Be aware of non-Refuge lands within the Refuge boundary

private lands map

A number of private parcels within the Arctic Refuge boundary are owned by corporations or private individuals. The majority of these non-Refuge lands within the Refuge were conveyed, through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and through the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, to village or regional Native corporation shareholders. These lands provide economic opportunities and a land base for subsistence activities.

About 176,000 acres of Refuge lands have been conveyed to corporations, while approximately 11,200 acres within the Refuge are privately owned. Cabins have been built on a number of these parcels.

Enter private lands only with permission:

Entry onto private lands is only allowed with prior approval from landowners. It is the visitor’s responsibility to learn about land status and to get prior approval before entering non-Refuge lands. Private lands probably will not be marked with signs.

If you plan to visit the Refuge, look at the map above to find out if there are private lands near your route. If so, visit the web sites below to determine specific locations and ownership of these non-Refuge lands. You can decide to avoid these non-Refuge lands, or seek access permission from the landowners.

Links to three Arctic Refuge land status maps are available from

Some specific areas to be aware of:

Land status around Barter Island is complicated. The map below shows lands and waters managed by the Refuge in green. This map also depicts public rights-of-way [called ANCSA 17(b) Public Easements] across private lands. In the past, visitors and guides have used Arey Island as a departure point from the coastal plain. Though this may still be possible, most of Arey Island is private land, so permission for its use must be obtained from, and the access fees paid to, the Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation (KIC). They can be reached at 907-640-6120. Without this permission, public access to Arey Island is limited to the easement shown in the map below.

Printable version of map. (1.7 mb PDF file)
KIC easements

The land around Elusive Lake (along the southwest boundary of the Refuge), including a small section along both sides of the Ribdon River, belongs to the shareholders of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC). If you are planning a float-plane landing on the lake, or travel along either side of the river, be sure to look at These maps identify the public rights-of-way available for your use across this ASRC land.