Sunday, September 23, 2012

How to Get a J.B.E.R. Recreation Pass

JBER, or Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, is the Air Force and Army Base located in Anchorage. You may ask yourself: "Why in God's name would I willingly enter into a federal government bureaucracy goat rodeo to hike on a military installation?" Good question, and the answer is that unfortunately JBER owns some really cool Chugach peaks and lakes.
  • Peaks: Snowhawk, Ship Creek Hill, Kanchee, Knoya, Tikisla, West Tanaina
  • Lakes: Tanaina, Long Lake!
  • Peaks straddling JBER / Chugach State Park: Temptation, East Tanaina, Koktoya
Many hikers opt to ignore the permitting process. Typically there are no consequences and everyone has a nice day, but there are potential downsides. The fines suck but seem minor compared to hiking into a military training exercise that is using live ammo. The latter happened to a buddy few years ago in Snowhawk Valley. So now he gets proper authorization and yesterday he walked me through the process.  The entire process is fun, easy, straightforward, and not-at-all frustrating! Hooray!
  1. Go to the JBER Recreation Access web page: click here
    • This page has general information and links to maps you will need later
  2. Register for permit: click here
    • Enter your name and they issue you a permit number and PIN 
    • This will be your number and PIN for the entire year
    • Click on "Permit Card" and print
  3. Once you have a permit, you now need to go to the base to get vetted
    • Are you kidding me?
    • Throw something across the room
    • Drive to Boniface Visitor Control Center
      • Boniface exit from the Glenn Highway heading away from the mountains
  4. Now you are ready to sign in for your planned adventure:
    • Click here or call 855-703-9176
    • Chose your activity and locations from drop down menus
    • Location choices conveniently consist solely of numbers between 402 and 431
    • Begin to lose your mind
    • Put on 590 AM and listen to the smooth hits and try to control your rage
    • Link to the map with decoder ring: click here
    • Enter in the area(s) you plan to access
  5. Everyone in your party needs a permit number
    • Start yelling at inantimate objects
    • Break something, anything will do, just smash it good 
    • Follow Steps 1 through 4 for each person who plans to hike
  6. Well, time for lunch now
    • Have about 3 beers and 2 shots
  7. It looks like there's some weather rolling in 
  8. Try again next weekend
  9. Don't forget to sign out when you are done for the day

Some tips to enhance your fun:
  • The Recreation Area is closed from 11 PM to 6 AM, so no camping!!
  • Speed limits on JBER property are strictly enforced!!
Phone numbers for additional information:
  • 855-703-9176  Automated sign in / sign out
  • 907-384-2916  Visitor Center
  • 907-552-4029  Security
  • 907-284-0823  Fort Richardson Military Police
It is a toss up whether anyone will answer at these numbers and there is no voicemail either.  

Chose life.
 - U.K.