Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205

05/05/2021 03:30 PM RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
Moved CSSB 134(RES) Out of Committee
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 79(RES) Out of Committee
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
        SB 133-REMOTE RECREATIONAL SITES; SALES; PERMITS                                                                    
3:59:22 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   REVAK   reconvened   the  meeting   and   announced   the                                                               
consideration  of SENATE  BILL NO.  133 "An  Act relating  to the                                                               
sale  or  lease of  state  land  for remote  recreational  sites;                                                               
relating to permits for remote  recreational sites; and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
3:59:47 PM                                                                                                                    
MARTY  PARSONS, Director,  Division of  Mining, Land,  and Water,                                                               
Department of Natural Resources  (DNR), Anchorage, Alaska, stated                                                               
SB 133 is  another step to fulfill the intent  of art. VIII, sec.                                                               
1  of  the Constitution  of  the  State  of Alaska  to  encourage                                                               
settlement of  Alaska lands consistent with  the public interest.                                                               
He pointed out  that just three percent of the  land in Alaska is                                                               
in  private ownership  and said  this  administration intends  to                                                               
expand that.                                                                                                                    
MR. PARSONS  displayed the pie  chart on  slide 3 that  shows the                                                               
breakdown of land ownership in  Alaska. The federal government is                                                               
the  largest landowner  with 59  percent; state  ownership is  26                                                               
percent  but will  increase to  about 30  percent once  the state                                                               
receives   all  its   entitlement;  the   Alaska  Native   Claims                                                               
Settlement Act  (ANCSA) corporations  hold about 12  percent; and                                                               
about  3   percent  is  in  private   ownership,  which  includes                                                               
MR.  PARSONS reviewed  the  different ways  SB  133 provides  for                                                               
Alaskans to procure land in Alaska. The slide read as follows:                                                                  
        • Lands can be identified and offered through the                                                                       
          State Land Sales program                                                                                              
        • The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will                                                                        
          maintain a list of lands available for remote                                                                         
          recreational sites                                                                                                    
        • The State will identify areas where land is                                                                           
          properly classified for settlement and may be                                                                         
          staked for remote recreational sites                                                                                  
        • Individuals can nominate open state land not                                                                          
          included in the annual state offering for remote                                                                      
          recreational sites                                                                                                    
        • Multiple ways to procure a site:                                                                                      
             square4 Purchase                                                                                                   
             square4 Lease                                                                                                      
             square4 Permit                                                                                                     
4:03:24 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. PARSONS described the current  Remote Recreational Cabin Site                                                               
Program under AS  38.05.600. The state identifies up  to 20 acres                                                               
of  state  land   per  parcel  for  disposal   under  a  lottery.                                                               
Successful individuals  are able to  stake their own  parcel. The                                                               
difference  between  the  current  RRCS program  and  the  former                                                               
programs is that  the current program is open  to residents only,                                                               
it  has no  "prove-up"  requirements, and  the  resident has  the                                                               
opportunity to  own the land. He  said DNR goes through  a public                                                               
interest finding and  public process before offering  the land as                                                               
part of the staking program.                                                                                                    
4:05:15 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR VON IMHOF  read the last bullet point on  slide 5, "Since                                                               
2001  DNR  has  offered  staking  in 81  staking  areas  over  14                                                               
offerings." She  asked for  a description of  a staking  area and                                                               
the definition of an "offering."                                                                                                
MR. PARSONS directed attention to the  images on slide 7 that are                                                               
examples  of  staking  areas from  previous  RRCS  offerings.  He                                                               
elaborated  that a  staking area  is land  DNR has  identified as                                                               
appropriate  for  staking  within  a larger  offering  area.  For                                                               
example, DNR may identify 15  authorizations within a 20,000 acre                                                               
offering area.                                                                                                                  
