Fairbanks Paddlers

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

Latest News from Fairbanks Paddlers

Delta Clearwater Trip – April 20-21, 2019

Delta Clearwater Trip – April 20-21, 2019

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 20-21, 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 lead the day trip on Saturday, April 20, and Cam Leonard will lead the overnight trip leaving the same day and finishing up on Sunday. Interested paddlers should contact the leaders, who will send out details later.

Alan’s (day trip) contact info is alanbatten@acsalaska.net, H: 488-3205, C: 378-6384.

Cam’s (overnight trip) contact info is canoecam@gmail.com, C: 750-3084

Please note that all participants must be current members of Fairbanks Paddlers. Memberships can be renewed at https://www.fairbankspaddlers.org/join/. A major difference from previous years is that now 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 beaurocracy 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 $25 (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 $5. 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.

read more…

2019 Winter/Spring Pool Sessions for Paddlers

2019 Winter/Spring Pool Sessions for Paddlers

Spring is a great time to get your paddling skills tuned up before hitting the rivers when they are cold, high, and swift after breakup.

There are several opportunities to practice your skills, work on your roll, and have fun with other paddlers at local swimming pools.

  • Saturdays: 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Alaska Club, Fairbanks South – $4 pool fee
  • Sundays: 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. at Patty Pool, UAF Student Rec Center – $5 pool fee
  • Mondays: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Hamme Pool, Lathrop H.S. – $6 pool fee

If you bring your own boat, please be sure to clean out all the silt, sand, leaves and rodent nests before bringing it. You can give  it a final rinse with hoses provided poolside.

If you can’t bring your own boat, contact Alaska Dream Adventures in advance at (907) 460-2909. They offer boats and gear at no extra charge and also offer lessons upon request.


Alaska Canoe School Courses – Summer 2019

Alaska Canoe School Courses – Summer 2019

Fairbanks Paddlers business member Alaska Canoe School announces its summer 2019 schedule for canoe instruction.

May 17, 18, & 19
River Canoeing Sequence. Three American Canoe Association River Courses linked Levels 1-3.

May 31, June 1, 2, & 3
River Canoeing Instructor Development Workshop and Exam.  This is for experienced cancers who want to become ACA Certified Instructors River Canoe Level 2.

June 5
Introduction to River Canoeing Part 1.  Evening course divided into halves for those who want a course on a week night, Wednesday.

June 6
Introduction to River Canoeing Part 2.  Second half on Thursday night.

June 8
Essentials of River Canoeing.  Day long course.

More courses and custom courses are available upon request.

Women’s Paddling Group events will also this summer.  Contact Alaska Canoe School for more information.

The Charley River – April 3, 2019

The Charley River – April 3, 2019

Fairbanks Paddlers hosts the third and final event in our Spring Slideshow series at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 3 at the Blue Loon.

The Charley River

Ron Davis and John Morack will present a program of two trips down the Charley River in the early 1980’s when you had to walk in fifteen miles to get there!

The Charley River originates in the Yukon-Tanana uplands and flows northward about 108 miles to the Yukon River. The river flows through three distinct topographic regions – open upland valley, entrenched river, and open floodplain – offering varied, sometimes spectacular scenery as well as unspoiled wilderness. The upland valleys drain a rugged mountain area where peaks over 6,000 feet are common. The river passes beneath high bluffs and cliffs where the majority of the rapids occur. When the river leaves the high bluff area, it enters the flat plain of the Yukon Valley where it slowly meanders to the Yukon River. ( “Floating the Charley River” – NPS Yukon-Charley Rivers Preserve website )

Come early and enjoy food, beverages, and camaraderie.  Meet up with friends and start planning your own summer river adventures. The public is welcome. Admission is free, but donations are welcome to help cover the cost of the venue. Those under 21 must be accompanied by parents or guardians as required by Blue Loon policies.

The Wind River – March 20,  2019

The Wind River – March 20, 2019

Fairbanks Paddlers hosts the second presentation in our Spring Slideshow series at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 20 at the Blue Loon.

The Wind River

The Wind River is a Wild and Scenic River located on the south east side of the Brooks Range and flows into the East Fork of the Chandalar River. Tom and Sarka Paragi, Dave Sauer, and John Morack floated the Wind River for eight days during August of 2018.  The upper part of the river flows through the mountains with great views which the group took advantage of by taking several hikes.  It is a great wilderness trip which is floated by only a hand full of groups each year.

