Types of Land in the NANA Region

The NANA region encompasses 38,000 square miles in Northwest Alaska. Within this area, land is owned by two Alaska Native Corporations, state and federal government entities, businesses and individuals.

The ownership, or status, of land is dependent on laws such as the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), the Alaska Native Allotment Act and the Alaska Statehood Act. There are some special terms that will help you better understand land status and land ownership in the region.
The glossary below provides information about some of the types of land and land ownership within the NANA region.

DEVELOPED VILLAGE LANDS
These include private lands owned by individuals, town sites (a legal subdivision of land for the development of a town or community) and municipal lands where communities are situated.

ENTITLEMENT
NANA is entitled, or holds the rights to, 2.28 million acres of surface and subsurface estate which includes its original entitlement and the entitlements of the 10 merged village corporations. This entitlement was determined using a population-based formula, under ANCSA.

FEDERAL CONSERVATION SYSTEM UNITS
The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) established, or expanded national parks, preserves, wildlife refuges and forests in the state. The ANILCA compromise challenges federal land managers to balance the national interest in Alaska’s scenic and wildlife resources with recognition of Alaska’s fledgling economy and infrastructure, and its distinctive rural way of life. Several are at least partially within the borders of the NANA region. These are: Noatak National Preserve and Wilderness, Kobuk Valley National Park. Selawik National Wildlife Refuge, Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Gates of the Arctic National Preserve and Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge.

FEDERAL PUBLIC LAND
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages federal public land on behalf of the United States. In Alaska, one of the BLM’s main jobs is conveying federal land to Alaska Native Corporations, the State of Alaska and individuals.

FEE SIMPLE TITLE
Absolute title to land, free of any other claims against the title, which one can sell or pass to another by will or inheritance.

KIC SELECTED LAND
Lands selected by Kikiktagruk Iñupiat Corporation.

KIC-OWNED LAND
Land to which KIC has received fee simple title.

MUNICIPAL LAND
Lands owned by a town, city or its local government.

NANA SELECTED LAND
Lands selected by NANA after the passage of ANCSA. The region selected the maximum allowable number of acres, which is more than NANA’s entitlement. The selection process allowed NANA to make informed decisions about which lands to choose. When we reach the entitlement cap, the remaining selections will be retained by the federal government (BLM) or go to the State of Alaska if they have top filings on them.

NANA-OWNED LAND
Lands NANA has received fee simple title to.

NATIVE ALLOTMENTS
Privately owned, but restricted, land that was granted under the Alaska Native Allotment Act of May 17, 1906. The Act was in place until the passage of ANCSA. Approximately 2,000 parcels of land were granted to adults and heads of household in Northwest Alaska. Maniilaq Association is the main Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) service provider in Northwest Alaska and handles all matters regarding Native allotments.

OVERLAPPING SELECTIONS
There are areas where land selection filings or titles overlap. For example, NANA and the State of Alaska have overlapping filings. Where these overlaps occur, the order of priority is: Village Corporation, Regional Corporation, State.

STATE SELECTED LAND
Land that the State of Alaska selected.

STATE-OWNED LAND
Land the State of Alaska holds title to.

SURFACE ESTATE
Rights to the exterior or upper boundary of the land (except those restricted by the mineral owner’s rights) and water and other substances (except those defined as minerals) below it.

SUBSURFACE ESTATE
Rights to the water and other substances, like minerals, below the surface of land. These rights may be sold or transferred to another party like other land rights.

WITHDRAWN LANDS
Lands set aside by the U.S. Department of the Interior for selection. It is a management tool in the real estate tool box used to implement resource management planning prescriptions or as a means to transfer administrative jurisdiction from one federal agency to another.