Latest News from Fairbanks Paddlers
Celebrate the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge at the 24th Run for the Refuge. The Northern Alaska Environmental Center is taking the event virtual this year. People can participate by running, walking, hiking, biking, or paddling a 5K or 10K route of their own choosing, or can choose a route sponsored by local organizations. Participants can choose any time between July 24 -26 to do their route
Fairbanks Paddlers is sponsoring two paddling routes on the Chena through Fairbanks:
10 K – Barnette Bridge to Pikes Landing
The 10 km route starts at the end of Turner Street just downstream of the Barnette Street bridge on the north side of the Chena. It finishes at Pikes Landing.
5 K – Graehl Landing to Pioneer Park
To make this popular float an honest 5 km, put in at the boat landing at Graehl Park near Front Street and Forty Mile Ave. Paddle upstream to the upstream side of Steese Highway Bridge, then turn your boat around and paddle downstream to Pioneer Park just upstream of the Peger Road bridge. You could get creative and turn this into a 10k paddle & pedal route if you pick a 5 k bike shuttle route back to the put-in.
Sign Up Online – Get Great Swag!
Register Online for the 24th Annual Run for the Refuge on RunSignup.
Deadline to sign up is July 21.
All registrants, regardless of location, will receive Run for the Refuge t-shirts with our 2020 artwork, coming soon. We will give details for mailing or pick up of race materials as we decide how best to do so.
$25 for Adults, $15 for 12 & under. Includes choice of t-shirt or hat, or long sleeved t-shirt for an extra $7 (this adds $0.50 to the race fee as it is calculated by RunSignup as a percentage.) All registrants 12 & under will receive t-shirts.
Run Packets will be mailed for all outside of Fairbanks registrants. For those in Fairbanks, we will arrange a socially distant pick up day, or we can mail your packet.
Join our Facebook Event Page to discuss your routes and get inspired. Use #RunForTheRefuge and tag @TheNorthernCenter so we can see your adventures!
Support the conservation of Alaska’s largest refuge by participating in this fun, family-friendly event!
For any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact the Events Coordinator, Caitlin Lenahan, at [email protected]
Fairbanks Paddlers will begin hosting Wednesday night paddles every other Wednesday night starting June 3.
In the interest in keeping with our COVID-19 policy and to avoid the challenges of shared shuttles with non-household members, we will hold our first Wednesday night event at Tanana Lakes on Wednesday, June 3 at 6 p.m. We will start and end at the non-motorized boat launch on the West side of Cushman lake near Alaska Dream Adventures boat rental.
To add a little interest to an evening paddle around the lake, we will have a “poker run” with five locations around the lake to pick a waterproof card for a best poker hand. We will also have a throw bag toss contest to see who has the best aim at “saving” a “swimmer”. Modest prizes will be offered for the best poker hand and most accurate rescuer. ( If you don’t have your own throw bag, Alaska Dream Adventures has offered to let us use their throw bags with which they use a sterilization protocol.)
Epic Kayak Ultimate also uses Tanana Lakes on Wednesday evenings. As you paddle and relax on the beach, you can also watch how ultimate frisbee is played in kayaks.
Bring your own picnic dinner. We will practice social distancing and will not be sharing food. We will not be using the club propane grill. We will have a fire in one of the fire rings along the gravel beach if you would like to bring your own brats or hotdogs to cook on a long stick. Glass containers are not allowed on the beaches.
In order to facilitate contact tracing and anticipate group size, we ask participants to add their name and contact information to the shared Google Sheet at https://bit.ly/june3wedpaddle
John and Karen Schauer will coordinate this first Wednesday night paddle. You can contact them at 907-460-6290 or [email protected].
We are looking for members to sign up to coordinate other Wednesday night paddles on these dates:
( Venues to be chosen by coordinators. )
- June 17
- July 1
- July 15
- July 29
- August 12
- August 26
- September 9
Paddling Outings with Bicycle Shuttles
These notes on paddling trips that can be made with bicycle shuttles are offered as a way for groups to paddle together while still honoring the mandate against people from different households sharing vehicles during the shuttle back to the put-in. Besides, combining paddlesports with bicycling doubles the pleasure of being out in our sunny interior summers. Practice safe cycling, wear a helmet, obey traffic laws, and wear bright clothing. Combining biking and boating means you need to think about safety for two pleasurable activities.
