- All ANCSA Village and Regional Corporations, Alaska Registered Land Surveyors, State Agencies, Native Organizations, and Law Firms involved with ANCSA 14(c) Issues
- Deputy State Director for Cadastral Survey and Geomatics, Alaska State Office
- Modification of BLM ANCSA 14 (c) Amended Policy Statement
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) re-issued the Amended Policy Statement of Preparation and Processing of the Map of Boundaries under ANCSA 14(c) on April 18, 1990 (the original Policy Statement was issued October 16, 1987). Item number 9 of the Amended Policy indicated that the “official filing date” of the Map of Boundaries is the date the BLM formally “accepts” the Map after review and examination of the village corporation’s submission. This “official filing date” has been the date used to initiate the Alaska National Interests Conservation Act (ANILCA) Section 902(b) one-year statute of limitations for challenges to the accepted Map of Boundaries.
The recent Federal District Court decision, Martin Andrews, Sr. v. Stebbins Native Corporation, No. 96-0004-CV (D. Ak. Mar. 26, 1998) (order granting summary judgment), stated that the BLM has been using the wrong date to initiate the Section 902(b) statute of limitations. The decision indicated that federal regulations require that the BLM use the date of postmark of the accepted Map as the “date of filing” for purposes of the Section 902(b) statute of limitations rather than the date of “acceptance” of the Map by BLM.
The BLM is re-issuing the enclosed Amended Policy to bring it into compliance with this recent court decision. If you have any questions concerning this Amended Policy or the BLM ANCSA 14(c) Program in general, feel free to contact Allan Breitzman, ANCSA 14(c) Specialist at the address [set forth above] or by phoning him at 271-5606.
George P. Oviatt
Deputy State Director
for Cadastral Survey
and Geomatics, Alaska
United States Department of the Interior
Bureau of Land Management
Alaska State Office
222 W. 7th Avenue, #13
Anchorage, Alaska 99513-7599
October 16, 1987
- Minor revisions:
- April 18, 1990
- May 8, 1998
Amended Policy Statement for Preparation and Processing of the Map of Boundaries under ANCSA 14(c)
The purpose of this policy statement is to provide guidelines for the preparation of a Map of Boundaries as required by 43 CFR 2650.5-4. The submission of a uniform Map of Boundaries will enable the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Division of Cadastral Survey and Geomatics to execute an efficient survey program for the 14(c) lands which will meet the applicants requirements in a more timely manner.
If at all possible, the Map of Boundaries should be submitted in total. In accordance with 43 CFR Section 2650.5-4(c)(2) “(l)ands shown by the records of the Bureau of Land Management as not having been conveyed to the village corporation will be executed by adjustments on the map.”
1. The map is intended to include all 14(c) tracts which are to be surveyed. The map should be prepared on an enlargement of the best and latest aerial photography available or on a reproducible media such as a mylar or acetate photo overlay at the same scale. A scale of 1 inch = 50 feet or 1 inch = 100 feet is best for 14(c)(1) and (2) lots in a crowded village situation. A scale of 1 inch = 200 feet or larger is usually adequate for 14(c)(3) grants or outlaying subsistence tracts. In some cases, BLM’s Branch of Mapping Science may have the best photography available; in other cases, the photography may have to be purchased from another government agency or a private aerial photo contractor. In either case, BLM is usually able to refer one to the best available source for aerial photographs. If the available photographs do not encompass all the tracts involved, a supplemental sheet of the same scale as the photo may be added to cover the immediate surrounding area. Delineated thereon will be the majority of:
a. 14(c)(1): Tracts occupied as a primary place of residence.
b. 14(c)(1): Tracts occupied as a primary place of business.
c. 14(c)(2): Tracts occupied by nonprofit organizations.
d. 14(c)(3): The boundaries of municipal lands for community expansion and/or city maintained lots or rights-of-ways.
e. 14(c)(4): Tracts utilized for airport sites, airways beacons, and other navigation aids.
