Doyon Concerned with EIRMP Final Record of Decision
Doyon, Limited is a major stakeholder in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land management planning process. As the largest private landholder in Alaska, Doyon has grave concerns regarding the Eastern Interior Resource Management Plan (EIRMP) and the precedent set with pending plans for the Central Yukon and Bering Sea/Western Interior RMPs. Doyon has actively participated in the EIRMP planning process, dating back to 2013. Doyon’s main concern is the need for access to Doyon lands for economic development opportunities for the region and shareholders. Doyon leadership was very disappointed with the final EIRMP issued in January 2017 – specifically focusing on the Fortymile Subunit of the plan, because of the massive expansion of lands designated as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs), riparian conservation areas and other restrictive land classifications. In some cases, the restrictive classifications almost fully surround lands owned or selected for final conveyance by Doyon.
Doyon’s greatest concerns in the EIRMP are in the Fortymile subunit. The BLM adopted new ACECs totaling 398,567 acres in the Fortymile subunit, despite a failure to show that “special management attention” was necessary to prevent “irreparable damage” to caribou and Dall sheep habitat, and despite the fact that the Fortymile caribou herd has increased. The BLM identified predation, overcrowding, weather and hunting as major threats to both species. Ironically, the Department of Interior (DOI) allows for subsistence hunting of both species, allowing one bull caribou and one full curl ram per hunter. The DOI cannot justify ACECs due to hunting while also allowing subsistence hunts for those same species. Doyon continues to be an advocate of subsistence hunting for rural shareholders.
Doyon holds ownership interest in approximately 1.2 million acres and expects an additional 325,000 acres once conveyed in the Fortymile subunit. Most of these lands were selected prior to ANILCA (the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980), specifically for their economic development potential. The ACECs in the Fortymile subunit surround Doyon’s land, only allowing access along a steep ridge of Mount Harper that would inhibit any kind of access. This offensive decision was reached after BLM failed to consult with Doyon on the EIRMP. This is also just one example of how the ACEC designation can lead to potential lost revenue, lost job opportunities and reduced economic development in areas with already low employment rates.
Access Provisions in ANILCA
The realization of economic development opportunities by Alaska Native corporations was fundamental to the structure of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) and ANILCA. This was contemplated by Congress in the passage of the ANCSA. In addition, Doyon relies on the access provisions of Title XI and XIII of ANILCA to advance economic development of Doyon lands. ANILCA specifically included guarantees that landowners would have reasonable access to inholdings.
Central Yukon and Bering Sea/Western Interior Resource Management Plans
Currently, Doyon is raising concerns about the creation or expansion of large ACECs in the Central Yukon and Bering Sea/Western Interior Resource Management Plans. Doyon owns millions of acres in these areas. Many Doyon lands are already surrounded by Conservation System Units (i.e., national parks, preserves, refuges and monuments in Alaska). The ongoing planning processes could further surround Doyon lands with various restrictive land classifications, ultimately affecting Doyon’s ability to further its mission.
More information about Doyon’s concerns with the BLM’s land management planning process will shared in the coming months. Questions or concerns can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-478-4755.