4:07:19 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR VON  IMHOF asked  how many  individual parcels  and total                                                               
acres has the division sold since 2001.                                                                                         
MR. PARSONS answered he would follow up with information.                                                                       
SENATOR VON IMHOF asked for  an estimate and whether each staking                                                               
area has about 50 parcels.                                                                                                      
4:08:07 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. PARSONS answered it depends  on the individual offering. Some                                                               
offerings could be 20,000 acres  with 50 parcels and others could                                                               
be 7,500 acres with just 4 or 5  parcels. He said he did not have                                                               
the numbers in his head, but  he would get the information to the                                                               
committee quickly.                                                                                                              
4:08:48 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS asked  if the difference between  prove-up and no                                                               
prove-up is  that prove-up means a  person builds a cabin  and no                                                               
prove-up means they do not build a cabin.                                                                                       
MR. PARSONS  answered that is  correct; the old  staking programs                                                               
required  certain  improvements.  Under the  Remote  Recreational                                                               
Cabin Staking  program, the  individual who  staked the  land was                                                               
able to move  into a three-year lease so they  could get the land                                                               
surveyed and  appraised. They were allowed  to make improvements,                                                               
but it  was not  required. After that  the individual  could move                                                               
into a land purchase contract.                                                                                                  
4:10:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS commented  he  thought the  idea  was for  these                                                               
parcels  to be  improved.  He  asked if  somebody  could lease  a                                                               
parcel for three years, do nothing, and end up owning the land.                                                                 
MR. PARSONS  answered that  is technically  correct. Most  of the                                                               
parcels are  fairly remote  and it  is up  to the  individual who                                                               
staked the land  to use it for recreational purposes  as they see                                                               
SENATOR MICCICHE  asked if the  bill repeals the  current program                                                               
and proposes  a new one.  He shared  that he participated  in the                                                               
Day Harbor staking years ago and  he was not sure the process was                                                               
as sound as it could have been.                                                                                                 
MR. PARSONS  answered yes;  SB 133 repeals  the program  under AS                                                               
38.05.600 and replaces it with a new one.                                                                                       
4:12:00 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI asked if a  tent platform would be an acceptable                                                               
MR.  PARSONS  answered  the  current  Remote  Recreational  Cabin                                                               
Staking  program  does  not  have   a  prove-up  requirement.  An                                                               
individual stakes  the land then  has it surveyed  and appraised.                                                               
Improvements are  at the individual's  discretion, whether  it is                                                               
tent platforms, camping sites, or a more permanent structure.                                                                   
SENATOR  KAWASAKI asked  if a  parcel under  the staking  program                                                               
could be used for a commercial purpose.                                                                                         
MR. PARSONS answered no.                                                                                                        
4:13:21 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BISHOP asked  if commercial  guides  and outfitters  are                                                               
MR. PARSONS answered the Remote  Cabin Staking program may not be                                                               
used for a  commercial purpose; that was part of  the impetus for                                                               
the commercial provision in what is currently SB 97.                                                                            
4:14:05 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. PARSONS  directed attention to  slides 7 and 8  and explained                                                               
they are  intended to illustrate  the remote staking  program has                                                               
had offerings  and authorizations statewide. The  offerings range                                                               
from Nome to Lake Louise, to Southcentral to Southeast.                                                                         
4:14:56 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. PARSONS paraphrased  slides 9-10 that provide  an overview of                                                               
what is in SB 133. The slides read as follows:                                                                                  
        • Repeals existing RRCS program                                                                                         
        • Provides for Commissioner to identify areas where                                                                     
          land is properly classified for settlement and                                                                        
          offer those lands for staking of remote                                                                               
          recreational sites                                                                                                    
        • Identifies who is eligible to participate in the                                                                      
        • Establishes what parcel size may be staked by an                                                                      
