The BLM Issues Supplementary Rules to Protect Public Health and Safety
Rules for Fairbanks Office administrative site align with State and local regulations
FAIRBANKS, Alaska – The Bureau of Land Management today issued supplementary rules for use of a small parcel of public land that the agency uses as an administrative site in Fairbanks. The rules, published today in the Federal Register, address public safety concerns and apply only to the 11.41 acres of public land at the BLM site.
The BLM administrative site, which is located west of University Avenue on the southern bank of the Chena River, houses offices that support operations for more than 40 million acres of BLM-managed land in the northern half of Alaska. In addition to visiting the BLM office, the public often uses the open space adjacent to the office building to picnic, walk dogs or access the Chena River. Currently, visitors encounter inconsistent rules regarding appropriate conduct at the site.
“Many people in our community visit and enjoy this piece of property, and the BLM wants to provide them with the best, safest experience possible,” said Geoff Beyersdorf, BLM Fairbanks District Manager. “These rules will enhance visitor and employee safety, protect natural resources, improve recreation experiences and protect public health at the administrative site.”
Consistent rules and expectations regarding appropriate public conduct at the site will allow BLM the ability to provide a safe visitor experience and to minimize user conflicts. Ongoing issues addressed by the new rules include open fires in proximity to office buildings, overnight use or long-term occupancy, unattended vehicles and use of aerial drones. The BLM office is adjacent to an administrative site and helipad operated by the State of Alaska, which currently prohibits use of drones that may put pilots and crews at risk. One of the new rules prohibits the use of drones on the BLM property, to be consistent with the State regulation.
Many of the rules are existing State laws and municipal ordinances that the BLM is adopting to facilitate cooperation between BLM Law Enforcement Rangers and local/State authorities. Others make minor modifications to existing BLM regulations to make them more applicable to the site’s urban and riverside environment.
BLM supplementary rules support the objectives of 43 CFR 8365 “Rules of Conduct” for the protection of public lands and resources, and for the protection, comfort and well-being of the public in its use of recreation areas, sites and facilities on public lands. Nothing in the new rules imparts any new or special authority or jurisdiction to BLM Law Enforcement Rangers on or within the navigable waters of the State of Alaska or airspace managed by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The BLM made the proposed rules available for a 60-day public comment period, which closed on
January 22, 2018. The rules will go into effect no less than 30 days after today’s publication in the
For more information please visit the BLM website at https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/71962/510 or contact planning and environmental coordinator Michelle Ethun at 907-474-2253.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.