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McNeil River — State Game Sanctuary and Refuge

McNeil River State Game Sanctuary permit raffle ADFG

The third McNeil River State Game Sanctuary permit raffle will run until April 2, 2023, through the Outdoor Heritage Foundation of Alaska. The raffle winner is entitled to a package of two guided viewing permits for McNeil River State Game Sanctuary for June 15-18, 2023. The permits enable access to the remote wilderness camp at McNeil River and award the winner two of the ten highly coveted slots in the daily guided bear viewing group for all four days. The raffle prize also includes funds towards transportation to the sanctuary, lodging, and necessary supplies to make the trip to McNeil as memorable as possible. During this permit window at the sanctuary, bears will be observed feeding on vegetation on the sedge flats in front of camp, fishing for sockeye salmon in Mikfik Creek, and pairing up for mating season! June is an exciting time to be at McNeil! This is a perfect opportunity for photographers, adventurers, or anyone who appreciates wild Alaskan Brown Bears. Every ticket purchased helps fund conservation and management of Alaska's non-game species. Even if you don't win a permit, we're all winners when we contribute to conservation!

Click here to purchase tickets on the Outdoor Heritage Foundation's Website.

Questions? Contact the raffle coordinator, Molly McCarthy-Cunfer.


In spring of 2023, permits to McNeil River State Game Sanctuary were added into the Department's permit auction and raffle program in statute, allowing a non-profit organization to sponsor permits for raffle or auction. We are happy to include McNeil River State Game Sanctuary permits into this program, and plan to offer two permits for sponsorship by one organization for a trip to McNeil River annually.

Permit Raffle Program

Under AS 16.05.343 (c), "subject to regulations, if the Department issues permits that allow persons to view bears in the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary established under AS 16.20.160 and 16.20.162, the Department may issue up to four of the viewing permits through a competitive auction or raffle". Additionally, organizations may retain up to 30% of the net auction/raffle proceeds. Statutes state that the 30% of proceeds retained by an organization "may be used only to support outdoor tradition and wildlife conservation projects and conservation and wildlife protection programs approved by the department and may not be used to make a contribution to any candidate for political office or to any organization supporting or opposing ballot propositions or to pay expenses associated with lobbying the legislature or administration." On the application form, an organization must describe how it plans to spend proceeds retained, and ADF&G will evaluate and approve that use prior to donating permits to an organization.

Application Information

To be considered for the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary permits, an organization must submit a completed application form by the deadlines outlined in the Program Timeline below. New applicants must also submit a copy of the organization's proof of Alaskan nonprofit status. More details and the specific deadlines can be found in the Call for Proposals.

2023 Program Timeline

  • Call for proposals: mid-August
  • Proposals due: mid- September
  • Notice of Award Status: early October

Application Materials