Fairbanks Paddlers

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

Latest News from Fairbanks Paddlers

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.

Lower Gulkana Trip – July 7-9, 2021

Lower Gulkana Trip – July 7-9, 2021

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: brucecanoe@gmail.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: brucecanoe@gmail.com.

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).

Tanana Lakes Paddle-Cookout-Meeting, Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Tanana Lakes Paddle-Cookout-Meeting, Tuesday, June 22, 2021

We’ve rented the pavilion at Tanana Lakes for our Board of Directors meeting, and invite you to join us for a cookout and paddle.
Tuesday, June 22, from 5:30 PM till 9:00 PM
We’ll bring the club grill and probably some other grills will be available.
This will be the Tuesday Edition of our Wednesday Night Float, with a board meeting included.
If you are not vaccinated please observe proper precautions (masks and social distancing).
At this point we don’t have any activities planned, but who knows maybe we’ll come up with some paddling games.  Maybe some of you have brilliant ideas.
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 December 5, 2022 to February 5, 2023.

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