          eligible participant  10 acres                                                                                        
        • Provides for Alaskans to nominate lands for                                                                           
        • Requires information necessary for identifying                                                                        
          staked parcel                                                                                                         
      • Process for handling conflicting staked parcels                                                                         
        • Directs the Commissioner to establish regulations                                                                     
          to implement the program                                                                                              
        • Establishes process for staking and purchasing a                                                                      
          piece of state land for a remote recreational                                                                         
             square4 Sale  price is fair market value                                                                           
             square4 Applicant must survey and appraise the site                                                                
        • Also establishes a process for staking and                                                                            
          leasing of state land for remote recreational                                                                         
        • Establishes process   for   leasing   a   remote                                                                      
          recreational site                                                                                                     
             square4 Initial 10-year leasing period                                                                             
             square4 Two additional 10-year lease renewal periods                                                               
             square4 Restricts assignment of a lease                                                                            
             square4 Termination of lease for non-compliance                                                                    
             square4 Establishes timeframe for surveying and                                                                    
             square4 Requirement for marking of parcel boundaries                                                               
4:18:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BISHOP asked if DNR does the appraisal and bills for it.                                                                
MR. PARSONS  answered the intention  is for the individual  to be                                                               
responsible for both  the survey and appraisal and  the rules for                                                               
that can be handled through the regulatory process.                                                                             
SENATOR  BISHOP said  he assumes  the surveyor  would need  to be                                                               
licensed in this state.                                                                                                         
MR. PARSONS answered that is  correct; an official survey must be                                                               
done by a licensed surveyor.                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE  referenced earlier  conversations that  in part                                                               
led to the  bill. He said the problem is  that some families have                                                               
leased land for  generations. He asked if those  parcels that are                                                               
under lease  could be included  in this program with  the current                                                               
leaseholders being given the right of first refusal.                                                                            
4:20:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. PARSONS  advised that  the reference is  to the  Personal Use                                                               
Cabin Program.  He said DNR  believes that except in  areas where                                                               
the cabins  would be  in a  legislatively designated  area, there                                                               
will be  an opportunity  for the  leaseholders to  participate in                                                               
this program and convert their lease to a purchase.                                                                             
SENATOR MICCICHE  asked if "we  believe" could be  interpreted to                                                               
mean that there is a path forward.                                                                                              
MR.  PARSONS  answered the  division's  intent  is to  allow  the                                                               
individuals who  participated in the  PUCP program to  gain title                                                               
to those lands.                                                                                                                 
4:21:46 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS asked  him to  talk  about the  assignment of  a                                                               
lease  and   the  restrictions  that   will  be  placed   on  the                                                               
MR. PARSONS  answered the language  on paragraph (1) on  page 10,                                                               
lines 13-14, states  the lease may not be  assigned, conveyed, or                                                               
otherwise  transferred,  except  though an  estate  or  intestate                                                               
4:22:40 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS summarized  that a  lease could  pass to  family                                                               
through a will.                                                                                                                 
MR.  PARSONS answered  that is  correct  and Mr.  Orman with  the                                                               
Department of Law was available to correct him if he misspoke.                                                                  
CHAIR REVAK asked Mr. Orman for his opinion.                                                                                    
4:23:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRISTOPHER    ORMAN,   Assistant    Attorney   General,    Civil                                                               
Division,   Natural  Resources   Section,   Department   of  Law,                                                               
Juneau,  Alaska,  answered  Mr.  Parsons is  correct.  The  lease                                                               
may  not  be  assigned  or  conveyed  but  it  can pass  through                                                                
estate  or intestate  succession.  He  also noted  that language                                                                
in  paragraph   (3)  on   page  10,  lines   18-19  talks   about                                                               
