Matanuska-Susitna Borough


For most of the Mat-Su Borough, fireworks are prohibited year-round, except between 5:00 p.m. on New Year's Eve and 1:00 a.m. on New Years Day. For most of the Mat-Su Borough, fireworks are prohibited on the Fourth of July.

There are plans for a rail line at Port MacKenzie. The Alaska Railroad (ARRC) has teamed with the Matanuska-Susitna Borough (MSB) to design and construct a rail extension from the Parks Highway to Port MacKenzie. The rail extension project is owned and operated by ARRC, and the MSB, as owner of Port MacKenzie, is the project sponsor. The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has approved the Environmental Impact Statement and selected a route to construct a 32.1 mile rail line from the Parks Highway to Port MacKenzie.

We have secured much of the funding needed to begin construction of the rail extension, but are waiting on the Record of Decision before procurement can begin. More detailed information on the Port MacKenzie Rail Extension project may be found at or on the ARRC’s website at: under “solicitations.” This legacy project will be of great benefit to the entire State of Alaska by providing a shorter distance to tidewater for bulk transport of goods and commodities between Port MacKenzie and Interior Alaska. The rail extension has the potential to open new markets for minerals and stimulate the creation of new Alaskan jobs.

You do not need a wetland fill permit to develop uplands on you property, if wetland areas can be avoided completely. Indirect impacts may require consultation with the Corps, especially if work is being conducted near waterways. If your activity is located in an area of tidal waters, the best way to avoid the need for a permit is to select a site that is above the high tide line and avoids wetlands or other waterbodies. In the vicinity of fresh water, stay above ordinary high water and avoid wetlands adjacent to the stream or lake.

Driving off-highway recreational vehicles through wetlands is not usually regulated. However, keep in mind driving over vegetation and rutting the soil is damaging to the wetland ecosystem functions. Traversing wetlands in ATVs or snowmachines in winter or after the soil is frozen will minimize potential impacts.

A Corps permit is required whether the disturbance is permanent or temporary. Examples of temporary discharges include dewatering of dredged material prior to final disposal, installation of underground utilities, and temporary fills for access roadways, cofferdams, storage, and work areas. Some projects may fall under existing general permits or exemptions.

To remove woody debris, including debris accumulated from beaver dams, you do not need a permit.  However, any disturbance to the streambed or stream bank requires a permit, and if the stream is navigable or recognized as navigable waters of the U.S., you will need a permit.

Maybe. Excavation resulting in incidental discharge or other soil disturbance in a wetland may require a permit from the Corps. However, some habitat enhancement projects may fall under existing general permits or exemptions. Additional authorization from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and other Land and Water Use Permits from the State may apply depending on project impacts.

All handling, loading, and unloading services are the responsibility of the shipper, vessel owner, or agent. Completion of the Port MacKenzie Terminal Operator Permit is required for any qualified agent desiring to provide longshore services at the terminal facilities.

Yes. If you are transported in an ambulance there will be a fee. We try to collect most of the charges from any insurance that is available, but there is a bill. The charges depend on what the patient needs. Please do not hesitate to call 9-1-1 for an ambulance should you feel one is needed. Your health and life are important to us and any delay in calling for an ambulance can be critical. We will work with you on payments, if necessary, after we take care of your medical needs.

Yes, you can contact The Economic Development Department at (907) 861-8519, or visit the business incentives page.

A privately owned 5’ wide conveyor capable of loading bulk commodities at 2,000 tons/hour. A 230 ton Manitowoc and a 3900 Manitowoc crawler crane (100 ton) are available for lease.

There are several things you can do to make your home safer:

  • Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms (see below for more info).
  • Have an ABC fire extinguisher in the kitchen, garage, and anywhere else where there is an increased risk of fire. Learn how to properly use it.
  • Don't smoke in bed.
  • Do not leave candles unattended. Make sure they are away from curtains or other flammable objects and on a large table where they can't be easily knocked over.
  • Develop an escape plan and make sure your kids know it.
  • Teach your children about 911 and be sure they know their address and phone number.
  • Have your house number clearly marked on the side of the road and on the house. Reflective numbers work best.
  • Make sure street signs for all roads leading to your house are in place. If some are missing, call the Borough to get them replaced.
  • Know the directions to your house from the nearest fire station. Sometimes we get directions to come in from the opposite direction, which slows our response.
  • Clear brush at least 30 feet from your house and any other structures to minimize the risk of a wildfire extending to your home.
  • Maximize your use of non-flammable siding and roofing materials. Natural wood walls and cedar shingles are not a good choice.
  • Don't burn on windy days, near brush, or near structures. Have water on hand. Do not leave a burn unattended. Follow all Forestry rules on burning (printed on your burn permit).
  • If you use space heaters, buy ones that are Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approved and that will automatically shut off if tipped over.  Do not place them near curtains or anything else flammable. Make sure they are properly ventilated.
  • Have your chimney inspected before firing up your wood stove for the first time in the fall.
  • Make sure your driveway is clear and wide enough for an emergency vehicle.
  • Store flammables outside the house.

