USFWS
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Alaska Region   

Icon of Blue Goose Compass. 
      Click compass to view Refuge map.

Law Enforcement

law enforcement officer
checks hunter's harvest report
and tags - USFWSThe Arctic Refuge staff includes federally-trained law enforcement officers who protect the natural and cultural resources of the Refuge. Carrying out these tasks in the vast, roadless expanse of the Refuge requires a distinct approach to law enforcement. Officers conduct patrols by airplane, raft, and on foot. The primary focus of these efforts is to ensure that all Refuge users follow state and federal wildlife and natural resource regulations. In addition, Refuge officers assist with other wildlife enforcement efforts by patrolling along the border with Canada to the east and along the Dalton Highway to the west.

Find out about the rules, regulations and acts that we use to protect and manage America's largest arctic wilderness:

General Refuge regulations

This portion of the Code of Federal Regulations specifically applies to Alaska Refuges. This list is not all-encompassing, as there are other regulations governing activities on Refuge lands (see below).

Permits for activities within the Refuge

The Arctic Refuge is open to the public year-round. If you are visiting the Refuge on your own or as a member of a recreational group, you do not need a permit. If, however, you plan to conduct a commercial activity such as guiding, film-making, or providing commercial transportation; or if you propose to conduct scientific or geological research or other non-recreational activities on the Refuge, a special use permit is required.

State of Alaska's wildlife and fish regulations

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game website provides information about hunting and fishing regulations, allows you to buy hunting and fishing licenses, informs you what to do in case you take an animal in defense of life and property, and much more. If a State hunting regulation indicates that federal subsistence regulations apply in the area you wish to hunt, check the "Laws and Regulations" link at http://alaska.fws.gov/asm/index.cfm.

Rural Alaska residents

Federal subsistence management provides Alaskans living in rural areas the opportunity for a subsistence way of life on federal public lands. The Subsistence Management Program provides information about subsistence activities and regional advisory councils. Your primary, permanent place of residence must be in a rural area of Alaska to qualify you to hunt, trap, or fish under federal subsistence regulations.

Alaska Migratory Bird Co-Management Council

The Council provides information about regulations for subsistence spring/summer migratory bird harvests, along with information about the Council itself. If you are a permanent resident of a village within an included harvest area, you are eligible to harvest migratory birds and eggs for subsistence purposes.

Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA)

ANILCA is the key legislation regulating Alaska public lands. This act, passed in 1980, more than doubled the size of the Arctic Refuge, and designated about 8 million acres as federally protected Wilderness.

The Wilderness Act

Nearly half of Arctic Refuge is designated as federally protected Wilderness. There are specific regulations that apply to Wilderness Areas.

Marine Mammal Protection Act

Arctic Refuge borders the Beaufort Sea to the north, where the Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits, with certain exceptions, the take of marine mammals.


September 12, 2008