Changes to Rural/Nonrural Status is October 27
October 24, 2006
The Federal Subsistence Board is seeking public comments through Oct. 27, 2006 on a proposed rule that would change the rural or nonrural status of several Alaska communities and areas. The Board will make a decision on a final rule at a public meeting in Anchorage on Dec. 12-13, 2006.
The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act requires that rural Alaskans be given a priority for subsistence uses of fish and wildlife on Federal public lands. Only residents of rural communities and areas are eligible for this subsistence priority. The Board initially determined which Alaska communities were rural when the Federal Subsistence Management Program began in 1990. Federal subsistence regulations require that rural/nonrural status be reviewed every 10 years, beginning with the availability of the 2000 census data. An initial staff review, completed in July 2005, recommended that the rural/nonrural status of most Alaska communities should remain unchanged for the proposed rule. However, comments are sought on the following proposed changes:
The nonrural Ketchikan area would be expanded to include all those living on the road system connected to the City of Ketchikan (except Saxman), as well as Pennock Island, and parts of Gravina Island and the entire area would be considered nonrural. However, Saxman would remain separate and rural. With the exception of Saxman, the Board has come to the preliminary conclusion that these areas are economically, socially and communally integrated with the Ketchikan area. In addition, the population of the Ketchikan area, excluding Saxman, is 12,720, which is well above the population threshold in Federal subsistence regulations of 7,000 at which a community or area is presumed to be nonrural.
Adak would change from nonrural to rural. Adak has undergone substantial change that warrants a change in status. Specifically, the population of Adak decreased by 94% from 1990 to 2000, bringing it well below the presumptive rural 2,500 population threshold. It is an extremely remote island community accessible only by boat or plane.
Prudhoe Bay would change from rural to nonrural. The Board has come to the preliminary conclusion that Prudhoe Bay is an industrial enclave built for the sole purpose of extracting oil, with no permanent residents and none of the characteristics typical of a rural community.
Point MacKenzie would be grouped with the nonrural Wasilla area and would change from rural to nonrural. Available information suggests that Point MacKenzie is economically, socially and communally integrated with the Wasilla area. Point MacKenzie is in proximity and road accessible to the Wasilla area, its students attend Wasilla High school and 50 percent of Point MacKenzie workers commute to the Wasilla area for employment.
All of the Sterling census designated place would be included in the nonrural Kenai area. The Sterling CDP has been part of the nonrural Kenai area since 1990. However, for the 2000 census, the Sterling CDP was expanded in size, such that a significant portion extends beyond the current boundary of the nonrural Kenai area.
Fritz Creek East (not including Voznesenka) and the North Fork Road area would be grouped with the nonrural Homer area and would change from rural to nonrural. Available information suggests that these areas are economically, socially and communally integrated with the Homer area. They are in proximity and road-connected with Homer, more than 40 percent of workers commute to the Homer area and most students from these areas attend Homer High School.
The Kodiak area, including the City of Kodiak, the Mill Bay area, the Coast Guard Station, Women's Bay and Bells Flats, would be grouped and would change from rural to nonrural. The population of this area is approximately 12,000, well above the population threshold in Federal subsistence regulations of 7,000 at which a community or area is presumed to be nonrural. (Places excluded from this nonrural grouping are Chiniak, Pasagshak, Anton Larsen, Kalsin Bay and Middle Bay, as well as villages and communities on the Kodiak Archipelago not connected by road to the Kodiak area. These places would remain rural.)
The analysis used by the Board in developing the proposed rule can be found under the "Issues in Depth" section of the Federal Subsistence Management Program website at http://alaska.fws.gov/asm/home.html. The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on Aug. 14, 2006 and can be found on the Federal Subsistence Management Program website.
Written comments on this issue will be accepted through Oct. 27, 2006 and can be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax at (907) 786-3898, or by mail to:
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