Fishing and Hunting Access
Trail and Access Easements

Trails and Access Easement

image of 17(b) trail
17(b) trail.

Trails, rights-of-way, and public access easements in Alaska vary in their size, management, and legal status. Trails often cross several different landowners’ properties yet are managed by a separate agency or easement holder. To learn more about dedicating a public access easement through your property, talk to your local municipal or borough platting board or your local Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) – Division of Mining, Land, and Water office.

RS 2477 Trails

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game works with DNR to assert the public’s right to use RS 2477 rights-of-way, often trails, across public and private land. Revised Statute 2477 (RS 2477) was a congressional grant of right-of-way which stated, "The right-of-way for the construction of highways over public lands, not reserved for public uses, is hereby granted." Over 650 routes were found to qualify under the RS 2477 statute. DNR maintains case files for these trails, which can be used by the public to travel across federal, state, municipal, and private lands. For more details, visit DNR’s RS 2477 Project webpage.

17(b) Easements

This type of easement is reserved by the United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM) when the BLM conveys land to a Native corporation under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). These easements can be used to access hunting and fishing areas, however, hunting and fishing within the easement area is not allowed. 17(b) easements are typically trail and road easements or site easements and each allows certain uses. Site easements are provided for the public to camp for less than 24 hours, park a vehicle, or change modes of transportation. These easements only allow specific methods of access defined in the land records for the conveyance. Hunting, fishing, or any other kind of recreation is not allowed on a 17(b) easement because the underlying land belongs to the Native Corporation. To recreate on Native Corporation owned lands or any other private lands you must secure permission from the landowner.

BLM maintains maps of reserved 17(b) trail and site easements. Additional information can be found on the BLM Section 17(b) easement webpage.