Latest News from Fairbanks Paddlers
The second presentation in Fairbanks Paddlers spring series will feature Ron and Lou Davis’s stories and images from several Alaskan river adventures. The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at the Blue Loon. Come early to enjoy food, beverages and camaraderie, and to celebrate Dave Gronemeier’s recovery and return to the Fairbanks paddling community.
Ron Davis will share accounts of two trips that involved significant rescues of other parties they encountered. The presentation will include the story of a rescue performed on a 2014 trip on the Gulkana River. It will also include pictures and a story of a rescue at the Falls of the Forty Mile River in 2015.
In addition, Larry Bartlett will share a 10 minute video of the work performed in the summer of 2017 to repair the Gelvin’s airstrip on the Charley River.
The public is welcome to attend. Individuals under 21 must be accompanied by parents as per the Blue Loon’s policy.
John Citta will present a slideshow of his trip in Southwestern Alaska’s Kuskokwim Mountains and Wood-Tikchik State Park at the Blue Loon on Wednesday, February 21 at 6:30 pm. There with be a brief Fairbanks Paddlers general meeting at 6:00 pm just before the show.
During summer 2017, John Citta spent two weeks floating the Tikchik River, from Nishlik Lake to Tikchik Lake. They timed their trip to hit the sockeye run, and it proved a record one. They spent plenty of time fishing and hiking, and they saw lots of fish, bears, and birds. In addition to sharing his photos and experiences from this trip, John will describe some of the area’s natural history. He will also discuss the ins and outs of trip planning and logistics.
This show kicks off Fairbanks Paddlers’ Spring Slideshow series. We are still interested in finding other presenters for out March and April shows. During the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers act, we would like to celebrate wild and scenic rivers, whether officially designated or not. Please contact Fairbanks Paddlers if you have a presentation that you would like to share.
Fairbanks Paddlers will hold it’s 2017 Annual Meeting and Potluck Dinner on Friday, November 10 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fairbanks. All are welcome to attend.
Rather than our traditional guest speaker following the business meeting, we will be celebrating the kick off of the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers act. Jen Reed will share a 15-20 minute presentation about Wild and Scenic Rivers. Jen works for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the Public Use manager for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She is also the Interagency Wild & Scenic River Coordinating Council Representative and Interagency Visitor Use Management Council Representative.
Following Jennifer’s presentation we will have a “crowd-sourced” slide show celebrating wild rivers. We are asking members or guests to select a maximum of 10 of their best slides or short video clips featuring non-motorized river adventures to share in short mini-shows of 5-10 minutes each. The photos may be from a single trip, or highlight special moments from several rivers. Ideally we would like to feature Wild and Scenic rivers in Alaska ( see the list below), but imagery from other rivers from around the world are welcome. ( We already have offers of slides from the Charley River and from the Czech Republic. )
If you are willing to share few images and memories, please contact John Schauer at johnjschauer (AT) gmail.com or (907) 457-3962 in advance. Pictures or videos should be loaded on a USB drive to transfer onto the presenting computer.
- 6:30 PM – Doors open and Gear Swap – Bring boating and outdoor gear that needs a new home, or find great deals on gear that is new to you. Club T-shirts and sweatshirts with either Canoe or Kayak logos should also be available for sale in a variety of styles, colors, and sizes. Club stickers with both logos are also available.
- 7:00 PM – Potluck Dinner – Bring a favorite dish and beverages to share. Cam Leonard will once again provide a roast turkey.. Share a meal with friends and swap tales of your summer paddling adventures
- 7:30 PM – Brief Business Meeting – Summary of 2017 activities – Nomination and election of new board members.
- 7:50 PM – Wild and Scenic Rivers Presentation by Jennifer Reed followed by crowd-sourced mini slideshows celebrating wild rivers.
The Nenana Wildwater Festival takes place Saturday, August 5 near Denali Park, Alaska. This is the 41st consecutive year for this longest running river event in Alaska.
The mass start downriver race begins at noon on the river right side of the Jonesville Bridge just north of the Denali Park entrance. Signups will be at the Kingfisher Creek pullout just north of the bridge. The race finishes at Twin Rocks rapid in the canyon approximately 4 miles downstream. A rodeo / freestyle competition will be held at 3:00 pm at a location to de announced. ( Location is usually dependent on water levels.)
Denali Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center is co-hosting this event. For more information on the event and for information about camping near Otto Lake, contact Denali Outdoor Center at (888) 303-1925.
Here is the event on Facebook
You can also join in other great fun events during the weekend.
Alaska Dream Adventures will be hosting Epic Kayak Ultimate frisbee games at Otto Lake next at the Denali Outdoor Center dock on Friday, August 4 from 4-9 pm and on Saturday, August 5 Starting at 9 am. Boats and gear are provided.
The Great Denali Duck Race will be held at 2pm right after the Wildwater race at the Jonesville Bridge.
