A Message from CIRI’s Land and Resources Department
The story of CIRI’s lands is the story of CIRI itself. Passed in 1971, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) would become the largest land claims settlement in U.S. history and the first settlement of its kind between Native people and the federal government.
ANCSA settled Alaska Native aboriginal land claims in exchange for title to about 44 million acres of land, a $963 million cash payment from the federal treasury and additional oil revenue sharing. In an effort to enable statewide economic development, the act also created more than 200 village corporations and 12 Alaska-based regional corporations, including CIRI.
CIRI’s Land and Resources department takes the management and protection of CIRI lands very seriously. In all, the department manages approximately 650,000 surface acres spread out across Alaska and largely concentrated in the road-accessible Kenai Peninsula and Matanuska Valley.
Unlike many other Alaska Native corporations, CIRI’s landholdings are noncontiguous. In addition to landholdings in Southcentral Alaska, CIRI owns land to the north, in and around Fairbanks; in remote areas west of Denali National Park; in Southeast Alaska, in Elfin Cove and Gustavus; and as far east as Lake Louise, near Glennallen. As you can imagine, managing and protecting CIRI lands is a challenge!
The company prioritizes striking a balance between sustainably developing resources to improve opportunities for our shareholders and protecting the land for future generations. The Land and Resources department is tasked with managing, overseeing and participating in the development and administration of the use of CIRI’s subsurface resources—including oil, gas, minerals, coal, sand and gravel, hard rock and other resources—and its undeveloped surface estate.
Additionally, the department participates in negotiation and evaluation of new lease proposals, oversees property taxes and the tax appeal process, participates in the implementation of corporate strategies related to land and resources, and serves as CIRI’s primary liaison with the oil and gas industry within the Cook Inlet basin.
CIRI is the largest private landowner in Southcentral Alaska. Its parcels include resource-rich lands, such as those within the various gas fields of the Kenai Peninsula; urban tracts, such as the land on which the Tikahtnu Commons Retail and Entertainment Center was built; and other parcels, including those attractive to tourists, sightseers, sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts.
Like many rural properties, CIRI land is vulnerable to trespass. Trespass activities run the gamut, from recreational and vehicular trespass to timber harvesting and illegal camping. Land and Resources is working to develop a more robust and comprehensive trespass program that includes permanent signage, active local enforcement and geographic information system (GIS) tracking.
When it comes to mitigating trespass and protecting CIRI lands, we need your help!
First, if you see something, say something! If you observe trespass activity, gather as much information as you safely can—including time and date of the suspected violation, identifying features of the suspect or vehicle, and location and description of the violation—and report back to CIRI by calling (907) 274-8638 and asking for the Land and Resources department. (For your protection, do not attempt to confront trespassers.)
Second, the insight of CIRI shareholders into the causes of trespass and how to mitigate it is invaluable. Accordingly, the Land and Resources department is asking for your feedback. Some of the ideas under consideration include:
- Are there areas that should be closed off to non-shareholder/descendant activity?
- Are there currently closed areas that should be opened to shareholder- and descendant-only activity?
Please email your questions, suggestions and thoughts to [email protected].