Fairbanks Paddlers

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Latest News from Fairbanks Paddlers

Upper Chena Paddle and Potluck 2018 – POSTPONED

Upper Chena Paddle and Potluck 2018 – POSTPONED

The 2018 Annual Paddle and Potluck trip on the upper Chena River scheduled for Saturday, May 12 has been postponed.

The National Weather Service special advisory statement as of Thursday afternoon reads:

Rising River levels through this weekend…

Temperatures in the upper 60’s and mid 70’s this week are resulting in significant melting of the higher elevation snowpac in the central and eastern interior. This is causing rapid runoff of the snowpack in the hills north and east of Fairbanks. Automated snow gages in the Upper Chena river basin earlier this week indicated there was approximately 7 to 16 inches of water stored in the remaining snowpack.

Water levels on rivers draining the hills north and east of Fairbanks will have significant rises over the next few days. This includes the Chena, little chena, Chatanika, Salcha, and Goodpaster rivers. Water could approach bankfull levels in some locations this weekend along with increased debris such as logs and sticks moving downriver. Water levels are expected to gradually fall early next week.

As of Friday  morning, May 11, the river at 40 mile bridge is at 18.8 4 feet and is predicted to peak near flood stage at 19.1 ft by mid-day Saturday.  At about 18.3 feet, the road usually has water over it in places and some river access points are closed.  There are few gravel bars out of the water, and river access at the first bridge put in and 31.4 mile take out can be challenging.  While there is plenty of water in which to maneuver, Swift currents can make hazards more challenging to avoid, and there may be new log jams or trees in the river.
I drove up to look at the river Thursday evening.  The water was near bank full.  The large gravel bar below first bridge is an island, and will likely disappear if the river rises as predicted. There is a large log jam on the upstream side of the bridge that can’t easily bee seen from a vehicle on the bridge.  It appears open on both river right and left, but requires avoiding some large logs in swift current. I observed several large logs floating downstream in the rising water near the 31.4 mile takeout.  Very little shore ice was  visible from the road at 31.4 mile, first bridge, and second bridge. There is some ice along shores visible downstream of third bridge.
I am hoping we can reschedule this when levels are at a more reasonable level.
Enjoy the warm weather.  If you go paddling this weekend, be safe out there.


We will launch at the first bridge (approximately Mile 37 Chena Hot Springs Road) and take out at the mile 31.4 river access (the Nugget Creek winter trailhead).  Meet at the First Bridge at 10 a.m. (Look for the big gravel bar on river right downstream from the bridge, accessed by signed dirt road on the right just before the bridge, then left at the fork out to the gravel bar).  It takes about an hour to get to the first bridge from downtown Fairbanks. We’ll unload gear, run shuttle vehicles down to the take out, and launch. Plan to have lunch on the river and be at the take-out by late afternoon.


This section of river is suitable for canoes, kayaks, packrafts, inflatable kayaks, or small rafts. We will pack lunch dishes, a small propane grill, collapsible table and minimum impact picnic gear  into the boats and have our potluck on a gravel bar along the river.  Be creative.  Kayakers and pack rafters may wish to coordinate with canoeists to help carry bulkier “luxury” items like camp chairs or coolers.  The trip will occur rain or shine.


To come on this trip, you will need to be a current FP member ( Join or Renew online, or bring cash or check to the put-in.  We’ll also have membership applications/renewals at the put-in), wear a PFD, carry spare clothes and rain gear, and be at least an advanced beginner paddler with experience in swift water and the ability to confidently maneuver a boat to avoid sweepers and strainers. In recent years a there have been channels obstructed by logs just upstream of the takeout in the vicinity of the Chena River Public Use Cabin. The Upper Chena is Class I.  Woody debris obstructing the river channel constitutes the main challenges. Skills to recognize hazards, maneuver in swift current, and avoid sweepers or logjams are essential for a safe trip.

Please let trip coordinator John Schauer know if you plan to attend by noon on Friday, May 5.  (907)457-3962 or johnjschauer (AT) gmail (DOT) com.  If you leave a message, please state how many are coming with you and the number and type of craft that you plan to paddle.

Hope to see you on the river!