2. The tracts which cannot feasibly be shown on the photo because of their remote locations from the village proper can be shown on U.S. Geological survey (USGS) quadrangle (1:63,360) maps.
14(c) tracts shown on the USGS quadrangle map will generally include:
a. 14(c)(1) remote claims: Subsistence campsites and headquarters for reindeer husbandry.
b. 14(c)(3): That portion of the municipal lands not included in the village photo.
c. Any other tracts identified under ANCSA Section 14(c) not included in the village photo.
Any enlarged drawing and written description for each individual tract or group of tracts will be shown on a separate sheet. These supplemental drawings will include the scale, date, north arrow, topographic features (lakes, rivers, swamps, ridges, etc), any improvements to include, description of corner markings, bearings (or approximate directions such as northwesterly, southeasterly, etc.), and distances of boundary lines, applicant’s name, and a reference (number or name) corresponding to the site location as shown on the USGS quadrangle maps. Examples of the preceding requirements may be obtained from the BLM (AK-925).
3. In accordance with 43 CFR Section 2650.5-4(b), BLM will survey the exterior boundaries of all “… tracts required by law to be conveyed by the village corporations pursuant to section 14(c) of the Act.” For the convenience of the village corporations and the surveyors, the Map of Boundaries may include vacant lots, lots occupied after December 18, 1971, and other non-14(c) lots. However, non-14(c) lots must be clearly identified as such and will not be surveyed by BLM.
4. Federal Regulation 43 CFR 2650-4(c)(1) states that the boundaries of all Section 14(c) reconveyances shall be identified (staked or marked) on the ground, as well as shown on the Map of Boundaries. The location of the individual corners should be marked on the ground with durable materials to eliminate the possibility of boundary conflicts with adjacent tracts and to assure the actual location of the tract. Each tract should also be identified as to location by one of the following means:
a. A tie to an existing survey monument of record.
b. Natural features (river frontage, etc.).
c. Occupancy (ties to improvement thereon).
d. A tie to an adjacent (located) 14(c) tracts.
e. Written metes-and-bounds description.
5. Roads, trails and/or reconveyance easements which are proposed but not constructed must be staked or marked on the ground. Existing rights-of-ways will be surveyed along an apparent centerline. Street names and/or label distinctions for rights-of-ways must be designated on the Map of Boundaries and will be noted by name on the final ANCSA 14(c) plat(s).
6. It is essential that conflicts among potential claimants identified under the ANCSA 14(c) reconveyances or between transferees and the village corporation be resolved before submission of the Map of Boundaries. Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), Section 902(b) provides a one (1) year “statute of limitations” for such actions that may require judicial review. (See Appendix)
7. Any Map of Boundaries will have a title block identifying the municipality (or unincorporated village) and the village corporation. Also shown within the title block will be the following certification statement: “To the best of our knowledge, all conflicts concerning property lines shown on this Map of Boundaries have been resolved.” In addition, the Map of Boundaries will contain the statement: “This Map of Boundaries represents the final discharge of all the Corporation’s obligations under ANCSA 14(c).”
Separate signature lines shall be included in the title block which state: “The Map of Boundaries shown hereon has been received and reviewed by the Division of Cadastral Survey and Geomatics, Bureau of Land Management, Alaska State Office, and is ‘accepted’ for filing according to Section 902(b) of ANILCA.” This statement is to be signed and dated by the Special Instructions Team Leader. Another line should state: “This Map of Boundaries is hereby ‘approved’ to be used as the Plan of Survey for the ANCSA 14(c) parcels shown hereon,” to be signed and dated by Chief, Branch of Survey Preparation and Policy Interpretation.
The Map of Boundaries will be accompanied by a corporate resolution authorizing the Map of Boundaries and designating the corporate officer to sign and submit the map. Written agreements must be included when 14(c)(3) selections total less than 1280 acres, per Section 1405 of ANILCA.
8. The Bureau of Land Management will examine and review each submitted map for conformance with laws, regulations and policies, ensuring that the map and descriptions are complete enough to warrant an ANCSA 14(c) survey. This review and examination should be completed within 30 calendar days and the Map of Boundaries will either be accepted by Bureau of Land Management or returned to the Village Corporation for additional information.
