Rules, Regulations and Acts


The following rules, regulations and acts guide the protection and management of 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


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) (250 kb PDF file)

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.