Fairbanks Paddlers

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Latest News from Fairbanks Paddlers

Delta-Clearwater Day Trip, May 8, 2022

Delta-Clearwater Day Trip, May 8, 2022

UPDATE: Because of the access problems at Clearwater Campground and especially the access problems at Clearwater Lake, the Delta-Clearwater day trip is rescheduled from May 1 to Sunday, May 8th. 

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 day trip will be on May 1 May 8 (Sunday) coordinated by Alan Batten. Interested paddlers should contact the coordinator, who will send out details early next week. Note that I’ll need to contact you via email so if you contact me via text or voice be sure to give me your email address.

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, 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. Everyone, both annual ACA members and daily members will have to sign an ACA waiver, and annual members will need their ACA numbers. I’ll send more info about ACA membership next week to people who express interest in the trip.

Parking at the put-in requires either a $5 parking fee 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.

Even though we are all tired of thinking about it we are still in the midst of a pandemic. People riding in other people’s cars will need to wear masks. I am hoping that we can dispense with masks when we are outdoors, but if anyone is uncomfortable with that then we should all wear masks whenever we are in close proximity (put-in, lunch stop, and take-out). 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. We don’t want anyone to be forced into making a last-minute decision about accepting a ride, or a rider, under conditions that they aren’t comfortable with. People might consider doing a bicycle shuttle. It is only 9 miles between the take-out and the put-in. The route is level or with a gentle grade, and all but about a mile of it is paved.

People interested in the trip should contact Alan Batten before Thursday, April 28 May 5:  alanbatten@acsalaska.net, H: 907-488-3205, C: 907-378-6384. Please do not “just show up” for this trip. I’d really like to know who is coming ahead of time.

Here’s a description of the river and the trip: 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. We’ll stop for an hour for lunch and will probably lolligag a bit beyond that, so I would estimate something like 6 hours for the trip.

What to bring: Canoes and hard-shell kayaks are the most common boats on this trip; going up the creek with a raft could 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 a raincoat. There may be a few mosquitoes out. Also bring lunch and drinks. We will stop for lunch on a gravel bar.

Slough of the Tanana River, April 8 2016

Boat Swap at Beaver Sports – May 7, 2022

Boat Swap at Beaver Sports – May 7, 2022

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 7, 2022 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.

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

Nigu, Etivlik, and Colville Rivers Presentation – April 7, 2022

Nigu, Etivlik, and Colville Rivers Presentation – April 7, 2022

UPDATE: The recorded presentation can now be viewed on YouTube

Join us on April 7 at 7 p.m. Alaska Time via Zoom for a conversation about one of Alaska’s most remote river trips in the north slope of the Brooks Range. In the summer of 2021, seven friends, Wayne Howell, Kim Ney, Tracie and Don Pendergrast, Cam Leonard, Dave Musgrave and Richard Murphy headed out to paddle the Nigu, Etivlik, and Colville Rivers, an area abundant in cultural and natural history. The virtual slide show presentation will share some of the highlights and challenges they found in this remarkable country.

The presentation is open to the public. Membership is encouraged.

The link to Join the Zoom meeting is:




Packing up on a cool arctic morning

River Trip Planning Workshop – Wednesday, March 30, 2022

River Trip Planning Workshop – Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Fairbanks Paddlers will be offering a river trip planning workshop on Wednesday, March 30, at 7 pm in the Murie Auditorium at University Alaska Fairbanks.

This first of two workshops will feature several presenters with years of experience in planning and paddling Alaskan river trips in different styles and a variety of water craft. They will each give short presentations to assist in choosing and preparing for the right river trip for a group, their chosen craft,  travel style, and experience levels. Emphasis will be on safety considerations, logistics, navigation tools, communications, risk assessment, making informed decisions, and learning about current, predicted, and historic river levels and conditions. Following the presentations, a panel will answer questions and share personal experiences.

A second workshop on Thursday, May 12, will focus on gear and packing for different styles of river travel ranging from ultralight/minimalist pack rafting and self-support kayak trips to multi-day wilderness canoe camping to raft supported trips.

Membership is encouraged, but sessions are open to the public. If you have questions or would to present information, please contact us at info@fairbankspaddlers.org .

