The Division of Natural Resources Development is a division of the Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB) Mayor’s Office. Once called Land Management, our division title has changed to reflect a deeper focus on our current and future development and use of the abundant natural resources within our land allocation. The Borough’s natural resource development focus is strategic in nature, tied to long-term economic development, maximum utilization of land resources and the development of a sustainable system for the future of our community.
In 1963, the Mandatory Borough Act gave all newly created Boroughs the right to select ten percent of the vacant, unappropriated, and unreserved State land within their boundaries. This grant was patterned after the land grant from the Federal Government to the State of Alaska as provided in the Alaska Statehood Act. The grant would provide:
- Short-term revenue through leases and sales;
- Long term revenue by transferring land into private ownership and increasing the tax base; and
- Land for municipal (public) purposes.
FNSB began selecting land under this authority. As of 2015, the FNSB has received patent to 97,031 acres of its 112,000-acre entitlement.
Approximately 20% of the land owned by the Borough is devoted to public facilities such as schools, parks, flood control, transfer sites, landfill, administration buildings, etc., and most of those acres are managed by their respective departments or divisions.
The Division of Natural Resources Development serves as custodian for the remaining 80% ensuring professional and long-term management of the publicly owned natural resources to the maximum benefit of the community at large. The Division also provides resource and land-related assistance to other departments and the School District.
The Division of Natural Resources Development operates within the legal constraints of law and policy under the direction of the administration and assembly in accordance with Title 20 of the Borough’s Code of Ordinances. Functions include retained lands stewardship, land sales and acquisition, and administering the land nominations program;
The acquisition, transfer, and sale of lands is conducted in an open and ethical manner, subject to the needs of the community and directly tied to the long-term economic development of the public sector.
The retained land program administers the use of Borough land assets by issuing legally binding licenses, leases, easements, the selected sale of resources such as gravel and timber, monitoring casual and subsistence use and the enforcement of trespass and encroachment violations on Borough owned land.
The Land Nomination Program allows Borough residents the opportunity to nominate at any time, portions of Borough land for a specific use; subdivision, sale, development of parks & trails, community infrastructure or any number of other ideas.
Here is a link to the GIS data map highlighting FNSB owned parcels and their management authority.
About the Fairbanks North Star Borough
Fairbanks is Alaska’s second largest community and residents commonly refer to it as the "Golden Heart of Alaska." Due to its central location, Fairbanks has become the transportation, trade and service center for the vast Interior region encompassing some 200,000 square miles. The community was founded almost a century ago on the banks of the winding Chena River, which drains, into the Tanana River immediately south of town. The Chatanika, Chena, and Salcha River drainages define the area surrounded by rolling hills to the north, east and west of the urban centers. The Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB), a local government unit similar to a county, covers 7,361 square miles and has 99,200 residents. Within the Borough are two cities, Fairbanks and North Pole and several unincorporated communities. The Tanana Valley surrounds Fairbanks at an elevation of 436 feet above sea level and rises east to about 2,000 feet at the Canadian border. The Alaska Range is clearly visible on the southern horizon. By air, Fairbanks is approximately three and a half hours north of Seattle and fifty minutes from Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city. The Borough is also the northern terminus of the Alaska Railroad with access to the ports of Seward, Whittier and Anchorage. Other than the Glenn and Sterling Highways, all major Alaskan highways meet at or near Fairbanks. FSNB’s location in Alaska, along the transpolar air routes (64º50’ latitude, about the same as Oslo, Norway) makes it logistically attractive to air cargo airlines and the military; by air Fairbanks is less than nine hours from both Europe and Asia.
The Borough is a second class borough, incorporated in 1964 under the laws of the State of Alaska. The Borough's governing body is a nine member assembly. Assembly members are elected at large for staggered three year terms. The assembly elects one of its members annually to serve as a presiding officer. Assembly members are limited to two consecutive three year terms. The Borough's chief executive officer is the mayor, who is elected for a three year term. The mayor has no vote, but may participate in assembly meetings, introduce legislation and veto assembly actions. The mayor is also limited to two consecutive three year terms. The Borough is organized into administrative departments, each supervised by a department head. A chief of staff, appointed by the mayor, serves as the Borough's chief administrator.