Ensure all Christmas lights are UL approved.  Do not put candles on trees.


  • Ensure live trees are kept watered. A dry tree can become completely engulfed in flames in seconds, taking the room with it.
  • Don't leave lights on when nobody is home.
  • Don't connect too many strands of lights together.
  • Make sure wires aren't frayed. Make sure connections aren't touching anything, especially metal or flammable objects (like tree branches).
  • Don't leave candles unattended. Make sure they aren't near anything flammable and won't tip over.

The presence of a wetland is determined by a scientific process that evaluates hydric indicators in soil, vegetation and hydrology. This process is usually conducted in the field, during the growing season, and by a qualified wetland delineator. To get an idea of whether there are wetlands on your property, you can visit the Borough’s Wetland Viewer page; however, this resource does not replace the need for professional on-site delineation of the wetland boundary

Click HERE for instructions.

Mounting instructions are included with your Knox Box purchase. Install the Knox Box no higher than 5 feet from the ground, on the front of building, near the main entrance. If installation is within the Central Mat-Su Fire Service Area, contact the Michelle Wagner in the Fire Code Office (907-861-8030) to schedule a site visit and lock your access key(s) inside the box. For all other service areas within the Borough, contact Casey Laughlin (907-861-8005). See the Knox Box website for instructions on proper mounting and the "hammer" test video.

Only a qualified wetland delineator or staff from the Corps can delineate wetlands. The determination of which wetlands are federally regulated and where exactly the boundary is must be approved by the Corps.

For interest in using port, contact:
Therese Dolan, Port Operations Manager
(907) 861-7799

Wetlands absorb tremendous amounts of water in their soils and in plant roots and stems. For example, trees can store hundreds of gallons of water in their trunks. When wetlands are filled, the capacity for them to absorb water is diminished, resulting in standing water in your yard or accumulation of water in lower levels of your home such as in the basement or crawlspace.

Two to three months are typically required to process a routine application involving a public notice. You should apply as early as possible to be sure you have all required approvals before your planned project start date. For a large or complex activity that may take longer, it is often helpful to have a "pre-application consultation" or informal meeting with the Corps during the early planning phase of your project. You may receive helpful information at this point which could prevent delays later.

You should have smoke detectors on every floor and in every bedroom. They should be located at the highest point on the ceiling. Try to locate them away from your stove, since frequent false alarms tempt people to disconnect them. Check them regularly to make sure the batteries are good. We recommend changing the batteries every time you change your clocks forward or back an hour.

Costs of a rain garden vary based on size and how much the landowner can accomplish themselves. The most expensive cost is usually excavation. Other costs include plants, mulch, and soil.

Most permits issued by the Corps do not have a permit fee.  Individual Permits have fees of $10 for individuals and $100 for businesses once the permit has been issued and accepted by the applicant.  Permit fees do not include wetland delineation, which are charged by wetland professionals hired by the applicant to perform the delineation. Additional costs may be incurred for building site plans developed by a contractor or engineer and other building permits required by local government.

The Knox Box itself is a high security key vault that is UL listed against physical attack.

Rain gardens can still infiltrate some water during winter. Rain gardens will work to catch snowmelt. Recommended rain garden plants are hardy, native, perennial plants that will survive harsh winter weather.

Stop by Station 65 on the corner of Palmer Wasilla Highway and Seward Meridian Parkway, or call Stephanie at 861-8007. To be a firefighter, you must be in reasonably good health, have a valid driver's license, and pass a background check. We will provide all of the training you need, free of charge. You must be willing to make a commitment, though. We train at least once a week, and the pager can go off at any time of the day or week. The first year will be especially hard while you take the required training classes.