Delta Clearwater Trip – May 5-6, 2018

Delta Clearwater Trip – May 5-6, 2018

The Fairbanks Paddlers overnight trip on the Delta-Clearwater will be Saturday and Sunday, May 5-6, 2017. The day trip will be Saturday, May 5.

For the overnight: Please contact Cam Leonard at (907) 750-3084 or at canoecam[at]gmail.com. Group size will be limited. Overnight participants should plan to meet at the put-in at the Clearwater campground at 1 pm on Saturday, May 5.

For the day trip: Bruce Campbell will coordinate the day trip.  Please notify Bruce know by Wednesday, May 2 if you plan to join this outing. Call or text (907) 322-9221,  or email brucecanoe@gmail.com.

If you are not a current member of Fairbanks Paddlers or need to renew your membership, complete the online membership form or you can download a membership form from the website, and either send in your completed form and fee ($10 individual or $15 family) or bring these to the trip meet up. Membership forms will also be available at the put-in.

Here’s a description of the river and the trip:

read more…

Ron and Lou’s Alaskan River Adventures Plus – March 14, 2018

Ron and Lou’s Alaskan River Adventures Plus – March 14, 2018

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.

Paddling Film Festival – May 4, 2018

Paddling Film Festival – May 4, 2018


The 2018 Paddling Film Festival World Tour comes to Fairbanks on Friday, May 4 at 7:00 p.m. This year the event returns to The Blue Loon, at 2999 Parks Highway.

The Paddling Film Festival is an international adventure film tour presenting the some of world’s best paddling films of the year – whitewater, sea kayaking, canoeing, SUP, action and lifestyle – in more than 120 cities and towns across Canada, United States and around the world.

Fairbanks Paddlers selected 12 inspiring paddling films from the short list of  28 films shortlisted for the World Tour. These feature wild whitewater action, sea kayaking, wilderness river expeditions, packrafting with mountain bikes, motivating environmental documentaries, stand-up paddleboard surfing, and short films capturing the lighter side of paddling life.

Fairbanks Paddlers is co-hosting the 2018 Paddling Film Festival with REI, Beaver Sports, Alaska Dream Adventures, Arctic River Guides, CanoeAlaska, and Alaska Canoe School.

The first  year’s event was sold out with standing room only on a Tuesday night. Seating is limited, so get your tickets early!

Advance tickets are $8 or $7 with military ID.   Tickets at the door will be $10 or $8 with military ID. Kids under 6 are free. Minors under age 21 must be accompanied by their parents as per the Blue Loon’s Policy.


Packrafting Awareness Presentation – April 26, 2018 at Beaver Sports

Packrafting Awareness Presentation – April 26, 2018 at Beaver Sports

Monica Morin will be delivering a FREE Packrafting Awareness presentation at Beaver Sports on Thursday, April 26, 2018 from 5:30 – 7:00 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.

read more…

Alaskans in the Grand Canyon Presentation – April 4, 2018

Alaskans in the Grand Canyon Presentation – April 4, 2018

Fairbanks Paddlers presents the third and final event in our Spring Slideshow series Wednesday, April 4 at 6:30 p.m. at The Blue Loon.  Randy Brown will present slides from an unguided raft trip through the Grand Canyon in March 2017.  The group was composed largely of Fairbanks paddlers and adventurers who spent more than three weeks in the canyon.  The slide show focuses on several aspects of the canyon and the river including scenery, boating, camping and campsites, wildlife, special places, and of course, the rapids.  There may be a few stories told as well.

We will have a short meeting of the Fairbanks Paddlers Club with an update on activities scheduled for this spring and summer before the slide show.

Admission is free.  Donations to cover the cost of renting the Loon are welcome. The public is welcome to attend. Individuals under 21 must be accompanied by parents as per the Blue Loon’s policy.

Tikchik River Presentation – February 21, 2018

Tikchik River Presentation – February 21, 2018

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.

Annual Meeting and Potluck – November 10, 2017

Annual Meeting and Potluck – November 10, 2017

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.

read more…

Nenana Wildwater Festival – August 4-5, 2017

Nenana Wildwater Festival – August 4-5, 2017

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. 



Six-Mile Whitewater Festival, August 12, 2017

Six-Mile Whitewater Festival, August 12, 2017

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:

MUSIC Schedule:

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)

read more…

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