The Bureau of Land Management has conveyed the final 4,516 acres to the Hooper Bay Sea Lion Native Corporation as required under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. The entitlement lands are located are north east of Hooper Bay near the Askinuk Mountains.
The final arrangement included a transfer of 1,280 acres from Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge in exchange 1,481 acres of prime coastal wetlands and waterfowl habitat.
This modifies an exchange from March of this year when the corporation gave 5,154 acres of upland habitat to the Refuge. They received 13,208 acres of subsurface rights plus 2,499 of additional land in March.
Myron Naneng is Chairman and President of the corporation. He says the final arrangement could allow the community of 1,100 to expand.
“I think we’ll work with our own village of Hooper Bay to see what future expansion they might consider with the land we’ve gotten especially around the village so we could consider a community expansion, working with both the tribal and city government for the betterment and welfare of the with community,” said Naneng.
The lands for the refuge includes important wetland habitat for threatened birds like spectacled and Stellar’s eiders.
The corporation received some subsurface rights with exchange, which Naneng says could have some long-term advantages:
“At some point we want to get more subsurface estate so that maybe we can do oil and gas exploration if need be with high energy costs. We need to find ways to reduce energy costs around our village,” said Naneng.
The Sea Lion Corporation has received 188,160 acres since its ANCSA conveyances began in 1982.