restrictions  DNR has  the discretion  to impose  on the lease.                                                                 
4:24:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIEHL  asked  if the  biggest  difference  is  there  is                                                               
not  a best  interest  finding  and  instead,  people  can  stake                                                               
all the  vacant unreserved  land  in a given  parcel.                                                                           
MR. PARSONS answered  yes; there is no best  interest finding. He                                                               
said  it is  DNR's  understanding that  the  areas available  for                                                               
people to stake would be  a subset of the Vacant, Unappropriated,                                                               
Unreserved (VUU) land, and the  commissioner could include all or                                                               
a portion of that land.                                                                                                         
SENATOR  KIEHL   asked  how  to  prevent   the  staking  program                                                                
acreage  from  being  on  top of  a  coal  seam or  a  site  with                                                               
commercial  mineral  potential.                                                                                                 
MR. PARSONS answered  certain non-conveyable land classifications                                                               
would not be available to participate in the program.                                                                           
SENATOR  KIEHL  commented,  "We  keep hearing  we've  got  better                                                               
maps  of  the  moon  than  of  Alaska.   I wonder   if  we're  as                                                               
confident  as all that."                                                                                                        
4:26:06 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  VON  IMHOF asked  about  the  intent  and need  to  hire                                                               
five  full-time  employees  as part  of  establishing  a process                                                                
for  leasing  a  remote  recreational   site.  She  specifically                                                                
mentioned   hiring   a  surveyor   when   DNR  already   has   10                                                               
surveyors   on  staff  and   referenced  an   earlier  statement                                                                
about   outsourcing    surveying   and   appraisal    work.   She                                                               
questioned  the  necessity  of these  hires, particularly   given                                                               
that  this administration   is trying  to  reduce  the footprint                                                                
of government.                                                                                                                  
4:26:58 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. PARSONS answered  the division believes this  program will be                                                               
very  popular. If  their analysis  is correct,  the program  will                                                               
require a surveyor who primarily  will write survey instructions,                                                               
review  plats, and  do the  administrative work  to identify  the                                                               
parcels  and  ownership  and  ensure all  the  criteria  for  the                                                               
platting process  are met. The anticipated  workload will require                                                               
additional appraisers,  land surveyors,  and staff  to administer                                                               
the program.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  VON IMHOF  highlighted  that the  Department of  Natural                                                               
Resources has 210  employees, including 10 fulltime  level I land                                                               
surveyors,  12 fulltime  level I  natural  resource managers,  52                                                               
fulltime level  II natural resource  specialists, and  4 fulltime                                                               
level II appraisers.  She said she did not  know these employees'                                                               
current  workload or  if the  land  surveying needs  in DNR  were                                                               
"huckity buck,"  but she  wanted it  on the  record that  she was                                                               
cautious  and wary  of the  $750,000 fiscal  note that  calls for                                                               
five new fulltime employees.                                                                                                    
4:29:41 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BISHOP asked  if individuals  would have  the option  to                                                               
purchase these  parcels under  the same  terms and  conditions as                                                               
the current process;  the state carries the  note and individuals                                                               
make payments to the state.                                                                                                     
MR. PARSONS answered yes.                                                                                                       
4:30:43 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI referenced  the state map of VUU  lands on slide                                                               
12 and asked if DNR has  determined that each of the blue colored                                                               
parcels are  not critical  habitat or  have something  that would                                                               
preclude a sale.                                                                                                                
MR.  PARSONS answered  that map  is the  division's current  best                                                               
estimate of what  VUU lands would be available  for this program.                                                               
He added  the caveat, "I cannot  tell you 100 percent  every acre                                                               
of that  is unencumbered or is  available." He said he  could say                                                               
the land  is not classified  for habitat  or minerals and  it has                                                               
not been approved for municipal  land entitlements. He added that                                                               
before  the  land  is  offered  to the  public  a  more  rigorous                                                               
