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(a) A permit is required for access to McNeil River State Game Sanctuary, except that no permit is required for access to McNeil Spit or other land or water below mean high tide seaward of a line from an ADF&G regulatory marker on the north side of the mouth of McNeil River to an ADF&G regulatory marker at the campground on the eastern shore of McNeil Cove, or for access to other tidelands of the sanctuary when open to commercial fishing by emergency order. The department may issue a single nontransferable permit to each individual who pays the application and permit fees and qualifies under the permit application procedures established by the department in 5 AAC 93.030. The department may deny a permit described in (b)(4) of this section if the applicant does not qualify under the criteria established by the department under that paragraph.
(b) From June 7 through August 25, no more than 35 percent of the total available viewing or standby permits may be awarded to nonresidents and nonresident aliens, provided the number of residents applying for viewing and standby permits is sufficient to use 65 percent of available permits. If the number of residents applying for viewing and standby permits is insufficient to award 65 percent, the remainder may be awarded to nonresidents or nonresident aliens. The department may limit the number of persons allowed into the sanctuary for bear viewing purposes, to up to 13 each day, and condition permits for access, as follows:
(1) the department may allow up to 15 permittees to overnight in a camping area designated in the permit; no permittee may remain in a designated camping area for more than six days;
(2) the department shall establish four-day bear viewing periods, and may issue up to 10 bear viewing permits for each four-day bear viewing period through an annual lottery drawing; individuals holding such a permit will have access to a bear viewing area each day of the four-day bear viewing period covered by the permit, and may be in the sanctuary for a total of six days under the permit; after the bear viewing period set by the permit has expired, the permittee shall remain in the vicinity of the camping area designated in the permit until departing the sanctuary;
(3) the department may issue a standby permit by lottery drawing to a person not holding a bear viewing permit issued under (2) of this subsection; a maximum of three standby permits may be issued for any day; standby permit holders are guaranteed access to the sanctuary for a four-day period, but will be able to visit a bear viewing area only if there is a vacancy resulting from a bear viewing permit holder not going to the bear viewing area; if fewer than 10 bear viewing permit holders are available to visit a bear viewing area on a given day, the department designee may fill any such vacancies with standby permit holders; a standby permit holder not authorized under this paragraph to visit a bear viewing area shall remain in the immediate vicinity of the camping area designated in the permit, or the beach, as directed by department staff;
(4) the department may reserve up to 15 bear viewing permits for educational, scientific, or other purposes consistent with AS 16.20.162 ; a permit under this subsection may be issued for longer than four days, but not more than three such permits may be issued for any four-day time period; the commissioner may establish criteria consistent with AS 16.20.162 for issuing, denying, and revoking permits issued under this paragraph;
(5) repealed 7/1/99;
(6) a person that is a successful applicant is ineligible to obtain a permit for the following year.
(c) The department may issue an access permit to a guide, air taxi operator, or lodge owner for access to areas of the McNeil River Game Sanctuary designated open to access by the department; an individual transported to the sanctuary by a guide, air taxi operator, or lodge owner who has a permit under this paragraph is not required to obtain an access permit; a person issued a permit under this subsection shall submit an annual report, to the department, on a form provided by the department, by October 30 of the year in which the permit was issued.
(d) A person entering the sanctuary from June 7 through August 25 shall abide by the following rules set to minimize bear-human conflicts; as provided in AS 16.05.925 , violation of these rules is a class A misdemeanor and may be a basis for immediate expulsion from the sanctuary:
(1) all activities not directly supervised by a department representative must be confined to McNeil Spit, land or water below mean high tide seaward of the line described in (a) of this section, rivers designated in the permit, or a camping area designated in the permit;
(2) camping is allowed only in a camping area designated in the permit;
(3) all food storage and preparation must be confined to the cooking building in a camping area designated in the permit, to a vessel, or to another site or sites designated in the permit;
(4) all garbage and trash must be removed from the sanctuary or placed in garbage cans provided by the department;
(5) pets are not allowed in the sanctuary;
(6) open fires are restricted to the gravel beach below the mean high tide mark, or an approved site;
(7) fish taken in the McNeil Lagoon may be transported into a camping area, designated in the permit, for immediate consumption only; all inedible remains of such fish shall be disposed of below the low tide line.
(e) Upon request from a peace officer of the state, a permittee shall present his or her permit and personal identification for inspection.
(f) The department may issue a sanctuary access permit for a purpose other than participating in the sanctuary bear viewing program. A person issued a permit under this subsection shall abide by the rules in (d) of this section. The commissioner may establish criteria consistent with AS 16.20.162 for issuing, denying, and revoking permits issued under this subsection.
History: Eff. 7/5/85, Register 95; am 8/8/87, Register 103; am 4/24/88, Register 106; am 8/20/89, Register 111; am 8/10/91, Register 119; am 4/1/93, Register 125; am 7/1/94, Register 130; am 7/8/95, Register 135; am 7/1/99, Register 150
Authority: AS 16.05.255
Editor's note: Before 8/20/89, Register 111, the substance of 5 AAC 92.065 was contained in former 5 AAC 83.240. The history note for 5 AAC 92.065 includes the history of the provision before 8/20/89.
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Last modified 7/05/2006