The Denali Blueberry fest and BBQ and the Denali Blueberry 5k Dash will also be held in the area this weekend. For more information, contact the Denali Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center.
The 10th Annual Six-mile Creek Whitewater and Bluegrass Festival will be held on Saturday, August 12, 2017 near Hope, Alaska.
The purpose of the Six Mile Creek Whitewater & Bluegrass Festival is to bring the whitewater paddling community, the music & arts community, and the general public together to share a unique weekend of athletics, entertainment, the human connection and nature on the beautiful shores of Six Mile Creek.
Come experience the hardcore CHAOS of paddlers mass-start racing through a narrow, whitewater canyon… guaranteed ear-to-ear grins! While you’re at it, dance your faces off on the shores of the river on Saturday night to some epic live music! Music headliner Days n’ Daze (from Austin, TX). You don’t want to miss this show!
EVERYTHING (live music, competition entry, festival entry, camping, parking) is FREE!!!!! As always, there will be a raffle for some sweet prizes, and awards ceremony for the races, live music, and a fire show once the sun goes down!
Competitors If you want to compete in the river races, you must have a proper life jacket and helmet… a drysuit is highly recommended because there’s usually swimmers involved;^) See schedule below for sign-up info…
SATURDAY, AUGUST 12th, 2017:
- 11:00 am : all competitors/racers need to walk down to the main festival tent/dome on the shore of the river, grab a racing bib and sign your name, Bib number, and phone number on the sign up sheet. PLEASE return bibs to the main stage tent immediately after the races! Seven bibs disappeared last time and these are very expensive to replace.
- 12:30 pm: racers and spectators leave main festival grounds at Boston Bar area and carpool/drive back north to the 1st canyon extreme race series site (5 minutes back towards Anchorage from the main festival site, about 1 mile north of the Seward Highway bridge over Canyon Creek, just before the Hope cut-off road… look for lots of parked cars off the side of the highway at 1:00pm.
- 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm : Downriver mass-start extreme race through the 3 biggest rapids of the 1st canyon (KAYAK, canoe, inflatable kayak)
- 2:00 pm: PACK RAFT mass-start extreme race through the 3 biggest rapids of the 1st canyon (pack rafts only)
- 2:30 pm: INFLATABLE POOL-TOY extreme mass-start race (inflatable pool-toy race…ride an alligator, shark, couch, whatever you want!… (normal whitewater gear is required (aka: drysuit, life jacket, helmet))… pack rafts don’t count as an inflatable pool-toy:^
- 4:00 pm: everyone drives back to main festival area, awards ceremony, bonfire party, & live music begins. AWARDS will be around 7:00pm!
Highlights of whitewater action from the 2011 festival:
SATURDAY, AUGUST 12th, 2017 at the main festival grounds:
- 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Quinn Hagberg band
- 7:15 pm – 8:15 pm : Squeeze Mama
- 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm : The Goat Rodeo
- 9:45 pm – 10:45pm : The Shoot Dangs
- 10:45-11:00ish pm Fire show by AK Fire Circus
- 11:00-ish pm – 1-ish am : Days n’ Daze!!!!!! (prepare to dance your faces off)
Monica Morin will be delivering a FREE Packrafting Awareness presentation at Beaver Sports on Monday, June 12, 2017 at 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. The session is to help prepare packrafting enthusiasts for this upcoming season. Mimicking Avalanche Awareness education, this hour and a half talk is an introduction to what you need to know prior to getting on the water.
The purpose of this presentation is to help packrafters choose appropriate rivers for their skill levels. Monica will explore how packrafting has evolved, and why it is growing so rapidly in popularity, especially among Alaskan adventurers. She will focus on trip preparation and planning, including packrafting-specific safety equipment, packing tips, choosing trip partners, and selecting routes and rivers best suited to group skills and experience. Discover how factors such as river gradient, water level, weather conditions, remoteness, river features, and other available information can help evaluate risk potential for a particular trip. Monica will also share case studies, and discuss opportunities and resources for additional safety and skill development.
Summer is here, and that means the Beaver Sports Canoe Races are back! This is a fun, casual series. It’s a great excuse to get a group of friends together, meet other paddlers, and do something healthy after work. All races are FREE and open to canoers, kayakers, and SUP boards too!
Don’t have a canoe? No Problem!!
UAF DRAW – will be at the start with a trailer of canoes, that you can use for the races! They will be at the finish to pick up the canoes and help with shuttling back to the start as well!
All races begin are on the Chena River and begin at Graehl Landing (by Pro Music). Registration is at 6:30pm, race start at 7pm.There are 3 races this summer, The races get progressively longer as the series goes on:
Race 1: June 13th – 5 1/4 river miles. Race to the Take Out River Left at University Landing (aka Chena River Wayside
Race 2: June 27th – 7 1/2 river miles. Race to the Take Out River Right at Chena Small Tracts.