analysis would be necessary.                                                                                                    
4:32:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI  referenced Section 2 and  asked what additional                                                               
studies  would be  required for  the director  to make  a written                                                               
finding that  the best interest  of the  state will be  served by                                                               
the process going forward. He cited  a bill he worked on with the                                                               
director to make the current process easier.                                                                                    
MR.  PARSONS answered  the  "035" best  interest  finding is  not                                                               
necessary, but  the division  would still  go through  a rigorous                                                               
process  to  ensure the  relevant  lands  are not  encumbered  by                                                               
pipelines, easements, leases, or  other authorizations. This will                                                               
be similar to the current process  initially, but at the end less                                                               
work  will  be  required  to   convey  the  land  and  enter  the                                                               
authorization, he said.                                                                                                         
4:35:44 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE  asked if he  agreed that this iteration  of the                                                               
remote cabin  site program had  a different system  for basically                                                               
the same thing.                                                                                                                 
MR. PARSONS agreed that was  fairly accurate; instead of discrete                                                               
parcels, this program  looks statewide at what  might be included                                                               
in the program.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR MICCICHE referred  to the fiscal note  analysis and asked                                                               
if $750,000 to $2.5 million in sales is expected over time.                                                                     
MR. PARSONS  answered that is  the revenue estimate  and $569,900                                                               
is the estimated expense for a net of less than $200,000.                                                                       
4:38:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BISHOP  referenced the map on  slide 10 and asked  if the                                                               
parcels in blue are available for staking and lease.                                                                            
MR.  PARSONS  answered  it should  be  considered  a  preliminary                                                               
analysis of locations where land may be available.                                                                              
SENATOR BISHOP noted  the bill says an  individual could nominate                                                               
outside those quadrants.                                                                                                        
MR. PARSONS confirmed that was correct.                                                                                         
4:39:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK requested the sectional analysis for SB 133.                                                                        
MR. PARSONS deferred to Mr. Orman for the sectional analysis.                                                                   
4:39:42 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ORMAN stated  he  was primarily  available  to answer  legal                                                               
questions about the bill, but he could provide a summary.                                                                       
CHAIR  REVAK  stated   he  would  wait  to  hear  the  sectional                                                                
analysis  during a  subsequent hearing.                                                                                         
4:40:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE  asked Mr.  Parsons  to provide  better detail                                                                
on the  lands available  under the  bill.                                                                                       
CHAIR  REVAK requested  he  send the more  detailed  maps to  the                                                               
SENATOR  KIEHL  noted  the  chair's   staff  had  posted  a  more                                                               
detailed  map on BASIS.                                                                                                         
MR. PARSONS  agreed a more detailed  map was posted on  BASIS. He                                                               
reiterated  that this  was just  a preliminary  look at  the land                                                               
that potentially would be available.                                                                                            
CHAIR REVAK advised the committee  would look at the detailed map                                                               
and follow  up if there were  questions on that or  the sectional                                                               
4:42:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK opened  public testimony on SB 133;  finding none, he                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
4:43:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK held SB 133 in committee.                                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 134 Background - Related Statutes.pdf HRES 5/17/2021 1:00:00 PM
SRES 5/5/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 134
SB 134 Sponsor Statement 4.30.2021.pdf HRES 5/17/2021 1:00:00 PM
SRES 5/5/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 134
SB 134 Fiscal Note 4.31.21.pdf SRES 5/5/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 134
SB 134 Sectional Analysis 4.30.2021.pdf SRES 5/5/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 134
SB 134 Support Doc-BGCSB Final minutes 2.2020.pdf HRES 5/17/2021 1:00:00 PM
SRES 5/5/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 134
SB 133 Sponsor Statement 4.27.21.pdf SRES 5/5/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 133
SB 133 Fiscal Note 4.26.21.pdf SRES 5/5/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 133
SB 133 Sectional Analysis 5.3.2021.pdf SRES 5/5/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 133
SB 79 CS ver W.pdf SRES 5/5/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 79
SB 79 ver W Explanation of changes.pdf SRES 5/5/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 79
SB 133 Remote Rec Presentation 5.5.2021.pdf SRES 5/5/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 133
SB 133 VUU Map (No Layers - Reduced).pdf SRES 5/5/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 133
SB 134 Support Letter APHA 5.5.21.pdf HRES 5/17/2021 1:00:00 PM
SRES 5/5/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 134