Make sure you inspect the property during the wettest time of the year and that it is suitable for your potential plans. The presence of wetlands could potentially impact development plans.  One could ask the seller to produce an approved wetland delineation prior to closing on the property.

Please contact our ambulance billing office at (907) 861-8564. Our billing specialist will be happy to assist you.

First, you can only burn wood, brush, and ordinary household trash. You cannot burn anything that produces black smoke.

Burn permits are required from April 1st through the end of August. You can pick up a permit and instructions at your local fire department or from the Department of Forestry. You can also find one on line at

If you are burning within the City of Palmer, please contact Palmer Fire Station, Monday - Friday at 745-3709.

We do ask that you use common sense throughout the year if you plan to burn. Have the appropriate equipment, people and a water supply on the site. If it is windy, please take that into consideration and wait until it is calm. You can also call our dispatch center at 745-4811 to let them know the location of the burn in case someone sees the flames or smoke and calls 9-1-1.

If you can, take a closer look.  It may just be your neighbor's burn barrel.  Or you neighbor's house may be burning down. If it is a legal, controlled burn (with a permit, not in danger of spreading to a house or the woods) and there is a responsible party on location with water and equipment, then do not call us. If there is black smoke or the burn is illegal in some other way, DIAL 911. Give the dispatcher all the information and directions. Stay in the area to help better direct us in when we arrive. Make sure the dispatcher has a call back number for you.

By checking on the fire first, you will be able to provide us with more detailed information, allowing us to send the appropriate response to the fire.

Any soil disturbance in wetlands will generally require a permit, but some projects may fall under existing general permits or exemptions.

Yes. The Borough, state, and local government entities have no authority to authorize wetland impacts under federal jurisdiction. Contact the Corps before beginning work in wetlands or waters to determine if a permit is required or if a general permit or exemption may apply. Work which may affect fish bearing waters may require additional authorization from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Maybe. Wetland permits are required by federal law and only address the application of fill into a wetland. The structure or activity itself may also require additional authorization at the state, borough, and/or local levels of government (Palmer, Wasilla).

The Borough wetland maps are a good resource to identify the location of known wetlands, but are not the definitive answer for determination of wetlands subject to federal regulations. Wetland maps are drawn using aerial photography and low resolution topographic maps which may or may not pick up on every wetland area or may fail to reveal the full extent of a wetland area. Only a qualified wetland delineator can determine the location of the wetland boundaries and only the Corps can certify that the boundary is accurate.

The best practice is to avoid all impacts to streams and wetlands. When this is unavoidable, contact your Corps office to determine how to minimize the area impacted and whether a permit is needed. Stringent limits are placed on activities that cause anything other than minimal impacts to the water body or aquatic environment. There are additional prohibitions and limitations on special aquatic resources, tidal waters, and other classes of waters.

Yes, we have 14.7 acres available on the barge dock that can be utilized for temporary storage of materials as well as 14 square miles of uplands available for commercial lease. Contact Marc Van Dongen, Port Director at (907) 861-7798 or for specific information.

Zoning and land use regulations do exist on all property within the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. There is NO "Unrestricted" land in the Borough. Different rules apply in different locations. Permits are required for many uses. Other Borough departments, plus State, and Federal Agencies may also have additional rules and require additional permits for development or use. Land owners, developers and users, are responsible for learning about and complying with all applicable rules.

Yes.  Give your local fire station a call at 861-8000. We can arrange to visit your child and explain to them the dangers of playing with matches. We also are willing to talk to schools and other community organizations about fire safety.

Wetlands are most obvious in the spring, after the ground is thawed and saturated with snowmelt. However, while some areas dry out over the course of the growing season, wetlands form where there is saturation long enough for the vegetation and soil to develop the indicators determining they are wetlands. Ask a qualified wetland delineator to evaluate areas that are suspect if you are planning a project in areas you notice are usually wet, even if only in the spring.

Port MacKenzie is located in Upper Cook Inlet which has a tidal range of 41 feet, among the highest in the world. Port MacKenzie consists of a 14.7 acres barge dock with a 500’ bulkhead at -20’ mean lower low water (MLLW), a 1,200’ long deep-draft dock at -60’ MLLW, and 9,033 acres (14 square miles) of adjacent uplands which are available for commercial lease. There is a filter rock ramp adjacent to the south wingwall of the barge dock which is useable one hour before high tide until one hour after high tide for vessels with ramps. The barge dock has a gravel surface with a load capacity of 1,000 lbs./sq ft. The deep-draft dock is equipped with a 5’ wide conveyor system capable of loading bulk commodities at 2,000 tons/hour. There is a 7,000 square foot terminal building located on the barge dock with office space available for lease.