Paddling in moving water is an inherently dangerous activity. Don’t paddle beyond your ability. Always wear a life jacket. Always stay alert and look ahead for hazards that you may be approaching. Don’t drink and paddle. Remember that the water is cold, especially early in the season. Remember that our Alaskan weather can change quickly and take plenty of warm clothes in a dry bag, as well as extra clothes in case you or someone in your party takes an unexpected swim. Sweepers are the most common danger on our interior rivers. Give them as much room as you can. Sometimes it may be necessary to land on the opposite shore and walk your boat around the end of the sweeper. Sometimes a tree or even multiple logs may block the entire channel and you will have to portage or drag your boat around or over them. If you can’t tell from the river whether it is possible to get around a particular tree or not, it never hurts to pull over, get out of your boat, and walk over to where you can see clearly what the situation is before committing yourself to it.
Remember to bring food and water, rain gear, mosquito repellent, sun block, an extra paddle, bear spray when out of town, and appropriate footwear for walking in the water. Always be prepared for a trip to take longer than expected.
In accordance with the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, the State of Alaska, and local health organizations the Fairbanks Paddlers Club guidelines for safe paddling and events reflect our commitment to safe paddling, public health, and community well-being during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Paddling can be risky so the Fairbanks Paddlers Club recommends that all paddlers in rural or remote areas paddle below their or their group’s ability level because scarce healthcare resources should not be tied up with rescue or emergency services. Paddle smart, paddle safe.
Support local business where appropriate, they are suffering economically.
A key aspect of public health is that Covid-19 can be transmitted by subjects that have not developed symptoms, so the Fairbanks Paddlers has adopted a Covid-19 risk management policy based on the guidelines from the American Canoe Association, the American Packraft Association, and the State of Alaska Covid-19 Health Mandates. We encourage all paddlers to follow these or similar policies when paddling during this pandemic.
Fairbanks Paddlers’ Covid-19 Risk Management Plan
The Fairbanks Paddlers’ Covid-19 Risk Management Plan must be understood and agreed upon by all participants at Club events.
- No one exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms is allowed to participate.
- Anyone with a fever cannot participate for 72 hours following a return to normal temperature.
- Social distancing of 6 feet (good) or 10 feet (better) should be maintained both on land and on water (pay particular attention at put-ins and take-outs; loading and unloading craft; no rafting up on the water).
- Face masks are encouraged and required at put-ins and take-outs, and if ever non-household groups are in close proximity (less than six feet).
- Paddlers should avoid popular places and times in order to more effectively social distance. If you know there are likely to be other users, try to pick a different time or place to paddle.
- Hand washing facilities, equipment, and opportunities should be available for all participants (plenty of soap and water, wash for 20 seconds).
- Hand sanitizer must be available.
- Sanitizing wipes or disinfectant sprays must be available.
- Any common equipment must be regularly sanitized.
- Upon returning home all participants should wash their hands (full bathing is encouraged) and wash their clothes before wearing them again.
- If public restrooms are open only one person at a time should use them. If public restrooms are not available each individual is responsible for a “bathroom bag” (i.e. trowel, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, zip lock bags at a minimum). A “bathroom bag” is not the responsibility of the Fairbanks Paddlers Club.
Limited to ten (10) participants at this time (April 30, 2020).
- Tent sites must be 25 feet apart from non-household members.
- Common areas (i.e. campfires, cooking areas) should be used with appropriate social distancing or at different times.
- No sharing of food or drink.
- Household members can travel in a vehicle together. No carpooling or running shuttles with non-household members. Use bicycle shuttles where appropriate.
- Plan your trips to avoid unnecessary visits to other communities in order to minimize cross contamination. Pack all your food, gear, water, snacks, and fill up with gas before you leave your own community.
- When traveling, minimize stops and avoid crowded places. Only one person in the group should deal with any vendors and should wear a face mask when doing so. Wash or sanitize hands before exiting and after returning to the vehicle.
Fairbanks Paddlers’ first presentation of our Spring Slideshow Series will be Thursday, March 5, 2020 at 7:00 pm at the Dog Mushers Hall at 925 Farmers Loop Road.
Come enjoy a slide show presented by Cameron Baird as he takes you down 150 miles of the Alsek River’s ice age wilderness.
Starting in the interior near Haines Junction, Yukon and finishing at Dry Bay, AK, this 12 day trip cuts along the edged of the worlds largest nonpolar ice cap as it passes through heart of the worlds largest bio-preserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site. As the river cuts through the mountains to the coast we’ll float through iceberg filled lakes, pass by glaciers, raft class III and IV rapids, portage Turnback Canyon, take amazing side hikes, and watch stunning sunsets.
Spring is right around the corner and you know you are itching to go boating so stop by and enjoy an informal evening on the Alsek while we wait for the snow to melt.