9. If the Map of Boundaries is accepted, the start of the one-year statute of limitations for challenging each corporation’s ANCSA 14(c) decisions, as identified by Section 902(b) of ANILCA, will date back to the “official filing date” of the Map. The “official filing date,” as defined in 43 CFR Section 2650.0-5(m), is the date of postmark of the final accepted version of the Map. If the postmark cannot be ascertained or was hand delivered, the official filing date becomes the date of receipt by BLM.
If the Map is returned one or more times for additional information or completely rejected by BLM, the “official filing date” which will commence the Section 902(b) statute of limitations will be the date of postmark of the submitted additional information which completes the Map. If the Map has been rejected in total, the “official filing date” will be the date of postmark of the final accepted version of the Map.
The BLM will notify village residents of the acceptance of the Map and the commencement of the period for challenging the corporation’s decision by publishing a Public Notice in local and statewide newspapers and requesting that the local Postmaster post a Notice in the local Post Office. The BLM will also inform the Village Corporation of the acceptance in writing and circulate such notification through ANCSA 14(c) support agencies.
10. A village corporation which has no 14(c)(1), (2) and/or (4) obligations should submit a letter to the Bureau of Land Management certifying that fact. This letter will serve as a “Final Map of Boundaries,” and should be signed by the appropriate designated corporate officer and accompanied by a corporate resolution authorizing the submission. The postmark date of this letter will be considered the “official filing date,” which will formally start the one-year statute of limitations.
11. Some villages may elect to hire a private surveyor to survey all or a portion of their land for reconveyance purposes. In such cases, that village corporation must pay the entire cost of such contract survey with no present or future reimbursement by BLM’s ANCSA 14(c) survey program.
Those ANCSA 14(c) surveys done under private contract with a village corporation will be documented with BLM prior to the actual survey. Assignment Instructions will be issued and the final ANCSA 14(c) plats will be reviewed by BLM, to insure their sufficiency as “federally mandated” 14(c) surveys. A letter of compliance from the Deputy State Director of Cadastral Survey and Geomatics will be required to accompany the plat(s) before they will be accepted for recording at the local Recording District. See: ANCSA 14(c) Private Survey Policy of February 7, 1990.
12. All ANCSA 14(c) reconveyances are the responsibility of each village corporation. BLM does not have any authority to adjudicate transfer decisions. Any dispute over 14(c) reconveyances must be resolved between the village corporation, each city (or the Municipal Trustee on behalf of an unincorporated community), individuals or any other claimant(s). The only certain method by which a village corporation can receive protection under ANILCA Section 902(b) is to file a Map of Boundaries.
13. Survey of the 14(c) parcels will not be scheduled until the Final Map of Boundaries has been received and approved by BLM.
BLM will not normally approve a Map of Boundaries until after the one year statute of limitations expires. However, when funding is available, BLM will approve a Map of Boundaries earlier and proceed to survey if a village corporation is willing to sign a “waiver” stating that it will bear the responsibility for any additional survey required because of post-approval changes or amendments. This would include the entire cost of the additional surveying and/or platting and would require the services of a private surveyor.
14. Any changes or amendments to the Final Map of Boundaries, after it has been submitted to the BLM and accepted, but not surveyed, will be handled as follows:
Changes or amendments which clarify or alter a description on the accepted Map of Boundaries will be incorporated into the Plan of Survey by the BLM prior to the actual field survey. These changes or amendments will be submitted as amended Maps of Boundaries and will not require any posting of Public Notice by the BLM or any changes in the one-year statute of limitations, unless the affected parties do not agree with the changes.
If any parties whose rights are affected by the changes or alterations do not consent to them, then a new statute of limitations period will begin. This new limitations period runs for only those changes to which the affected parties did not consent. The new challenge period will begin with the “Date of Filing” of the amended Map of Boundaries. The village corporation shall be responsible for notifying the parties affected by any amendment to a Map of Boundaries. If any affected parties cannot be personally notified, the village corporation shall be responsible for posting and publishing notice of the proposed changes.