There are many different factors regarding setbacks. Learn more on the Code Compliance page.

Activities in wetlands that do not disturb the soil or require work in federally designated waters are allowed without a permit from the Corps.  Examples of activities include cutting woody vegetation above the soil surface, without removing the stumps; mowing; and traversing wetlands in winter with equipment after the ground is frozen. Other exempt activities are included on the EPA’s Wetlands website. It is always recommended that you contact the Corps prior to conducting any work that may affect a wetland or navigable waterway.

Remain calm. If your house is on fire, get everyone out, then dial 911. Give the dispatcher all of the information you have. If everyone is out, tell them. Give the address and directions to the fire. Do whatever the dispatcher tells you to. Only try to put the fire out if you can do so without risking injury to yourself or others.

Get out of the house and call 9-1-1.  Do not open doors and windows UNLESS someone is feeling ill or cannot get out.  By leaving the windows shut, we can get a reading with our detector and maybe find the source.  This way we can also find out if it was a false alarm, or if there really is a problem in your house.  Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, and can only be detected with a special meter.  It replaces oxygen in your blood and can kill you by starving your body of oxygen.

If someone feels nauseous, dizzy, unusually tired, or otherwise 'out of it,' they may be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.  It is important that they get fresh air and immediate medical attention.  If someone is sick, make sure you tell the dispatcher so that enough ambulances are sent along with fire trucks.

Do not put carbon monoxide detectors near stoves, furnaces, fire places, or garages.  These will produce some carbon monoxide which may build up in the detector over time, producing a false alarm.  We recommend getting detectors with a digital reading and placing them in or near bedrooms.

By having your heating system serviced regularly, you can prevent carbon monoxide problems.  Also, remember that anything that runs off of gas or propane will produce carbon monoxide.  This includes natural gas clothes dryers and propane fueled refrigerators.  You must have these appliances properly ventilated.  Poorly ventilated fireplaces and wood stoves can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide, and it is even possible for slowly burning food and dirt in an electric oven to produce some CO.

Wetlands serve important functions relating to fish and wildlife; food chain production; habitat; nesting; spawning; rearing and resting sites for aquatic and land species; protection of other areas from wave action and erosion; storage areas for storm and flood waters; natural recharge areas where ground and surface water are interconnected; and natural water filtration and purification functions.

Our ambulance crews are professionals, trained to know what should be done in an emergency. They will evaluate you.  If they believe you should be transported, they will try to convince you as to why you should seek the opinion of a physician. If you still refuse, we will ask you to sign a form stating that you refused our care to relieve us from liability, should your condition later worsen. You will also be advised to call 9-1-1 or seek treatment should your condition worsen. There is no charge if you are not transported via ambulance.

A Knox Box is part of a high-security key box system, designed to give firefighters and emergency services immediate access to locked buildings, elevators, and other secured areas.

Discharge of fill material includes: placement of fill material that is necessary for the construction of any structure requiring rock, sand, dirt, or other material for its construction; site-development fills for recreational, industrial, commercial, residential, and other uses; causeways or road fills; dams and dikes; artificial islands; property protection or reclamation devices such as riprap, groins, seawalls, breakwaters, and revetments; beach nourishment; levees; fill for intake and outfall pipes and sub-aqueous utility lines; fill associated with the creation of ponds; and any other work involving the discharge of fill or dredged material.

Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO). Visit their website for a full listing of services and information.

Fire Service Area (FSA)
ISO Rating
West Lakes (Big Lake/Meadow Lks) 5/10
Butte 6
Caswell 10
Houston, City of 8B/10
Palmer, City of 4/8B
Palmer, Greater Palmer FSA 6




Wasilla 4/8B
Willow 8B

We have the deepest draft capability in upper Cook Inlet. The largest vessel we have docked at our Port has been a Super Panamax vessel with a length of 754’ and depth of 45.3’; we have docked many Panamax Class vessels and have the capability of docking Cape Class vessels. The face of our Deep-Draft dock is 1200’ at -60’ at Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW).

