JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska —
Conservation, along with fish and wildlife management, for the more than 70,000 acres Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson occupies is no small feat.
Programs such as iSportsman provide the public with tools necessary for undeveloped areas on base to be used for recreation opportunities, while also keeping both the public and military operations safe and thriving.
With the cooperation of state and federal agencies, the installation’s fish and wildlife management program has continued to expand its knowledge of the resident wildlife populations and has become better capable of managing those populations.
Prior to any recreation on the base’s undeveloped areas, individuals 16 years and older must register in the iSportsman system. Those wishing to recreate must purchase a recreational pass for a fee of $10; passes are valid Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. and can be purchased at either of the JBER Visitor Center kiosks or by visiting https://jber.isportsman.net/default.aspx.
Recreation on JBER includes: hiking, cycling, picking/harvesting, sightseeing, running and photography.
“Other activities such as camping and boat rental through Morale, Welfare and Recreation or picnicking at Otter Lake are exempt from iSportsman requirements,” said Mark Sledge, JBER's senior conservation law enforcement officer. “However, hunting and fishing require an iSportsman recreational permit as well as a state-issued hunting/fishing license, even when conducted at an MWR facility/event.”
It is very important permit holder’s sign in/out of the iSportsman system prior to entering the areas normally open for recreation because most of these areas are used for both recreation and training purposes.
“People should keep in mind that although some areas bountiful with berries for picking may also be restricted access or closed areas,” Sledge said. “For example, portions of JBER up Arctic Valley Road are used regularly for training purposes. It is your responsibility to know where you are and are not allowed to be.”
Photographing wildlife and natural areas is a popular activity on JBER. However, photographing military aircraft, vehicles, buildings, personnel or anything else associated with the military is strictly prohibited.
“Using the iSportsman system allows users to know what areas are off limits for training purposes and is updated every day,” said Adam Dubour, research associate for Colorado State University Center for Environmental Management of Military Land. “Obviously it’s a safety issue for the recreational user if they are in a place they shouldn’t be, but it is also a very expensive issue for the military unit that is trying to conduct training if someone goes out there because they didn’t bother to sign in and check that an area is open.”
All major routes heading toward recreation areas have notification signs posted. There are signs at Fairchild and Tally Road as well as at the beginning of Route Bravo and Pole Line Road indicating that a permit is required when recreating in designated areas outside of MWR facilities, such as Otter Lake.
Fees collected from iSportsman pay for the system and go right back into the preservation of natural resources on JBER.
Recreation permits are not base access passes; a pass from security forces must still be acquired if an individual does not already have base access.
For more information on registering for iSportsman and/or obtaining a permit, call 552-8609.