Latest News from Fairbanks Paddlers
Our annual cleanup of the Chena River through town is scheduled for Wednesday, July 21 this year. Graehl Landing has a parking problem because of construction on the nearby Wendell Street bridge. It also has an access problem because of construction on the Old Steese Highway and 3rd Street. So this year our starting point will be the boat landing area of Pioneer Park, off Peger Road just south of the bridge. From there we will proceed down to Pike’s Landing (the restaurant/bar–not the road).
We will meet at Pioneer Park at 5:30 p.m., set shuttle to Pike’s Landing, and plan on launching from Pioneer Park promptly at 6:00. Once on the water people travel more or less at their own pace, stopping to pick up trash on the riverbanks. Parts of the river are lined with homes, and we will probably not want to trespass on those places. Usually, we will finish up and have everybody out of the water by 9:00 or 10:00.
Cleaning up the Chena River is one of the contributions our club makes to the community of Fairbanks, and is also a commitment we have made to the Adopt-a-Stream program of the Tanana Valley Watershed Association. For this activity we are recognized by two nice signs placed by the TVWA near the river at Graehl and Pioneer Park. Our cleanup is also registered with the American Rivers National River Cleanup campaign.
Trash bags will be provided. Participants should bring mud boots, raincoat, gloves, warm clothes, extra clothes, mosquito repellent, drinking water and something to snack on as well as some sort of craft to paddle. Don’t forget your life-jacket!
We will attempt to separate out clean aluminum in separate bags for recycling. We need to take the trash directly to the dump (as opposed to sticking it in dumpsters) so that the Borough can keep track of the volunteer cleanup effort and so that we can report our haul to American Rivers. My truck will be available for stuffing full of trash at the take-out.
Our cleanup effort will not be insured by ACA and current membership in Fairbanks Paddlers is not required. All you need is a boat and a life jacket, and a willingness to pick up trash.
Celebrate the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge at the 25th Run for the Refuge. The Northern Alaska Environmental Center is taking the event virtual once again in 2021. 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 16 -18 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. (Be aware of construction activity on the University Bridge. It may require careful maneuvering and closures of up to 20 minutes are possible.)
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 25th Annual Run for the Refuge on RunSignup.
Deadline to sign up is July 18.
Regardless of location registrants will receive Run for the Refuge t-shirts with our 2021 artwork by Sara Tabbert – there is a limited quantity so first come first serve. Details for race packet pick up and mailing are forthcoming.
We will do our best to mail out tees in advance of the event weekend, but we cannot guarantee this.
$30 for Adults, $15 for 12 & under. Includes a t-shirt. 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.
$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.
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 Race Director @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bruce Campbell is coordinating a Fairbanks Paddlers trip on the Lower Gulkana River, Wednesday July 7th, Thursday July 8th, and Friday, July 9th, 2021.
If you wish to know more or to participate, please reply directly to Bruce Campbell by emailing him at: email@example.com.
The Gulkana is a class 1, 2 river that is as warm as we get, mostly clear, and occasionally laden with fishermen. The lower section does not include the “Class III” canyon drop. This section does have great, avoidable, boulder-holes, of benefit to beginning whitewater paddlers who can use them to develop their attainment and retentive skills. The river is suitable for kayak, canoe, raft or packraft and Paddlers of modest skill levels. Kids and teens encouraged.
The plan is to depart Fairbanks 7 am on Wednesday the 7th of July. Drive ~6 hours to Sourdough Campground on the Richardson Highway. Drop boaters and gear at Sourdough then shuttle cars to the takeout. Those at Sourdough put-in will pump up the large raft, packrafts, etc. With a goal of being on the river by 3 pm. We will have a short 2 hour paddle, set camp and cook dinner.
Thursday is a modest paddle with the intent of camping before Sailors Pit.
Friday is a short morning on the river and a long drive home.
We hope to miss most of the July 4th crowd.
Bruce will plan and coordinate the meals. Please tell Bruce if there is something you want to bring and cook as part of the group meals, which is not required. Two dinners via Dutch oven, two breakfasts (likely one a D/U omelet and another pancakes and bacon), and everyone brings their own lunches and snacks (yes, we’ll build a fire for hotdogs).
Party includes one paddle raft that can carry the Dutch ovens.
Others attending at this time include: VeraAnn, Shirley Liss, and Brad Snow.