Latitude: 61° degrees, 16' seconds, north 05.1975; Longitude: 149° degrees, 55' seconds, west 01.4174

Regularly water your rain garden the first summer of installation. Some weeding may also be necessary over time in your garden. Rain gardens with native perennial plants should not require much maintenance once they are established.

Port MacKenzie has 3-Phase electrical power, power capstans, quick release hooks, two fire hydrants, high mast lights, and a telephone booth. Fuel service, waste oil disposal, and garbage disposal may be contracted as needed.

There are many animal shelters and rescue groups in the valley. For a complete listing of these, please look in the yellow pages or visit the following website:

We specialize in bulk commodities such as gravel, coal, wood chips, cement, etc. However, we have also shipped modular homes, oil field modules for the North Slope, logs, and heavy equipment.

There are generally two types of activities which require a permit from the Corps; activities within navigable waters and discharge or fill into the waters of the United States. Activities in navigable waters, such as dredging, construction of docks and bulkheads and placing navigation aides require review under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 to ensure they will not cause an obstruction to navigation. Typical activities requiring Section 10 permits are: construction of piers, wharves, bulkheads, dolphins, marinas, ramps, floats intake structures, and cable or pipeline crossings or dredging and excavation.

The second major activity of the Corps permitting program, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, requires approval prior to discharging dredged or fill material into the waters of the United States. Typical activities requiring Section 404 permits are: depositing of fill or dredged material in waters of the U.S. or adjacent wetlands, site development fill for residential, commercial, or recreational developments, construction of revetments, groins, breakwaters, levees, dams, dikes, and weirs, or placement of riprap and road fills.

Wetland delineators are included on a list on the Corps website. The list is not an endorsement nor is the list considered by the Corps to be complete.

Fire Service Areas are listed on your property detail at the MSB myProperty Site.

We can assist homeowners with their rain garden design. We may be able to assist schools, commercial properties, and public spaces with rain garden installation. For school projects, we have ideas for incorporating rain gardens into the curriculum. Contact us at

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough will pay for required immunizations of hired responders, when administered by the following contracted medical providers:

  • Lakes Medical Clinic - 5050 E Dunbar Dr., Wasilla, 99654, (907) 357-0820‎
  • Sunshine Clinic, Talkeetna - 4 Talkeetna Spur Rd., Talkeetna, AK 99676, (907) 733-2273
  • Sunshine Clinic, Willow - 11203 Nancy Lake Pkwy, Willow, AK 99688, (907) 495-4100

TB tests are required every 12 months and the Hepatitis B vaccination series is offered. If you choose to obtain your immunizations by other means (through your health care provider, etc.) and you incur an expense, the Borough is not responsible for the charges.

Wetland rules and regulations are on the Corps website at both the Alaska District and Headquarters pages.

Most of our exports have gone to the North Slope, South Korea, Japan, and China.

Location: 9470 E. Chanlyut Circle between Central Landfill and the Recycle Center off 49th State Street. Phone number is (907) 746-5500.

Hours: Tuesday – Thursday: 1:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

It helps to watch where water flows after a hard rainfall. Place your rain garden at least ten feet away from your foundation and near a source of runoff. Avoid septic tanks and trees. Full or partial sun areas are best. Some common rain garden locations are at the base of gutter downspouts, a low and gently sloping area of the lawn, and areas that catch runoff from pavement.

Contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) at the Anchorage Area Office: (907) 753-2712 or Toll Free at (800) 478-2712. You can also visit the Regulatory Page of the Alaska District’s website.

Some firefighters and medics are still using blue lights on their personal vehicles while responding to emergencies. If you see someone with a flashing blue light, please pull over and give them the road. They are responding to an emergency.  If you see someone driving inappropriately or dangerously while using a blue light, please contact 861-8000.

Contact the Borough’s Land Department for information on leasing property at (907) 861-7869. Business or Non-Profit Lease and Permit applications can be found on the Land Management Forms page.

In case of an emergency, a Knox Box allows firefighters faster access without costly forced-entry damage.

This question has to be directed to your local RSA board for inclusion in the CIP (Capital Improvement Program) process.

No. Rain gardens are dry most of the time. Rain gardens puddle water during storm events, and soak the water into the ground in the hours following a storm event. Rain barrels are usually fitted with covers and screens to keep out mosquitoes. You can also add things to the water, such as vegetable oil or Mosquito Dunks to keep any prevent any larvae from hatching.