Fairbanks Paddlers

Dedicated to having fun and being safe on Alaska's waters

Latest News from Fairbanks Paddlers

Delta Clearwater Overnight Trips – May 6-7 and May 20-21, 2023 (updated)

Delta Clearwater Overnight Trips – May 6-7 and May 20-21, 2023 (updated)

The Trips (updated!)

Our Break-Up is a bit late this year and so is our traditional annual 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, and if our timing is right we may have an excellent opportunity to see many species of waterfowl (including swans) up close.

May 6-7, 2023

The first overnight trip (Saturday night May 6, finishing Sunday May 7) will be coordinated by Don and Tracie Pendergrast, and will be limited to eight (8) people total. Interested paddlers should contact the coordinator, who will send out details early next week. Note that Don will need to contact you via email, so if you contact him via text or voice be sure to give your email address. The planned day trip for May 7, 2023 (Sunday) coordinated by Gail Davidson has been cancelled.

May 20-21, 2023

Bruce Campbell will coordinate another overnight float May 20-21 putting in at the same Clearwater State Recreation site, but will take out at the Tanana River bridge on the Richardson, rather than at Clearwater lake. This float is focused toward and led by pack rafters, but Bruce says “any craft are fine as long as they can slow down and stay with our slow little rafts.” This is a self-supported overnight trip. Everyone is welcome. The Tanana can be windy, so be sure to have warm clothing you can add. Plan is to leave town early by 8am, leave one car as shuttle at the bridge about 10am, the rest proceed to the campground (there is a parking fee) with the goal of being on the river by 10:30 or 11 am. Overnight campsite is either just above the confluence with the Tanana, or on an island in the Tanana.

Please RSVP by contacting Bruce at brucecanoe@gmail.com or 907-322-9221 if you want to join.

Memberships, Insurance and Waivers

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.

Liability insurance for our trips is arranged through the American Canoe Association (ACA). This takes a big worry off the minds of those of us who volunteer to coordinate trips. However, this does add another level of bureaucracy to our trips, so please be patient with that. Each participant will need to be a member of the ACA, either an annual member or a member for the event. Everyone, both annual ACA members and daily members will have to sign an ACA waiver, and annual members will need their ACA numbers. To join the ACA follow the hot link https://americancanoe.org. Individual annual memberships are $40. Please join as a Fairbanks Paddlers member. If you do not have an annual membership, an event membership is available for $10. Waivers and event memberships will be available from the trip organizers.

Parking at the put-in requires either a $5 parking fee payable on site to Alaska State Parks, or a State Parks parking sticker on your car’s windshield. These cost $60 and can be ordered online at https://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/passes, or purchased at the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in the Morris Thompson Center or at the DNR Information Center in the woods off of University Avenue and Airport Way. State Parks are in serious financial trouble these days (especially the Delta Junction-area State Parks) and need our support.

Covid Precautions

Fairbanks Paddlers is Covid Aware. People riding in other people’s cars must be prepared to wear masks. Also we need to know whether individual drivers are comfortable having other people in their car or not. We have to get car-pooling and shuttle drivers sorted out before leaving on the trip.

Contact the Trip Organizers

Please do not “just show up” for these trips. Contact the organizers or you cannot be part of the Fairbanks Paddlers trips.

People interested in the day trip should contact Gail Davidson before Thursday, May 5: email: akmtngrl@gmail.com, Phone: 907-479-7127 or 907-460-1983. ( This trip has been canceled. )

For the May 6-7 overnight trip (limited to eight people) contact Don Pendergrast before Thursday May 5: email don@alaskacanoeschool.com, phone: 907-371-4868.

For the May 20-21 overnight trip contact Bruce Campbell at brucecanoe@gmail.com or 907-322-9221

Trip Description

This is a flat-water trip that moves from the crystal clear Delta-Clearwater River onto a slough of the Tanana, followed by a 1.5-mile paddle up a creek to Clearwater Lake and across the lake to the take-out. From the Clearwater State Recreation Site to Clearwater Lake is about 12 miles and takes 4-8 hours depending on the wind direction and water conditions. Occasionally, depending on water level, the initial turn up the creek requires some strategy but there will be many of us there to help if this area turns out to be a problem. In recent years the current was strong enough there that most of us had to drag our canoes for a few hundred feet. You pretty much have to get into the water (calf deep or knee deep) to do this. If you are lucky you can find gravel in the streambed to walk on, but where the gravel stops there is thick organic muck so be psychologically prepared. A map and further river information is available at the State Parks web site (http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/aspunits/northern/pdfs/clearwaterfloatguide.pdf).

