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McNeil River — State Game Sanctuary and Refuge


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.

2024 Program Timeline

  • Call for Applications: August 9, 2023
  • Applications due: September 11, 2023
  • Notice of Award Status: September 21, 2023

Application Materials

Raffle Permit Bear Viewing Dates

  • July 25-28, 2024 (M Block)


Please contact the Program Coordinator, Molly McCarthy-Cunfer, at molly.mccarthy@alaska.gov or 907-717-0725.