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CSHB 40(RES): "An Act relating to voluntary land trades, purchases, and leases to enhance public access to certain streams for fishing, hunting, and recreational activities."

00                       CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 40(RES)                                                                     
01 "An Act relating to voluntary land trades, purchases, and leases to enhance public                                      
02 access to certain streams for fishing, hunting, and recreational activities."                                           
03 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
04    * Section 1. AS 16.05 is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                  
05            Sec. 16.05.096. Identification of privately held land along fishing                                        
06       waterways. (a) Subject to (h) of this section, before July 1 of each year, the                                  
07       commissioner shall submit to the commissioner of natural resources a list of land                                 
08       along the following fishing waterways and additional waterways identified under (e)                               
09       of this section where access to the waterways is impeded by private land ownership:                               
10                 (1)  adjacent to or near Montana Creek, Goose Creek, Little Willow                                      
11       Creek, and Willow Creek above the Parks Highway;                                                                  
12                 (2)  along Anchor River and Deep Creek on the Kenai Peninsula; and                                      
13                 (3)  along the Salcha River located off the Richardson Highway.                                         
14            (b)  When identifying land for the list in (a) and (e) of this section, the                                  
01       commissioner shall                                                                                                
02                 (1)  solicit and review input from the public concerning land that may                                  
03       be included on the list; and                                                                                      
04                 (2)  exclude land from the list if the commissioner is notified that the                                
05       owner is unwilling to allow or negotiate public access.                                                           
06            (c)  Factors to be considered by the commissioner when identifying land to be                                
07       listed under (a) and (e) of this section include whether                                                          
08                 (1)  private land ownership prevents or may prevent in the future public                                
09       access to a section of the waterway for its fishing, hunting, or other recreational                               
10       attributes; and                                                                                                   
11                 (2)  public access to a section of the waterway would significantly                                     
12       enhance the public's enjoyment of that waterway.                                                                  
13            (d)  In reviewing land for identification under (a) and (e) of this section, the                             
14       commissioner shall give priority to land leading to and along fishing waterways that                              
15                 (1)  is reasonably accessible, including by backcountry hiking or off-                                  
16       road vehicle, from the state's road system;                                                                       
17                 (2)  is undeveloped and may be acquired by the state through purchase                                   
18       or trade.                                                                                                         
19            (e)  After considering the factors in (c) of this section and establishing priority                          
20       under (d) of this section, the commissioner may add land to the list along a waterway                             
21       not listed in (a) of this section.                                                                                
22            (f)  The decision by the commissioner to include or exclude land on the list in                              
23       (a) of this section is within the discretion of the commissioner and is not subject to                            
24       appeal. The commissioner shall, however, make the list proposed to be submitted to                                
25       the commissioner of natural resources publicly available before submission of the list                            
26       and shall consider public comment before submission of the list.                                                  
27            (g)  The commissioner may remove land from the list described in (a) of this                                 
28       section if the owner of the land is no longer interested in a voluntary sale, trade, or                           
29       other transfer of an interest for the purpose of providing access to a waterway.                                  
30            (h)  The commissioner is not required to submit a new list of land under (a) of                              
31       this section if                                                                                                   
01                 (1)  the existing list includes two or more meander miles of land along                                 
02       fishing waterways; or                                                                                             
03                 (2)  no land is available for which the owner voluntarily is willing to                                 
04       allow or negotiate public access.                                                                                 
05            (i)  In this section, "fishing waterway" means a waterway that contains wild                                 
06       sport fish or fish of a species, physical size, and abundance that may support a sport,                           
07       commercial, personal use, or subsistence fishery.                                                                 
08    * Sec. 2. AS 38.50 is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                     
09            Sec. 38.50.015. Access to fishing waterways. (a) After receiving from the                                  
10       commissioner of fish and game a list prepared under AS 16.05.096 that identifies land                             
11       along fishing waterways where access to the waterways is or may in the future be                                  
12       impeded by private land ownership, the commissioner may proceed to acquire public                                 
13       access to waterways across those lands. Nothing in this section expands the right of                              
14       eminent domain for a public use beyond the uses authorized under AS 09.55.240.                                    
15            (b)  The commissioner may use money from the public access fund established                                  
16       under AS 38.05.874 for the purchase or lease of an easement, purchase of land,                                    
17       purchase or lease of another property interest in land, or costs related to land trades to                        
18       obtain a property interest in land identified under AS 16.05.096. Money from the                                  
19       public access fund may not be used to obtain a property interest in land identified                               
20       under AS 16.05.096 through the exercise of the right of eminent domain.                                           
21            (c)  The commissioner may not obtain a property interest in land under this                                  
22       section unless the commissioner has made not less than an equivalent acreage of state                             
23       land available for disposal for private use under AS 38.05.050 in the same fiscal year.                           
24            (d)  An agreement for a public access easement may allow the owner of the                                    
25       land granting the easement to develop the land subject to the rights granted by the                               
26       easement.                                                                                                         
27            (e)  Before February 1 of each year, the commissioner and the commissioner of                                
28       fish and game shall submit to the legislature a plan to acquire public access to fishing                          
29       waterways through trade or purchase for the following fiscal year. The plan must                                  
30       include a minimum access to not less than a total of two and not more than five                                   
31       meander miles along fishing waterways unless this amount of land is unavailable for                               
01       sale or lease from a willing land owner. Within 60 days after receiving a written                                 
02       request from a landowner requesting the removal of the landowner's land from the list                             
03       to be acquired under the plan, the commissioner shall remove the landowner's land                                 
04       from the list, even if the removal leaves less than two meander miles along fishing                               
05       waterways.                                                                                                        
06            (f)  The commissioner or the commissioner of fish and game may close or                                      
07       restrict public access acquired under this section if necessary to protect habitat along a                        
08       fishing waterway.                                                                                                 
09            (g)  In this section,                                                                                        
10                 (1)  "fishing waterway" has the meaning in AS 16.05.096;                                                
11                 (2)  "meander mile" means a distance of one mile measured following                                     
12       the course of a waterway.                                                                                         
13    * Sec. 3. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                          
14 read:                                                                                                                   
15       LAND TO BE CONSIDERED FOR FIRST LIST. Notwithstanding the discretion of                                           
16 the commissioner of fish and game under AS 16.05.096, as enacted in sec. 1 of this Act, the                             
17 commissioner of fish and game shall submit to the commissioner of natural resources before                              
18 July 1 following the effective date of this Act a description of land                                                   
19            (1)  adjacent to or near Montana Creek above the Parks Highway on waterways                                  
20 that are open to trout and grayling fishing; and                                                                        
21            (2)  along Anchor River on the Kenai Peninsula where the waterways are open                                  
22 to steelhead, salmon, Dolly Varden, or trout fishing.