across privately owned lands to reach public lands or major waterways. No hunting or fishing from or on an easement is permitted. There are two types of easements: site easements (marked as a triangle on the map and described as a campsite), and trail easements (marked with bold dashed lines on the map). Site easements may be used for temporary (up to 24 hrs) camping, loading, or unloading; and vehicular parking, including boats and aircraft where appropriate. Trail easement are 25 feet wide and may be used for travel by foot, dogsled, animals, snowmobiles, two and three-wheel vehicles, and small all-terrain vehicles under 3,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight. Camping is not allowed on trail easements. There is no access from trail easements to the river except at one of the designated site easements. If you are on the river and wish to go on the land for any reason, you may do so only at a site easement unless you have permission from the landowner.

Q. "How do I find these easements?"
A. Easements shown on the map are described on the Karluk River Easement Descriptions page. Whenever possible, a GPS (Global Positioning System) reading has also been provided. Each easement should be identified by a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) marker, unless the marker has been destroyed by bears. If a marker is not present, easements may be found by the use of landmarks such as islands, stream mouths, etc., or the presence of well worn trails and other signs of use. It is your responsibility to make sure you are located on the easement. For additional information on the location of easements, you may contact the KNWR or BLM. Their addresses and phone numbers are listed elsewhere in this brochure.

Q. "How often can I use the same easement?"
A. There is no explicit restriction on the number of times an easement may be used. However, the reservation of easements was designed to allow for the logical progression of travelers from one location to the next when moving up- and downriver.

Q. "Do I need a land use permit or permission for crossing or using private lands?"
A. Yes, a permit or prior permission from the owner or the owner's designee is required anytime the visitor wishes to enter, cross or use private land, except at designated easements. Use of private land, including travel across the land without obtaining prior permission, may be trespass.

Q. "Whom do I contact for a land use permit for private lands?"
A. The map on the back side of this brochure enables you to determine the appropriate upland owner. Some landowners, such as Koniag, Inc., issue permits for recreational use of their lands. Such uses include fishing, camping. and sometimes hunting. For current information on the uses pemmitted and the cost of a permit, contact the owners at the addresses listed below:

Koniaq, Inc.
4300 B Street, Suite 407
Anchorage, AK 99503
(907) 561-2668

Karluk Tribal Council
Box 22
Karluk, AK 99608
(907) 241-2218

Q. "May I travel by boat or canoe on the water without obtaining a land use permit?"
A. Yes. Under state law, the public has the right to use and have access to the Karluk River. The water is available for public use for the purpose of fishing, boating, and other activities. However, any overnight camping or use of the uplands for any purpose, except at designated public use easements, requires the permission of the upland owner.

Q. "May I stand in the river (below the Ordinary High Water Mark) without getting a land use permit?"
A. This is currently an open question. It is the state's position that under state law, members of the public may touch the bed of the river below ordinary high water to the extent reasonably necessary to pull a boat across riffles or across obstructions, and to fish. However, Koniag Inc., has stated that it considers such activity without a permit to be trespass.

Until the legal issues discussed above are resolved, the state cannot assure the public that a private owner would not pursue a trespass action against them if they stand in the river without a permit.