Fort Wainwright lies 120 miles south of the Arctic Circle and encompasses approximately 917,000 acres. The main post comprises 13,700 acres, Tanana Flats Training Area more than 655,000 acres, and the Yukon Training Area 247,952 acres. Fort Wainwright is the home of the United States Army Garrison and units of the United States Army Alaska including the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, also known as the 1-25th SBCT; the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade (Alaska) as well as Medical Department Activity-Alaska. The Fort Wainwright Airfield, also known historically as the Ladd Army Airfield, is located entirely within the boundary of the City of Fairbanks.
Eielson Air Force Base (AFB), located 30 miles southeast of Fairbanks, includes 19,789 acres and hosts the 354th Fighter Wing along with a number of supporting units. Since its early days, Eielson also has been home to weather reconnaissance aircraft, tactical units from Alaskan Air Command, aerial tankers and, most recently, F-16s, A-10s and OA-10s flying close air support and forward air control missions for nearby ground units.
Joint Land Use Study Planning Process
The Army initially nominated Fort Wainwright for the Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) program in concert with Fort Richardson in August 2002. The Air Force subsequently nominated Eielson AFB in September 2003 to be included in the study with Fort Wainwright. Fort Wainwright and Eielson AFB are experiencing land use conflicts due to the limited availability of developable land and infrastructure to direct that development in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. The Borough served as the JLUS study sponsor due to their land use and zoning authority for the land, which encompasses both bases and the surrounding areas. The Borough established JLUS Policy and Technical Advisory Committees to oversee the JLUS effort. Cooperation with the City of Fairbanks was valuable since the City has building code authority for the land around Fort Wainwright’s cantonment area. The City of North Pole and the Village of Moose Creek also were participants.
Completed in June 2006, the JLUS includes recommended actions and strategies to enhance compatible use. Community and military leaders continue to meet regularly as part of the JLUS Policy and Technical Committees to discuss and monitor implementation of the JLUS recommendations. An overview of the JLUS recommendations includes the following items below.
JLUS Recommendations for Local Jurisdictions:
- Establish procedures for military to review local jurisdiction projects.
- Create JLUS Natural Resources Working Group.
- Continue meeting informally for information sharing.
- Strengthen construction codes.
- Amend Title 17 to require note on plat for subdivisions within noise contours.
- Publicize legal requirements for full disclosure in real estate transactions.
- Incorporate military noise contours into the Regional Comprehensive Plan.
- Increase military awareness of civilian land use.
- Adopt encroachment prevention measure.
- Adopt zoning ordinances to limit height of objects around military airports.
- Enforce compatible use zoning.
- Enforce mobile home and noise sensitive compatibility.
- Maintain residential densities within existing and future noise sensitive areas.
JLUS Recommendations for the Military:
- Monitor and provide input on land use.
- Coordinate training schedules.
- Continue noise complaint management process and night time firing notifications.
- Strengthen public outreach.
- Develop information and education program for natural resource management.
- Build information kiosks.
- Post local military noise contour maps and related information on the web.
- Consider identification and acquisition of land to protect from encroachment.
- Pursue funding for conservation land purchases.
- Augment noise management program.
- Maintain up-to-date noise contours in GIS.
- Avoid flying over residential area to the extent practicable.
- Study the potential to locate or relocate firing areas.
- Continue ongoing convoy permitting.
- Consider a formal Memorandum of Understanding with state and federal resource agencies.
- Maintain access cards permit system for snowmachiners.
- Study longer term lease agreements.
- Strengthen implementation of Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans.
- Maintain two-year renewal duration for recreational access permits.
- Maintain automated phone check-in system for recreation activities in training areas.
- Fund conservation officers.
- Partner with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to create one-stop permit shop for hunting/fishing.
Fairbanks North Star Borough Joint Land Use Study