If you wish to know more or to participate, let Bruce Campbell know by calling him at 907-322-9221 or emailing him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fairbanks Paddlers membership ($10) and American Canoe Assn membership ($10/trip or $40 annual) are required to participate. Bruce will bring forms if needed. Bring your ACA number for the insurance form if you join online (it’s easy).
(note: Updated original map to show correct put-in and takeout – 5/20/21 9:30am)
Meet at 10 AM at the take-out at Eielson Farm Road and Piledriver Slough. Directions, head out the Richardson Highway, cross the Chena Flood Control, pass the Moose Creek Bluff, and on the right (south) side take Eielson Farm Road. You’ll find two parking lots at Piledriver Slough. Meet at 10 AM, we’ll leave many cars and bikes there, load boats and gear onto trailers, and shuttle to the put in, which is 6 bike miles away.
Shuttles: Fully vaccinated people can shuttle no problem. For those who are not fully vaccinated, you need to work out your shuttle ahead of time, or plan on a bicycle shuttle.
There will be a pre-trip Zoom meeting on Wednesday evening at 7pm just before our scheduled board meeting. Please attend if possible.
Fairbanks Paddlers Piledriver Slough Trip Meeting followed by board meeting link:
Time: May 19, 2021 07:00 PM Alaska
Meeting ID: 977 0980 8243
The Put In: Continuing southeast on the Richardson you’ll notice a dirt road almost opposite the Eielson AFB Control Tower. Turn right on it and follow it to its end, there is a small amount of parking there, with a trail down to the water.
We hope to be on the water by 11 AM, paddle a short distance and stop for a picnic lunch shortly. Bring your own food, it’s probably still unwise to share.
This is event is insured by the American Canoe Association, so you’ll need to be a member of both the Fairbanks Paddlers and the ACA and sign the waiver. ACA annual memberships are $40, event memberships are $10, FP memberships $10. If one parent is an ACA annual member the club will pick up the cost for their children for the event. You can join at the event (please bring cash or check). ACA members bring your membership number.
We should be finished by 4 PM, many cars or bikes will be at the take out. Please come, bring a lunch, mask up if necessary and maintain a safe distance on the land.
Alaska Canoe School still has space in their Moving and Flatwater Rescue Practice course on Sunday, May 23. Rivers are running high and cold. Canoeists, kayakers, pack rafters, and rafters should be prepared for when things go wrong on the water. Information can be found on their website at: https://alaskacanoeschool.com/courses/moving-and-flat-water-rescue/
Find a great deal on used boats or paddling gear, or sell the boats you haven’t paddled for a while!
Fairbanks Paddlers will be working with Beaver Sports to host a Boat Swap on May 15, 2021 under the awning outside the Beaver Sports Boat Shop on 3480 College Road.
- 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Bring your non-motorized boats and paddling gear to sell
- 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Find bargains on “new to you” boats and paddlesports gear
- 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Find out if your gear sold and pick up your unsold items.
15% of sales will be donated to Fairbanks Paddlers. Please price your items accordingly.
Appropriate facial coverings will be required when conducting transactions or interacting with other boat swap participants.
If you are a Fairbanks Paddlers member and would like to volunteer to help, please contact John Schauer at (907)460-6290
Other questions? Please contact Fairbanks Paddlers at email@example.com
Caitlin Frye with Alaska DOT&PF recently shared this information with the club about the effects of bridge construction on Chena River travel this summer:
Our construction teams here at DOT&PF have put together a flyer with some information about what to expect when traveling on the Chena River through our bridge construction projects this summer. Please feel free to share this with anyone who you think would be interested.
One of the key points is that, although the river will be mostly open this summer, if people choose to travel on the river through these construction zones at the University Bridge and the Wendell Bridge, they will need to know how to control their boats. We’ll have lots of signs along the river and at the boat launches in town warning people about what to expect, but people should consider floating a different part of the river if they are inexperienced.
We will be reaching out to other groups and businesses in town in the coming weeks, but we would also absolutely support all of your spreading the word to your friends and family so they are aware of what to expect. This will definitely be a different year for river travel, but we are confident that the improvements we’re making this year will make for better river experiences in the future.
Flyer Content (Text)
What to Expect During Bridge Construction
YOU’LL NEED TO KNOW HOW TO CONTROL YOUR BOAT
PAY ATTENTION TO THE SIGNS
THE RIVER WILL STAY OPEN, EXCEPT FOR SHORT INTERMITTENT CLOSURES
Break-up is proceeding apace and we can see patches of flowing water in most interior riverways. Fairbanks Paddlers annually celebrate the arrival of spring with a trip on the Delta-Clearwater River near Delta Junction. This area has some of the first water to open up in the Interior each spring, so if our timing is right we may have an excellent opportunity to see many species of waterfowl (including swans) up close. This year the trip will be on the weekend of April 24-25, which is a little earlier than it has been in recent years. As usual, we will have a day trip and an overnight trip. Alan Batten will coordinate the day trip logistics on Sunday, April 25, and Don Pendergrast will be coordinator for the overnight trip leaving Saturday and finishing up on Sunday.