The Clearwater River itself has a gentle current and no serious obstacles. The slough of the Tanana has a strong current that must be respected, but no serious obstacles other than an occasional sweeper that must be avoided. The Clearwater Lake outflow has a sluggish current that is not too hard to paddle against, except sometimes at the mouth as noted above. Paddlers should have basic boating skills, be able to avoid sweepers and be able to paddle in a straight line well enough to make progress upstream. The water is extremely cold so plan accordingly. Rain gear and extra clothes in a dry bag are a must. If one paddles straight through the trip can be done in 4 hours or a little more. But considering a lunch stop and stretch breaks plan on 6 hours on the water.

What to Bring

Canoes and hard-shell kayaks are the most common boats on this trip; going up the creek with a raft or packraft would be challenging and even IK’s have to struggle. All participants must bring and wear a personal flotation device (life jacket). Migrating ducks, geese and swans commonly make the lake their first stop in the interior, so bring your binoculars. Bring a dry change of clothes in a water proof bag and a variety of layers so you are prepared for temperature changes. The Delta Junction area can be distinctly cooler or warmer than Fairbanks. River boots or waterproof knee boots could be useful if we have to drag the boats a ways. It could rain so bring rain gear. There may be a few mosquitoes out. Also bring lunch and drinks. We will stop for lunch on a gravel bar.

Overnighters will need to bring camping gear and chocolate in addition to the equipment mentioned above.

Boat Swap at Beaver Sports – May 13, 2023

Boat Swap at Beaver Sports – May 13, 2023

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 13, 2023 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 1 p.m. – Find bargains on “new to you” boats and paddlesports gear
  • 1 p.m. to 2 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.

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 info@fairbankspaddlers.org

Paddlesports Leadership Course: May 19 – 20, 2023

Paddlesports Leadership Course: May 19 – 20, 2023

Alaska Canoe School is offering a Paddlesports Leadership Course May 19-20, 2023. Fairbanks Paddlers is supporting the course to reduce the cost and encourage participation.

This course is for any member of the Fairbanks Paddlers who would like to plan personal or club paddle trips and will provide opportunities to build skills, knowledge, and judgement to safely choose, plan and lead trips. We will also learn strategies to provide support, knowledge and leadership to other paddlers. Discussions and scenarios will encourage participants to share their knowledge and skills with the group.

Though there is an on water session, this is not a paddling skills course. Participants may bring their chosen paddle craft.

Participants will be required to sign a waiver and meet the participation requirements of the Alaska Canoe School and the American Canoe Association.

  • Dry land Session:  Friday, May 19, 2023 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
  • On Water Session: Saturday, May 20, 2023 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
  • Location: Flat Water venue TBD
  • Class Size: 12 participants maximum
  • Cost: $25.00 for Fairbanks Paddlers Club members

Please visit https://alaskacanoeschool.com/courses/paddlesports-leadership-course/ to register, or contact Tracie Pendergrast at tracie@alaskacanoeschool.com or at (907) 750-4902 for more information.

Alaska Canoe School – Rescue Practice Course – May 21, 2023

Alaska Canoe School – Rescue Practice Course – May 21, 2023

Alaska Canoe School  is offering a Moving and Flatwater Rescue class May 21, 2023.

This 8 hour course will cover rescue scenarios common on Interior Alaska lakes and rivers. You will practice rescuing yourself and others. This course should not be confused with swift water rescue; we will not be practicing in big water or rapids.

For more information go to https://alaskacanoeschool.com/courses/moving-and-flat-water-rescue-988-319/ or contact Don or Tracie Pendergrast.

