Fairbanks Paddlers

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

Latest News from Fairbanks Paddlers

A Changed Perspective – Paddling Alaskan Rivers – April 19

A Changed Perspective – Paddling Alaskan Rivers – April 19

Mike Peterson will present the third event in Fairbanks Paddlers’ Spring Slideshow Series on April 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Blue Loon.

Mike paddled Wisconsin’s Sugar, Rock, and Pecatonica Rivers and Turtle Creek before moving to Alaska in May 2016.  In his first summer in Alaska, his perspective changed as he transitioned from the lazy, winding rivers of his midwest roots, to the wild and scenic rivers of Alaska.  Mike’s summer paddling adventures took him to the Chena River, 40 Mile, Hungry Hollow, Gulkana, Rock Creek, Birch Creek, and Tangle Lakes. From winter pool sessions and playing Epic Kayak Ultimate to discovering Alaskan wilderness waterways,  Mike  will present images and share cultural differences and experiences paddling in Alaska as compared to  Wisconsin.

Admission is free. Donations are encouraged to cover club expenses.  All ages are welcome; however, the Loon requires anyone under 21 to be accompanied by their OWN PARENT.  Come early to eat, drink, and visit with other paddlers.

A Changed Perspective - April 19 at the Blue Loon


Firth River Presentation – April 5

Firth River Presentation – April 5

In June 2016, a private group of nine journeyed to Inuvik, Northwest Territories. From there they flew in to the remote Ivvavik National park in the far northwest corner of Yukon Territory. For two weeks they experienced wilderness, wildlife, and whitewater as they kayaked and rafted the Firth River and hiked surrounding ridges and valleys. They floated over 80 miles from their starting point in the British Mountains to  Nunaluk Spit on the Arctic Ocean shore. The boaters descended over 1500 feet of elevation and negotiated numerous Class III and IV rapids as the Firth made its way through boreal forest, canyons, and tundra to the sea.  Extreme high water levels during the trip made for some memorable times.

John Schauer will share images and stories of this river adventure at the Blue Loon on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at 7:30 pm.  Admission is free. Donations are encouraged to cover club expenses.  All ages are welcome; however, the Loon requires anyone under 21 to be accompanied by their OWN PARENT.  Come early to eat, drink, and visit with other river enthusiasts.


Killik River Slide Show – March 22 at the Blue Loon

Killik River Slide Show – March 22 at the Blue Loon

Fairbanks Paddlers kicks off our Spring Slideshow series on Wednesday, March 22 at 7:30 pm at the Blue Loon.

John Morack and Tom Paragi will present their 2016 journey on the upper Killik River in Alaska’s Gates of the Arctic National Park.

In early August 2016, five friends enjoyed a week of paddling and hiking from where the upper Killik River first becomes large enough for inflatable canoes down to the confluence with Easter Creek. Their adventures included frequent viewing of caribou and grizzly bears, a chaperoned honeymoon that welcomed the bride to “the group,” and knitting lessons!


Hiking in the upper Killik River valley, Gates of the Arctic National Park

Admission is free.  Donations are encouraged to help the club cover the cost of using the venue. Come early to eat, drink, and socialize with other paddlers, outdoor enthusiasts, and the usual (and unusual) Fairbanks crowd.  The event is family friendly; however, we must follow the Blue Loon’s minor policy:  Anyone under the age of 21 must be accompanied by THEIR OWN PARENTS.

Boating Nights at Hamme Pool – Winter 2017

Boating Nights at Hamme Pool – Winter 2017

Time to dig out your kayaks, packrafts, and canoes for winter fun and fitness.  Join paddlers at Hamme Pool on Monday nights starting in January for great exercise, camaraderie, and fun.  Keep your boating skills tuned up for break up, or get ready for that spring paddling adventure Outside.

Winter 2017 paddling practice sessions and kayak polo at Hamme Pool begin Monday, January 9th.