Come early and enjoy food, beverages, and camaraderie.  Meet up with friends and start planning your own summer river adventures. The public is welcome. Admission is free, but donations are welcome to help cover the cost of the venue. Those under 21 must be accompanied by parents or guardians as required by Blue Loon policies.

Navigating the Nahanni – February 20, 2019

Navigating the Nahanni – February 20, 2019

Fairbanks Paddlers kicks off our Spring Slideshow series on Wednesday, February 20 at 7:00 p.m. at the Blue Loon.

“Navigating the Nahanni”

A slideshow by Torre Jorgenson
and the accompanying river rats Janet Jorgenson, Don and Tracy Pendergrast, Brad Fleener, and Donna Manders

The “Dangerous River”, flowing through the Mackenzie Mountains in the Northwest Territories, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 in recognition of its incredible landscape and world class river system. The South Nahanni River has been called the “Grand Canyon” of Canada and contains the highest large waterfall in North America, Virginia Falls, at 90 m high. Once the ancestral  home of the nomadic Dene First Nation, tribal members reestablished their connections to the river by constructing a 12-m-long moose hide boat and paddling it down river while we were there. Following the days of the Cassiargold rush, it became a land of mystery with unsolved murders and disappearances, as recorded in place names such as Broken Skull River, Vampire Peaks, Deadman Valley, Headless Range, and Funeral Range.

During summer 2018, six of us in three canoes navigated 267 river miles over a three-week period. Highlights of the trip include Virginia Falls, four canyons up to 1000-m deep with challenging class 3 whitewater, side-canyon hikes, RabbitkettleLake, Tufa mounds, Hells Gate, WhitespraySprings, Kraus Hot Springs, and wood buffalo in camp. In the slideshow we discuss the history, ethnography, and ecology of the region, as well as canoeing challenges, logistics, and culinary entertainment.

Admission is free. Donations are welcome. The public is invited. Under age 21 must be with parents.

Nahanni River

Annual Meeting and Potluck – November 9, 2018

Annual Meeting and Potluck – November 9, 2018

Fairbanks Paddlers will hold it’s 2018 Annual Meeting and Potluck Dinner on Friday, November 9 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fairbanks.  All are welcome to attend.

Last year’s “crowd-sourced” slide shows and videos were so well received, that we have decided to bring this format back to the featured presentation following the short business meeting and election. At the 2017 meeting, we celebrated Wild and Scenic Rivers. Nine people shared their images and stories from river adventures.  We would like to keep each presentation to about 5-7 minutes. These mini-shows can highlight any human powered river trips, but we would especially like to invite presentations of wild and scenic Alaskan rivers, whether they are officially designated or not.

If you are willing to share few images, video clips, 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. 

Celebrating Wild and Scenic Rivers

Last year, we kicked off the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The actual 50th anniversary of this historic act’s passage was October 2, 2018.  To continue the celebration, we will show the 42 minute video “Run Wild Run Free: 50 years of Wild and Scenic Rivers” following our mini-slide shows.

The film “Run Wild Run Free…” takes the viewer through the history to the present of Wild and Scenic as told through experts, grassroots organizers, white water enthusiasts, and members of the Nez Perce tribe in Idaho.


Run Wild Run Free: 50 years of Wild and Scenic Rivers : Official Trailer from Pacific Rivers on Vimeo.

Today in a polarized political climate new designations and river protections have stalled even though there is no time in history more important then now to protect our freshwater ecosystems. We hope this film will inspire and educate people across the country to protect their home river under Wild and Scenic so we can continue this important legacy for future generations to come. ~Shane Anderson – Pacific Rivers


  • 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 2018 activities – Nomination and election of new board members.
  • 7:50 PM – Crowd-sourced mini slideshows celebrating wild rivers, followed by the video “Run Wild Run Free: 50 Years of Wild and Scenic Rivers”

read more…

Nenana Wildwater Festival – August 17-18, 2018

Nenana Wildwater Festival – August 17-18, 2018

The Nenana Wildwater Festival takes place Saturday, August 18 near Denali Park, Alaska. This is the 42nd consecutive year for this longest running river event in Alaska.

The mass start downriver race begins at noon on the river left 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 or along the shoulder near the put-in. 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 17 from 5-9 pm and on Saturday, August 18 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. 