Chena River Cleanup – June 10, 2023

Chena River Cleanup – June 10, 2023

For dozens of years the Fairbanks Paddlers have gotten together and helped clean up our local waterway, the Chena River. Our “adopted” section traditionally is the popular stretch from Graehl Landing to Pioneer Park.

This year we are one of the sponsors of the larger effort that includes: the Fairbanks North Star Borough, City of Fairbanks, North Pole, University of Alaska, Lions International, Tanana Valley Watershed Association, Alaska Industrial Hardware, Alaska Dream Adventures, and Shannon & Wilson, Inc.

As a club we are primary users and stewards of the Chena River, and this is an excellent opportunity to show and act on our love for water. We definitely have the skills, and a Saturday morning is not much to dedicate to our home river. Take a look at the attached flyer, and plan on joining the effort on June 10. There are lots of goodies (work gloves, trash bags, bug dope, work gloves) and a Free Lunch! Be safe, look good while doing good, and eat well. Bring a friend, bring the whole family.

Paddling Presentation Double Feature at Silver Gulch – April 5, 2023

Paddling Presentation Double Feature at Silver Gulch – April 5, 2023

Join us on Wednesday, April 5 for a double feature paddling presentation at Silver Gulch Brewing and Bottling Company in Fox, Alaska. This is the final event in Fairbanks Paddlers’ Winter/Spring Slideshow Series. Our previous two events were huge successes. Over 100 folks enjoyed great food and beverage, camaraderie, and excellent stories and photos by Ed Plumb at our February show. You’ll want to arrive early to get a good seat. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with presentations beginning at 7:00. A limited menu of burgers, pizzas and appetizers, as well as beverages from the bar. Food service will stop when presentations begin. The event is free and open to the public.

Silver Gulch is located at 2195 Old Steese Highway North in Fox, Alaska.

Canoeing the Entire Tanana River – Ned Rozell

Our home river, the Tanana, flows about 600 miles from its headwaters in eastern Alaska to the village of Tanana on the Yukon River. Join Ned Rozell as he presents on floating the entire river by canoe, executed over a few warm summers.

Celebrating the 2022 Boating Season – John Schauer

From spring break up through September, John and Karen Schauer enjoyed paddling and rowing rivers with great friends and dogs. Their trips included a few road accessible multi-day Alaskan classics: the Ikheenjik ( Birch Creek ), Chulitna/Susitna, and Gulkana. John will share images and stories of floating these and a few other rivers in rafts, canoes, IK’s, packrafts, kayaks and SOARs.

Hot Springs Packrafting Presentation at Silver Gulch – Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Hot Springs Packrafting Presentation at Silver Gulch – Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Join us for a presentation on Packrafting to (and from) remote Alaskan Hot Springs on Wednesday, February 22, 2023 at Silver Gulch Brewing and Bottling Company in Fox, Alaska. Our January slideshow night at Silver Gulch was a huge success with over 80 people enjoying great food and beverage, camaraderie, and excellent stories and photos by Barry Whitehill and Ron Yarnell. You’ll want to arrive early to get a good seat for Ed Plumb’s presentation. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with the presentation beginning at 7:00. A limited menu of burgers, pizzas and appetizers, as well as beverages from the bar. Food service will stop when presentations begin. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Silver Gulch is located at 2195 Old Steese Highway North in Fox, Alaska.

Packrafting to (and from) Hot Springs – Ed Plumb

Ed Plumb will share stories and images of packrafting journeys through wild country to remote hot springs. Ed’s adventures have taken him to a number of rarely visited springs, as well as some that are better known.

Presenters for our March Show

The February show was originally planned as a double feature. We are hoping that we can reschedule Ned Rozell’e planned presentation on paddling the entire length of the Tanana River for March. That third event in the slide show movie night series was originally planned for March 22, but may be changed to March 29.
We are also looking for a few presenters willing to contribute short 5-15 minute mini-presentations to share in a crowd-sourced format. Our goal is to try to highlight Alaskan paddling trips with relatively easy access for local paddlers. If you have photos or video of an Alaskan paddling trip that you would like to share, please contact us at info@fairbankspaddlers.org.