Boating nights are scheduled for every Monday from  7-9pm beginning January 4th and running through May 15,  except for the following holidays/scheduled maintenance:

  • Monday, Jan 16th for Martin Luther King Jr Day.
  • Monday, Feb 20th for Presidents Day

Paddling skills and rolling practice run from 7:00 to 8:15pm.  Pick-up games of kayak polo run from 8:15 to 9 pm.   The deep end of the pool usually remains open for skills practice during polo games at the discretion of pool staff.

Bring a helmet if you want to join the paddling polo game.  Face masks or full face helmets are recommended.

read more…

Annual Meeting and Potluck – November 4, 2016

Annual Meeting and Potluck – November 4, 2016

Fairbanks Paddlers will hold it’s 2016 Annual Meeting and Potluck Dinner on Friday, November 4 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fairbanks.  All are welcome to attend.

Ned Rozell will be this year’s guest presenter following our potluck dinner and short business meeting. He will share stories and images of his travels on Alaska’s “Trail River”.


  • 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.  A new order of 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. 
  • 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 2016 activities – Nomination and election of new board members.
  • 7:50 PM – Guest Presentation and slide show by Ned Rozell – “Trail River”

Trail River

The Tanana River is the reason we’re all here, due to E.T. Barnette’s wrong turn. It’s our home river, but it’s not swift, splashy or sexy. More braided, board-like and backwater. But it’s home, has easy highway shuttles and is a surprise in good ways. Ned Rozell aspires to canoe the whole river, and this summer floated from Nenana to Tanana. At the November meeting of the Fairbanks Paddlers, he will describe his travels on the “Trail River” and why he thinks others are missing the boat.

read more…

Packrafting Awareness Presentation – August 30, 2016 at Beaver Sports

Packrafting Awareness Presentation – August 30, 2016 at Beaver Sports

Monica Morin will be giving a Packrafting Awareness presentation at Beaver Sports on Tuesday, August 30 from 5 – 7 p.m.

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…

40th Annual Nenana Wildwater Festival – August 19-21, 2016

40th Annual Nenana Wildwater Festival – August 19-21, 2016

The 40th Annual Nenana Wildwater Races will be held the August 19-21 in the Denali Park and Healy area. This year’s event will be held in conjunction with the Blueberry festival sponsored by the Denali Chamber of Commerce. The festival promises to be bigger and better than ever with fun events of interest to paddlers and non-paddlers.

The fun kicks off on Friday, August 19 at 6 pm  at Otto Lake with a Barbecue, live music, and Epic Kayak  Ultimate (Ultimate frisbee played in kayaks) at 7 pm.

The 40th annual Wildwater races start at Noon on Saturday, August 20 at the Jonesville Bridge near the Denali Park entrance. It will be preceded by the Blueberry Dash 5k at 9 am, and the Great Denali Duck Race at 11 am.

Sunday, August 21 wraps up with Epic Kayak Ultimate club games and the Blueberry Bash at Otto Lake from 11 am to 3 pm.

DCoC - Blueberry Festival - Wildwater Event POSTER - FINAL


Arctic Refuge Visitor Survey

Have you done a trip in the Arctic Refuge this summer, or do you still have a trip planned?  If so, you should participate in the Fish & Wildlife Service survey of Refuge visitors. The poster below tells why it is important for you to make your preferences known.  To participate in the survey, contact the Arctic Refuge at 1-800-362-4546 or email roger_kaye@fws.gov.

2016 recreation users poster W

Six Mile Creek Whitewater & Bluegrass Festival – August 13, 2016

Six Mile Creek Whitewater & Bluegrass Festival – August 13, 2016

The 9th Annual Six Mile Creek Whitewater and Bluegrass Festival will be held Saturday, August 13th, 2016.

The purpose of the Six Mile Creek Whitewater and Bluegrass Festival is to bring the whitewater paddling community, the music and 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 sprint racing through a narrow, whitewater canyon… guaranteed ear-to-ear grins! While you’re at it, come boogie on the shores of the river on Saturday night to some incredible, boot-stompin’ live music! EVERYTHING (live music, competition entry, festival entry, camping, parking) is FREE!!!!! As always, there will be a raffle for some sweet prizes, an awards ceremony for the races, live music, and a fire show once the sun goes down!


SATURDAY, AUGUST 13th, 2016:

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!