Race 3: July 11th – 9 1/2 river miles. Race to the Take Out River Right at the Chena Pump House.
for more information please see the Beaver Sports website: http://
The Reindeer Hills Overnight will be the weekend of June 17-18, 2017. On this trip we float the Nenana River between approximately 17-mile Denali Highway and the “Windy Bridge” (the curved bridge on the Parks Highway a few miles north of Cantwell; NOT the high bridge north of Glitter Gulch), starting Saturday, spending the night on the river, and taking out Sunday afternoon.
The put-in is on the Denali Highway, about 18 miles east of Cantwell. The river parallels the road for a few miles, then cuts north behind the Reindeer Hills, returning to the road and the take-out on the Parks Highway at Windy Bridge. It is a fast-moving, glacial-fed river rated class I to II-. A set of rapids, perhaps a mile long, starts near where the river turns away from the Denali Highway and is straightforward, with some waves up to a foot high in a clear, wide, unobstructed channel. A few large rocks near the waterline lurking along the sides towards the tail end of this rapid, however, keep paddlers alert.
The primary challenge to newer moving water boaters on this trip is the numerous bends often populated with sweepers and strainers in fast-moving current, requiring competent river-reading and paddling skills. A decent back-ferry is recommended, as well as suitable cross-current forward movement skills. It is definitely a step up from the upper Chena, but not as challenging as lower sections of the Nenana. If you are comfortable on the upper Chena and are looking for a change of scenery and a little more challenge, this may be the trip for you. Its vistas are beautiful, especially on a clear day, and there is a fair chance of seeing moose, caribou, or bear. We will camp either on an island above Bruskasna Creek, or right by the creek’s mouth. The Bruskasna site has been popular in the past, but it has become overgrown over the years and the views and possibility of sun is better at the island camp.
We could easily have rain on the trip, and the nights can be chilly, even near freezing, though that’s usually more likely earlier in June. The river water, however, is extremely cold; a drysuit and fleece layering is nice, though not necessary, but rain gear, non-cotton layering and extra clothes are a must. I’ll bring a large kitchen tarp, cookware and kitchen tools, a 4-burner stove, a groover, and two tables. People should bring snacks, lunch, eating utensils, a cup and a bowl or plate. We can talk about major meals when I have a clear idea of who is coming.
Participants must be current members of Fairbanks Paddlers. I’ll have membership forms on hand for those who need to re-up for this summer. Fees are $10 for an individual and $15 for a family sharing one roof. If you desire a business membership you should contact the club treasurer before the trip.
I will notify participants of the meeting time, place and shuttle plans as the weekend gets closer and folks sign up. There will be a designated parking spot on the west side of Fairbanks where people can meet to carpool. However this falls, we’ll want to leave Fairbanks, packed, boats tied on, and vehicles gassed by 9am at the latest. We’ll likely get off the river Sunday afternoon around 3 or 4 p.m., but after running shuttle and loading, plus the 2-hour drive to Fairbanks, plan on arriving home no earlier than 7 or 8.
For further information and to sign up, please email the trip coordinator, Brad Snow, at firstname.lastname@example.org .
See you on the river!
Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks and Recreation Department together with REI, Alaska Dream Adventures, Alaska Canoe School, and TRAX Outdoor Center will be hosting the Lake and Trail Festival at Tanana Lakes on June 10th from 10 am to 6 pm.
Included in this family friendly event are free introductory kayak, canoe, and stand-up paddleboard instruction sessions. You can sign up for these at the Parks and Recreation Lake and Trail Festival Page. REI will also be offering classes in Camp Cooking, Map and Compass, and Bike Maintenance for Trail Riding . Spaces are limited for classes, so follow the links for more information and sign up early.
In addition to classes, there will be outdoor retailers, a kid’s activity area, give aways and raffles, food trucks and hiking trails. You can even join in pickup games of Epic Kayak Ultimate – ultimate frisbee in kayaks.
All ages and skill levels welcome! Children 5 – 12 years old must be accompanied by an adult. All participants must sign a waiver before participating and those under the age of 18 MUST have a waiver signed by a parent/guardian.
Thanks to everyone who came out Wednesday evening (May 24) to clean up the Chena River through town. A small but enthusiastic crowd of nine people pulled 100 pounds of trash out of the willows, alders and chokecherries on the riverbanks between Graehl Landing and Pioneer Park. We found the usual assortment of bottles and plastics, but also a large “no parking” sign, several classic pre-aluminum Doctor Pepper cans, and a chunk of lead (for making sinkers?, bullets?).
Sam Friedman has a nice write-up in today’s News-Miner. The cleanup has been duly reported to American Rivers, which has been sponsoring river cleanups throughout the country and keeping track of the results. We are also recognized by the Tanana Valley Watershed Association for our commitment to keeping the banks of the Chena River
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