We will have a pre-trip zoom meeting for all participants. It is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, April 21 at 7 pm . People who are interested in either the day trip or the overnight should contact the appropriate trip coordinator to get a link to join.
Alan’s (day trip) contact info is firstname.lastname@example.org, H: 488-3205, C: 378-6384.
Don’s (overnight trip) contact info is email@example.com, 907-371-4868
Please note that all participants must be current members of Fairbanks Paddlers. Memberships can be renewed at https://www.fairbankspaddlers.org/join/ or at the put-in. As we did in 2019 we are purchasing liability insurance for our trips through the American Canoe Association (ACA). This takes a big worry off the minds of those of us who volunteer to lead trips, and we hope it will lead to having more volunteers step forward. However, this does add another level of bureaucracy to our trips, so we hope you will all be patient with that. Each participant will need to be a member of the ACA, either an annual member or a member for a day. Annual memberships cost $40 (https://www.americancanoe.org/general/register_member_type.asp). Fairbanks Paddlers is an ACA Paddle America Club so we are on the list of clubs in the drop-down menu on the membership form. ACA members will need to know their ACA number when you show up for our trips. The other option is to become an ACA member for one day, which costs $10. Trip leaders will have this type of membership form at the put-in. Please understand that it is now necessary to be a member of both Fairbanks Paddlers and, at least for the day, the ACA. The ACA is an excellent organization that is very effective in promoting boating safety, education, waterway conservation, and river access. It deserves our support.
Updated April 15, 2021
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 reflects our commitment to safe paddling, public health, and community well being during the Covid-19 pandemic.
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.
Fairbanks Paddlers’ Covid-19 Risk Management Plan
The Fairbanks Paddlers’ Covid-19 Risk Management plan depends on the participants’ desire and willingness to keep themselves and their fellow paddlers healthy. To meet that end the Fairbanks Paddlers offers these guidelines. Please respect others and comply with the desires of the trip or event organizer. Be smart and keep each other healthy and safe.
No one exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms is allowed to participate. This includes a fever within 72 hours, or contact with someone who has Covid-19.
- Two weeks after people are vaccinated they are considered safe from Covid; however, the CDC and the State of Alaska guidelines still indicate that vaccinated individuals when in public settings wear a mask, maintain a 6 foot distance, cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands often and use hand sanitizer.
- Fully vaccinated individuals may choose to shuttle together, but should do so with automobile windows opened for good ventilation and all riders should be masked.
- Social distancing of 6 feet 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 strongly encouraged at put-ins and take outs, and if ever non- household groups are in close proximity (less than six feet). Please bring an extra face mask to use if yours gets wet.
- Paddlers should avoid popular places and times in order to more effectively social distance. If you know there are likely to be other users, pick a different time or place to paddle.
Hygiene is the responsibility of each participant in Fairbanks Paddlers activities.
- Bring hand sanitizer.
- Sanitizing wipes or disinfectant sprays should be used when sharing equipment.
- 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).
Group size is up to the activity coordinator. The CDC recommends “small” gatherings, but does not define small with a number. The key is taking proper precautions: masking, social distancing, travel/shuttle considerations, and good hygiene.
Fairbanks Paddlers believes that the greatest risk for Covid transmission is traveling to activities and shuttling between access points. These guidelines are to reduce that risk.
- Travel and shuttle must be worked out prior to the activity. It is not fair to others for
someone to show up without making prior arrangements.
- The activity leader should hold a virtual meeting with all participants to work out de-
tails and protocols prior to the activity. We are all now used to such meetings and
they will help ensure safe Covid practices for all.
- Household members (pod members) can travel in a vehicle together. Fully vaccinated individuals may choose to travel or shuttle together, but should do so with automobile windows opened for good ventilation and all riders should be masked. No participant should be in an uncomfortable or unsafe travel situation.
- Use bicycle shuttles where appropriate.
- When traveling, minimize stops, avoid crowded places, wear a face mask when
dealing with vendors, wash or sanitize hands before exiting and after returning to the vehicle.
- 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.