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!

MUSIC Schedule:

SATURDAY, AUGUST 13th, 2016 at the main festival grounds:

  • 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Squeeze Mama
  • 7:15 pm – 8:15 pm : The Goddamn Ranch Hand Band
  • 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm : Quela Narguela & the Rowdy Rutabagas
  • 9:45 pm – 11:30 pm : The Shoot Dangs
  • 11:45 pm – 1-ish am : Orion Donict (prepare to dance your faces off)


Share the event on Facebook and invite your friends at: https://www.facebook.com/events/629941750503852/

*** THERE WILL NOT be any food vendors this year or beer garden! Bring food/beer for yourself so you don’t get hungry/thirsty! This is a completely self-reliant festival ***

DIRECTIONS: Drive 1 hour south of Anchorage on the Seward Highway towards the town of Hope. Main festival grounds are located at mile 3.4 of Hope Road. Look for festival signs.

PARKING: You can park off the shoulder of the road, but DO NOT park over the white lines or you will be towed. Don’t block anyone in and make sure sure sure your car is completely off the road. They are very serious about towing, so please spread the word!!! Please be respectful and don’t park on anyone’s private property! Be creative and use your common sense.
*** there is a good chance that you might have to drop camping gear off at the festival area, and go drive your car down the road a ways and find a shoulder big enough to pull off over the white line. There is another large camping area around mile marker 1.

CAMPING: * Free camping! around the main festival grounds, no room for RV’s at the main festival area though, tent camping only. There are plenty of free camping areas along the road to Hope, just be creative. There’s a large field, so just find a spot to nestle into, it’s a beautiful camping area! There is also an official campground about 10 miles down the road past the town of Hope. Once again, be creative and use your common sense.

  • PLEASE PACK OUT YOUR OWN TRASH!!!! It would be awesome to have everyone’s help on Sunday morning cleaning up the area… the Chugach National Forest rangers will be assessing the area after the festival and it needs to be BETTER than it was before the festival to have the festival next year… I need everyone’s participation to do this (pick up any trash/paper, fluff up the grass where your tent was, pick up any left-over food on the ground, etc)

** If you get to the main festival grounds at 1:00pm on Saturday and wonder where folks are at… YOU’RE MISSING THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE FESTIVAL!!!!… the extreme, mass-start sprint races 5 minutes back up the road!! (look for lots of parked cars off the Seward Hwy about a mile north of the Hope Road junction).

DIRECTIONS to the extreme race area mentioned above: *Competitors & spectators will leave the main festival grounds & drive up the road to the 1st canyon race area just off the Seward Highway about 1 mile north of the Canyon Creek bridge overpass on Saturday at 1:00p.m. sharp…*** you’ll notice people leaving the main festival area, just use your intuition and follow them***

  • If you want to volunteer, all you have to do is contribute somehow. I need volunteers to
  • make a fire pit/collect firewood
  • pick up trash and bring it to town/the Hope dump on Sunday morning
  • help break down the main stage on Sunday morning
  • help pack up Sunday morning
  • help direct people towards parking
  • river safety/rescue racers by boat/throwbag
    -etc etc etc

IF YOU WANT TO VOLUNTEER, please contact Tim Johnson at kayaker35@hotmail.com or just help at the festival when it looks like help is needed.

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 are usually swimmers involved.

Chena River Cleanup 2016 – Summary

Chena Cleanup Crew 2016

Cleanup Crew and the results of their labors, Pioneer Park, 11 May 2016

Thanks to all of you who came out on the evening of May 11 to clean up the Chena River through town. About 20 people came out and together we pulled about 700 pounds of trash out of the river between Graehl Landing and Pioneer Park. This has been duly reported to American Rivers, which has been sponsoring river cleanups throughout the country and keeping track of the results. We are also recognized by the Tanana Valley Watershed Association for our commitment to keeping the banks of the Chena River cleaned up. Thanks again to everyone who came out.

truck and trash

Larry Fogleson’s truck with about half (the weightier half) of the take

Boat with Trash

Jason Fails with a well-loaded boat.

American Canoe Association

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August 28, 2019
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