Paddling Presentation Double Feature at Silver Gulch – January 25, 2023

Paddling Presentation Double Feature at Silver Gulch – January 25, 2023

Fairbanks Paddlers Slideshow/Movie Night winter/spring series returns with a double feature at an new venue: Silver Gulch Brewing and Bottling Company in Fox, Alaska. Silver Gulch has reopened on Thursday through Sunday evenings this fall and winter. They have generously agreed to open especially for Fairbanks Paddlers on Wednesday, January 25 for our presentation. Doors will open at 5:30 pm with a limited menu of appetizers, pizza, burgers plus beverages available from the bar. Presentations will start at 7 p.m.  Come early and enjoy good food, beverages and meet up with old friends and new ones from the paddling community. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Silver Gulch is located at 2195 Old Steese Highway North in Fox, Alaska.

Trans-Okavango Delta Kayak – 2022

Ron Yarnell and Stu Pechek will give a presentation of their group’s 180-mile paddle across the Okavango delta during the summer of 2022 in northeast Botswana of southern Africa. It’s exciting paddling amid elephants, hippos and crocodiles, with lions roaring somewhere close outside your tent at night! Our adventures were not just encounters with wildlife. There were times we weren’t sure we would make it!

The Summer of 1,000 River Miles; a Bucket List Check-off

Barry Whitehill set an ambitious goal of paddling a thousand river miles in Alaska and the Yukon during the summer of 2022. Barry will share his photos, stories, and experiences of the multiple rivers he checked off of his bucket list in meeting this goal.

Upcoming Shows

We are planning on additional presentations in February and March. On February 22, we are planning another double feature at Silver Gulch with Ned Rozelle and Ed Plumb. Ned will be sharing his experience in paddling the entire length of the Tanana River, and Ed will be presenting about packrafting trips to remote hot springs.

Our March presentation is tentatively scheduled for March 22. We hope to return to the popular “crowd-sourced” format in which we feature multiple presenters with mini-slide shows or short movies. Our goal is to try to highlight Alaskan paddling trips with relatively easy access for local paddlers. If you have a short 5-15 minute presentation that you would like to share, please contact us at info@fairbankspaddlers.org.

Annual Meeting – Friday, December 2, 2022

Annual Meeting – Friday, December 2, 2022

Join us for Fairbanks Paddlers Annual Meeting on be Friday, December 2nd at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4448 Pikes Landing Road (across from the Princess Hotel off Airport Way). The public is welcome to attend, and we encourage new members to join us.


  • 6:30     Doors open. Meet and greet old friends and new. Talk paddling trips. Help set out food.
  • 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.
  • 7:50    Guest Presenters: Jule Harle, Maggie Harings, and Patrick Higgins.

Presentation: Small Boats, Big Adventures: Packrafting in Alaska

This year our featured guest presentation will be by three members of the new Alaska Chapter of the American Packraft Association (APA): Jule Harle, Maggie Harings, and Patrick Higgins.

Jule Harle

Jule Harle

Jule is owner of Alaska Packraft School and author of the new, self-published Alaska Packraft Guidebook. Some of you may have met Jule at her book signing at HooDoo Brewing this summer. She began her love affair with rivers in the Southern Appalachians as a kayaker and raft guide before moving to Alaska in 2007.  She’s been guiding wilderness backpacking, rafting, sea kayaking & packrafting trips throughout AK since 2008.  Jule is  passionate about helping people explore wild places, but especially teaching river paddling, safety, skill development & helping people plan trips.  She lives in Girdwood as a yoga teacher and holistic mental health therapist in the winter, but switches to “guide/instructor mode” in the summer months, running the Alaska Packraft School. Jule also serves as Treasurer for the Alaska Chapter of APA.

Certifications & Experience: Swiftwater Rescue Technician certified, ACA L3 Whitewater Kayak Instructor, Wilderness First Responder.

Maggie Harings

Maggie Harings

Maggie is the chair for the Alaska Chapter of the APA. She studies Pacific salmon and runs a small outdoor photography business. Her love for paddling stems from countless family trips to the Boundary Waters from the age of one. These experiences paved the way for several years spent rafting big water in Idaho and the rest of the mountain west. In 2017, she made the move north to Alaska, bought a well-loved packraft, and now seeks to support those eager to enter the world of Alaska boating by providing welcoming experiences for all abilities and comfort levels on the water. Last spring, Maggie presented a popular session at our Trip Packing Workshop at Beaver Sports.