The Folk School will be selling hot dogs and popcorn. This is a bring your own beverage event. The public is welcome to attend.
It’s not too early to polish your paddling skills and have some fun on the water. While the rivers and lakes are frozen, you can enjoy paddling indoors at several different locations and times. Practice your strokes and self-rescue techniques, catch up with old paddling friends, and meet some new ones.
Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks and Recreation makes Hamme Pool available to paddlers on Monday nights from 7-9pm for the same prices as open swim sessions: $4 for Youth and Seniors; $6 for adults. Sessions go from January 6 through May 11, except for MLK day in January and Presidents’ Day in February.
Bring your clean canoe or kayak and brush up on your skills before the river ice melts!
Boats and gear must be cleaned of leaves, dirt and other debris each time prior to getting in pool.
This is not an open swim.
Canoes & kayaks only – all other craft must be pre-approved (packrafts have been allowed in past years).
Youth must pass swim test or wear life jacket.
7:00–8:00p Paddling practice (whole pool)
8:00–9:00p Paddling practice (deep end only)
Water Polo (shallow end) Helmet required
Boaters and boats must be out of building by 9:20
Epic Kayak Ultimate sponsors kayak and canoe practice sessions at Patty Pool from 3-5pm on Sunday afternoons through April 19, 2020. Cost is $5 per person if you don’t have a membership.
The Alaska Club
Alaska Dream Adventures hosts paddling sessions at the Alaska Club on Saturdays from 5-7 pm. Cost for non-members is $15.
Contact Tony Mustered at (907) 460-2909 if you don’t have a boat you can bring and would like to borrow one.
The Annual Meeting will be Friday, November 8 this Year
4448 Pikes Landing Road (across from the Princess Hotel off Airport Way)
- 6:30 Doors open and Gear Swap set-up. Bring your unused boating or camping gear to swap or sell to other paddlers. We suggest that 10% of the purchase price go to Fairbanks Paddlers.
- 7:00 Potluck Dinner. If your name starts with a letter between A and Z bring food! A roast turkey will be provided.
- 7:30 Short Business Meeting. We’ll review the year’s activities and elect board members.
- 8:00 Program! Roman Dial will come up from Anchorage and present “Four Decades of Packrafting: A Personal View.” Roman was one of a small group of boaters to take packrafting very seriously early on and to really test what this new kind of craft could do. He’ll bring early pictures, stories, and maps. He may also read some sections from his book, “The Adventurer’s Son,” forthcoming in February.Featured image: Aiyagomahala Creek (aka South Arrigetch/Hot Springs Creek) at the end of the long Class III section and just above the Class IV. Photo by Roman Dial (http://packrafting.blogspot.com/search/label/Alatna%20River)..
Don and Tracie Pendergrast will coordinate the final Wednesday night float of the season on September 11, 2019. This paddle will take place on Piledriver slough south of the Richardson Highway near the Chena Flood Control Project, Moose Creek, and Eieleson.
Meet up at Piledriver Slough off of Eielson Farm Road (Near Bathing Beauty Pond). We will float to the next pond on Piledriver Slough Road. The float takes less than 2 hours, and there should be nice colors, clear water, and hopefully no fighter jets ripping through the air.
We will have a cook out at the end. Don and Tracie will leave a car at the take out, so we can put in immediately and retrieve cars while we’re cooking to save time.
Don estimates that the final fall float of the Wednesday night paddle series should be just over three hours including the shuttle and cook out.
Contact Don for more details at 907-371-4868 or [email protected]
This will be a chance to float the Chena River through Fairbanks on or in any kind of river-worthy, human-powered boat, wooden or otherwise (pack rafts are very welcome!). The float will go from Graehl Landing to the Pioneer Park boat launch. At Pioneer Park, we’ll have a BBQ on the lawn (maybe with pizza from the Folk School pizza oven), with boats on display and the chance to visit with river folks. The BBQ will be free, but it will be a potluck, so please bring a dish to share or a few dollars to donate. Paddlers will be providing the core BBQ chow (with vegetarian options).
All the details are here: https://folk.school/events/event/wooden-boat-rondy/ (with more details coming!)
We are in need of volunteers as well. If you would like to volunteer at the event, please contact Don Kiely at [email protected] (best) or call 907-457-1219. In particular, we need help with organizing boats and parking at Graehl, judging, and clean up, as well as other logistics on the day. Thanks!
Rumor has it that the brand new handcrafted, traditional birch bark canoe that Randy Brown’s class is building this week at The Folk School will make an appearance! Come and see how cool these boats can be.