George P. Oviatt
Deputy State Director
for Cadastral Survey
and Geomatics, Alaska
APPENDIX – Amended Policy Statement
ANCSA 14(c) – May 8, 1998
Definition of Terms
Map of Boundaries: The initial map submitted by Village Corporation of the BLM describing boundaries of tracts to be reconveyed pursuant to ANCSA Section 14(c).
Date of Filing: The date of postmark of the accepted version of the Map of Boundaries. If the postmark cannot be ascertained or was hand delivered, the official filing date becomes the date of receipt by BLM. This is the “official filing date” and commences the one-year statute of limitations contained in ANILCA Section 902(b).
Date of Acceptance: The date of the BLM accepts a Map of Boundaries as complying with the requirements of the Policy Statement.
Partial Map of Boundaries: A Map of Boundaries for a partial reconveyance of ANCSA Section 14(c) selections.
Final Map of Boundaries: A Map of Boundaries submitted by a Village Corporation that contains all known obligations to reconvey and pursuant to ANCSA Section 14(c).
Date of Approval: The date of BLM approves the final map of boundaries.
Plan of Survey: The approved Final Map of Boundaries becomes the Plan of Survey used to guide the survey of the ANCSA Section 14(c) reconveyances.
ANCSA 14(c) References
- Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), December 1, 1980, Public Law 96-487.
- Section 902(b), “Statute of Limitations”
- Section 1404(a), (b), (c), “Vesting Date for Reconveyances”
- Section 1405, “Reconveyance to Municipal Corporations”
- Section 1437, “Reconveyance; Disputes”
ANCSA Public Law 92-2-3 (85 Stat. 703) December 18, 1971 and ANILCA PL 96-487 (Sec. 1404 & 1405) December 2, 1980
Sec. 14(c) Each patent issued pursuant to subsections (s) and (b) shall be subject to the requirements of this subsection. Upon receipt of a patent or patents:
(1) the Village Corporation shall first convey to any Native or non-Native occupant, without consideration, titles to the surface estate in the tract occupied as of December 18, 1971 (except that occupancy of tracts located in the Pribilof islands shall be determined as of the date of initial conveyance of such tracts to the appropriate Village Corporation) as a primary place of residence or as a primary place of business, or as a subsistence campsite, or as headquarters for reindeer husbandry;
(2) the Village Corporation shall then convey to the occupant, either without consideration or upon payment of an amount not in excess of fair market value, determined as of the date of initial occupancy and without regard to any improvements thereon, title to the surface estate in any tract occupied, as of December 18, 1971, by a non-profit organization;
(3) the Village Corporation shall then convey to any Municipal Corporation in the Native Village or to the State in trust for any Municipal Corporation established in the Native Village in the future, title to the remaining surface estate of the improved land on which the Native Village is located and as much additional land as is necessary for community expansion, and appropriate rights-of-way for public use, and other foreseeable community needs: (Provided), that the amount of lands to be transferred to the Municipal Corporation or in trust shall be no less than 1,280 acres unless the Village Corporation and the Municipal Corporation or the State In Trust can agree in writing on an amount which is less than one thousand two hundred and eighty acres: (Provided further), That any net revenues derived from the sale of surface resources harvested or extracted from land reconveyed pursuant to this subsection shall be paid to the Village Corporation by the Municipal Corporation or the State In Trust: (Provided, however), That the word “sale” as used in the preceding sentence, shall not include the utilization of surface resources for governmental purposes by the Municipal Corporation or the State In Trust, nor shall it include the issuance of free use permits or other authorization for such purposes;
(4) the Village Corporation shall convey to the Federal government, State or to the appropriate Municipal Corporation, title to the surface estate for airport sites, airway beacons, and other navigation aids as such existed on December 18, 1971, together with such additional acreage and/or easements as are necessary to provide related governmental services and to insure safe approaches to airport runways as such airport sites, runways, and other facilities existed as of December 18, 1971.