In our recent membership survey, most respondents expressed strong interest in dry land sessions with a focus on safety and preparation for Alaskan river trips. The survey is still active and can be filled out in a few minutes at https://bit.ly/paddlers2022survey

Noatak and Colville Rivers Presentation – March 24, 2022

Noatak and Colville Rivers Presentation – March 24, 2022

Our first Virtual Slide Show night of the season was a big success. Join us by Zoom on Thursday, March 24 at 7 pm for the second event of the season. Don’t miss Jack Mosby’s presentation of his trips on the Noatak and Colville Rivers in 2021.

The link to join the meeting is: https://bit.ly/paddlers-show-3-24-22


Meeting ID: 870 7285 6822
Passcode: 914934

Jack Mosby is one of the most respected paddlers in Alaska. With Dave Dapkus, Jack is the author of the Alaska Paddling Guide, first published in 1986, it is the quintessential book on Alaska Rivers. Jack worked with the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program, perhaps the most enviable job in Alaska. He has paddled rivers throughout Alaska for work and pleasure. He is the consummate pro for trip organization, logistics, river travel, camp comforts, and card playing.

Jack Mosby

The event is open to the public. Membership is encouraged. Drawings will be held for door prizes.


Bonanza Creek / Fish Creek / Koyukuk River Presentation – Thursday, Feb, 24, 2022

Bonanza Creek / Fish Creek / Koyukuk River Presentation – Thursday, Feb, 24, 2022

UPDATE: March 9, 2022 – The Zoom meeting recording of our Virtual Presentations from February 24 are now available to view on YouTube. Timestamps / Chapter markers are included to Barry’s and to Dirk’s presentations.


Join us for the first of Fairbanks Paddlers’ three virtual slide shows in our spring series on Thursday, February 24, 2022 at 7 pm Alaska Standard Time over Zoom.

Here is the link to Join:


Meeting ID: 843 8305 5429
Passcode: 296867
One tap mobile
+12532158782,,84383055429#,,,,*296867# US (Tacoma)
+13462487799,,84383055429#,,,,*296867# US (Houston)

Barry Whitehill will present “205 Years go 205 Miles”, an account of a trip that he, his wife Patti, and a friend ( with combined 205 year of age) took from the Dalton Highway to Hughes by going down the South Fork of Bonanza Creek to Fish Creek to the South Fork of the Koyukuk to the Koyukuk. His presentation promises a great mix of images ranging from outstanding wildlife shots to Gold Rush relics to Pleistocene relics to Koyukon Village/fish camp life.

Anchorage based packrafter Dirk Sisson and his trip partner Steve Bergt will describe a close call on the Kongakut River last summer, and share some of the safety lessons he took away from an intimate aufeis encounter.

The presentation is free and open to the public. Drawings will be held for club merchandise “door” prizes.

Annual Meeting – Friday, January 21, 2022

Mark your calendars for the Fairbanks Paddlers Annual Meeting, January 21, 2022 at 7:00 PM AKST . This will be a virtual Zoom meeting.

The link is:

Meeting ID: 811 5275 8655
Passcode: 191019
One tap mobile
+13462487799,,81152758655#,,,,*191019# US (Houston)
+16699006833,,81152758655#,,,,*191019# US (San Jose)

We’ll recap of the past year and have a feature film, Bill Mason’s classic Song of the Paddle. Voting on two board of directors’ positions is necessary, plus fabulous door prizes. So don’t miss out. The meeting is open to the public.

We hope that some of you are interested in becoming board members, if you are willing or want to nominate yourself or someone else, just drop any board member an email. It’s a great way to be engaged and serve the paddling community. Come on in, the water’s fine!

Not interested in being on the board but want to fly your Fairbanks Paddlers colors? Visit our store on the website where you can find a sticker for your boat, a hat for your head, or shirt to wear.

We have several presentations in the upcoming months to whet your appetite for wetting your paddle once we have liquid water again. Stay tuned.

Chena River Clean Up – July 21, 2021

Chena River Clean Up – July 21, 2021

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.

Paddle for the Refuge – July 16-18, 2021

Paddle for the Refuge – July 16-18, 2021

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 @ intern@northern.org.

American Canoe Association

Join Fairbanks Paddlers

Memberships run from
April 1 through March 31

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

Upcoming Events

Nothing from March 20, 2023 to May 20, 2023.

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