Certifications & Experience: L4 ACA Swiftwater Rescue, Outdoor Leadership certification, Wilderness First Aid.



Patrick Higgins

Patrick Higgins

Patrick works for Turnagain Kayak Adventure Center based out of Hope, Alaska in the summer and in the winter works for Alaska Pacific University and Hilltop Ski Area. Patrick’s life goals are to stay dry while living in a van down by the river! Patrick was the first to be certified by American Canoe Association (ACA) as an instructor for their newly introduced discipline of Packrafting. He was recognized as the Instructor of the Month for September 2022 by ACA. Patrick is Vice Chair for the APA Alaska Chapter.

Certifications & Experience: ACA L3 Packrafting Instructor Trainer, L4 Whitewater Kayaking Instructor Trainer, L2 Sea Kayak Instructor Trainer, L4 Swift Water Rescue Instructor, L5 Whitewater Kayaking Instructor, L4 Whitewater SUP Instructor, BCU Coach Level 1, Wilderness First Responder.

Alaska Packraft Guidebook Signings & Raffles, July 26-27, 2022

Alaska Packraft Guidebook Signings & Raffles, July 26-27, 2022

Jule Harle with Alaska Packraft School will be signing her new book, “The Alaska Packraft Guidebook: Premier Rivers & Creeks in the 49th State”  at two upcoming events:

HooDoo Brewing in Fairbanks
Tuesday, July 26 from 6-8 p.m.

Meet Jule Harle at the HooDoo Brewing Co to get a signed copy of her new Alaska Packraft Guidebook.

You can foam over the FIRST EVER packraft specific river guide while drinking delicious beer & hanging out with other river enthusiasts.  What better way to spend a Tuesday night!?  But come early, Northern Alaska Packrafts is giving away a FREE BEER TOKEN to the first 20 book customers.   Each book purchase also gets you a raffle ticket & chance to win an Alpacka Bow bag among other items.

Raffle at 7:45pm; must be present to win
Cash or check only for book purchases

New Wave Adventure Outpost in Denali
Wednesday, July 27 from 7-9 p.m.

Another gathering in Denali the following night: Guidebook Release Party at the New Wave Adventure Outpost.  Here, Jule will take some time to talk about the book: how it came to be, the entire process from trip reports to self-publishing and how to use the content to best execute your next packraft trip in AK.

About Jule Harle:

Jule has been whitewater kayaking, packrafting and rafting Alaskan rivers since moving here in 2007.  She guided multi-day wilderness backpacking, packrafting or rafting trips & instructed river safety courses throughout the state for 15 seasons before completing the guidebook & founding the Alaska Packraft School in 2022.   Out of a passion for wilderness adventure & whitewater paddling and sharing that magic with others, the school was born.  She is a certified ACA instructor in both packraft & whitewater kayak disciplines.  She serves on the boards for the ACA Safety, Education & Instruction Council’s Packrafting endorsement  the American Packrafting Association’s Alaska Chapter.   She lives in Girdwood most of the year, but escapes in the shoulder seasons to paddle warm whitewater & explore new rivers.

American Canoe Association

Join Fairbanks Paddlers

Memberships run from
April 1 through March 31

$10 Individual
$15 Household
$150 Business
$100 Lifetime

Upcoming Events

April 25, 2024
  • Paddling Film Festival at UAF Schaible Auditorium

    April 25, 2024
    Schaible Auditorium, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA
    See more details

May 11, 2024
  • Boat Swap at Beaver Sports

    May 11, 2024 @ 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
    Beaver Sports, 3480 College Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA
    See more details

June 21, 2024
  • Beginning River Paddling Skills and Safety Course

    June 21, 2024 - June 22, 2024 @ 
    Venue To Be Announced
    See more details

June 23, 2024
  • Intermediate River Paddling Skills and Safety Course

    June 23, 2024 - June 24, 2024 @ 
    To be Announced
    See more details