Reindeer Hills Overnight – June 9-10, 2018

Reindeer Hills Overnight – June 9-10, 2018

The Reindeer Hills Overnight will be the weekend of June 9-10, 2018.  On this trip we float the Nenana River between approximately 17-mile Denali Highway and the “Windy Bridge” (the curved bridge on the Parks Highway a few miles north of Cantwell; NOT the high bridge north of Glitter Gulch), starting Saturday, spending the night on the river, and taking out Sunday afternoon.

Trip Description:

The put-in is on the Denali Highway, about 18 miles east of Cantwell. The river parallels the road for a few miles, then cuts north behind the Reindeer Hills, returning to the road and the take-out on the Parks Highway at Windy Bridge. It is a fast-moving, glacial-fed river rated class I to II-.  A set of rapids, perhaps a mile long, starts near where the river turns away from the Denali Highway and is straightforward, with some waves up to a foot high in a clear, wide, unobstructed channel.  A few large rocks near the waterline lurking along the sides towards the tail end of this rapid, however, keep paddlers alert.

The primary challenge to newer moving water boaters on this trip is the numerous bends often populated with sweepers and strainers in fast-moving current, requiring competent river-reading and paddling skills.  A decent back-ferry is recommended, as well as suitable cross-current forward  movement skills.  It is definitely a step up from the upper Chena, but not as challenging as lower sections of the Nenana.  If you are comfortable on the upper Chena and are looking for a change of scenery and a little more challenge, this may be the trip for you.  Its vistas are beautiful, especially on a clear day, and there is a fair chance of seeing moose, caribou, or bear.  We will camp either on an island above Bruskasna Creek, or right by the creek’s mouth. The Bruskasna site has been popular in the past, but it has become overgrown over the years and the views and possibility of sun is better at the island camp.

We could easily have rain on the trip, and the nights can be chilly, even near freezing, though that’s usually more likely earlier in June.  The river water, however, is extremely cold; a drysuit and fleece layering is nice, though not necessary, but rain gear, non-cotton layering and extra clothes are a must.  I’ll bring a large kitchen tarp, cookware and kitchen tools, a 4-burner stove, a groover, and two tables.  People should bring snacks, lunch, eating utensils, a cup and a bowl or plate.  We can talk about major meals when I have a clear idea of who is coming.

Participants must be current members of Fairbanks Paddlers.  I’ll have membership forms on hand for those who need to re-up for this summer.   Fees are $10 for an individual and $15 for a family sharing one roof.  If you desire a business membership you should contact the club treasurer before the trip.

Brad Snow will coordinate this trip. He will notify participants of the meeting time, place and shuttle plans as the weekend gets closer and folks sign up.  There will be a designated parking spot on the west side of Fairbanks where people can meet to carpool.  However this falls, we’ll want to leave Fairbanks, packed, boats tied on, and vehicles gassed by 9am at the latest.  We’ll likely get off the river Sunday afternoon around 3 or 4 p.m., but after running shuttle and loading, plus the 2-hour drive to Fairbanks, plan on arriving home no earlier than 7 or 8.

For further information and to sign up, please email the trip coordinator, Brad Snow, at svaldonza@gmail.com .

See you on the river!

Chena River Cleanup

Chena River Cleanup Rescheduled for June 13

The Paddlers’ annual cleanup of the Chena River through town has been rescheduled for Wednesday, June 13. We will meet at Graehl Landing (just upstream from the Wendell Street bridge) at 6:00 p.m., set shuttle to the Pioneer Park landing at Peger Road, and plan on launching from Graehl promptly at 6:30. Once on the water people travel more or less at their own pace, stopping to pick up trash on the riverbanks. Usually, everybody is out of the water by 9:00 or 10:00.

Chena River Cleanup 2017

Ray Hander, of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, has some fish traps (50-60 in all) in the water in the area where we will be working, so we want to be aware of them and not bother them. They are to monitor juvenile Chinook Salmon as they migrate out of the Chena River and head to sea. The traps are tied with parachute cord and are marked with surveyors flagging. They are labeled with a “Please do not Disturb” label referencing Ray and his project. If you accidentally pull one out of the water momentarily, just re-tie it and submerge it back in the place where it was found.  The traps may occur in pairs.

Note that Phillips Field Road will be closed for construction, so we will have to use the Johansen Expressway to set shuttle.

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.

For more information contact Alan Batten at alanbatten@acsalaska.net, or at 488-3205.

American Canoe Association

Join Fairbanks Paddlers

Memberships run from
April 1 through March 31

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Upcoming Events

November 6, 2020
  • Annual Meeting and Paddling Film Watch Party

    November 6, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm

    See more details

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