Lower Chatanika River
|Alaska Pocket Maps|
Welcome to Area History For More Information The name Chatanika is derived from the Lower Tanana Athabascan name Dradlaya Nik’a, meaning “whitefish river.” Native placenames record the geographic significance of this landscape to the Tanana Athabascans. In 1907, the Tanana Valley Railroad began operating a route from Fairbanks to Chatanika. The town site of Olnes, just southeast of the park, served as a railroad depot and had a general store, hotel, post office, and 300 residents at its peak. Named after Nels Olnes, a Norwegian prospector, the town of Olnes served as a transportation hub for mining areas near Livengood and Tolovana. The town bustled for over a decade, but once the easy gold had been taken, mining communities dwindled. When the railroad finally shut down the Chatanika route in 1930, Olnes quickly became a ghost town. All of its buildings have since been scrapped, dismantled, or burned, the last falling in the early 1990s. www.alaskastateparks.org Alaska State Parks Northern Area Office 3700 Airport Way Fairbanks, AK 99709 (907) 451-2695 Like “Alaska State Parks” on Facebook Alaska State Trails Program www.alaskastatetrails.org Lower Chatanika River Welcome Set between the winding banks of the Chatanika River, Lower Chatanika River State Recreation Area (SRA) gives riders a chance to travel a network of trails that explore the State Recreation Area forest and riverside. With a mostly flat profile, ATV Trail Map Chatanika River SRA’s trails are a great place for and only the occasional steep grade, Lower beginners to get riding. Olnes, photo 1930-1932. Photo courtesy of University of Alaska Fairbanks UAF-2003-63-47 Background photo: Olnes Pond A Division of the Department of Natural Resources Winter camping in Denali State Park Alaska State Parks Photo courtesy of Jason Nielsen Highlights Camping Whitefish Campground has eight campsites adjacent to the Chatanika River. If you’d like to camp near Olnes Pond, there are 12 sites around its edge. Olnes Pond Campground In the heart of the park, Olnes Pond and its waterside campsites are a great place to cool your heels and cook your dinner after a day of riding, fishing, or fishing and riding. Pipeline Right-of-Way Access Fishing the Chatanika Campsites are equipped with fire rings, picnic tables, and nearby water and toilets. These campgrounds have no RV size limit. Quiet hours are from 11 p.m.-6 a.m., so no midnight rides. Blueberries can be found in late summer for a quick snack. Olnes Pond Campground Whitefish Campground, in the northern part of the park, can be accessed from the Elliott Highway and offers camping and a boat launch onto the Chatanika River. Camping at Olnes Pond This area is a local hot-spot for lake and river fishing. The Chatanika River has Arctic grayling, Arctic lamprey, burbot, chum salmon, humpback whitefish, king salmon, least cisco, longnose sucker, northern pike, sheefish, and slimy sculpins. Olnes Pond has burbot, Arctic grayling, lake chub, longnose sucker, rainbow trout, and whitefish. A boat launch onto the Chatanika River is available at Whitefish Campground. Fans of fishing the oldway take note: Chatanika River has limited openings for spearfishing in fall. Check www.adfg.alaska.gov for regulations and information about local fisheries, before you head out. Do not ride your ATV in the river. Sediment stirred up by tires is bad for fry, which means less fish for your cooler. The Alyeska Pipeline gate and road, south of the park, accesses the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Right-of-Way. Security measures for the areas adjacent the pipeline require you to have a Right-of-way Use Guidelines, or RUG, issued within the past year to access this area. Contact Alyeska Pipeline Security for more information or to apply for a RUG. Fairbanks • (907) 450-5707 Anchorage • (907) 787-8971 / (907) 787-8244 Valdez • (907) 834-6480 ATV Trailrider Pro-Tips 1. •Always wear a he lm or Snell Certified- et -DOT and other protective gear. 2. •Avoid riding on public roads. 3. Don’t ride unde r the influence of alcohol or drugs. 4. •Never carry a passe single-rider vehicle nger on a . 5. •Ride an ATV t hat’s your size and age right for . 6. Children under 14 must be supervised while ri ding ATVs. 7. •Proper instruct ion a are important. AT nd practice Vs can be hazardous to ope rate. It’s the Law Children riding ATVs on state park lands must be at least 14 years old, unless they are supervised by an adult. Whitefish Campground Background photo: Lower Chatanika River Whitefish spawn in autumn and are most active at night, so pack your headlamp or lantern along with your spear and permit. Background photo: Looking down the Alyeska Pipeline. 11AAC 20.951: the use of off-road vehicles is allowed in Lower Chatanika SRA on designated trails and in areas posted as open to off-road vehicles. Access A Web of Trails Olnes Pond Legend Existing Trails Steep Grade Lower Chatanika River SRA is a great place for ATVs, bikers, and hikers to choose a route and explore the northern boreal forest and the banks of the Chatanika River. The trails extend from Olnes Pond in nearly every direction, toward the meandering Chatanika River. You can make a half-loop from the northern to the southern ends of the pond on the western trails that stick close to the river. Or, you can just explore the trails and see what you find. Mud or Trenching Proposed Trail Upgrade Camping (Tent and RV) Toilets Drinking Water Picnic Shelter Hand Boat Launch Boat Ramp the s w ho ail e S f tr te n i L o ta h een oute ka S ablis es r G d r las est ln is O Th pose es. A to und o s pr rad plan l aro upg rks trai ding le. Pa loop s fun ilab a nd a s ava Po come be To F airb Information Bear-Resistant Trash Can Alyeska Security Gate Olnes Pond Campground Park Boundary Olnes Pond You may encounter muddy, rutted trails in highly trafficked ank s N CH Camp Host X Hazardous areas are marked on the map, so choose a route that matches your skill level. Keep in mind that conditions change seasonally and that all hazards may not be noted. y wa i gh Elliott H The Olnes Pond access road is located at milepost 11 of the Elliott Highway. Access to Whitefish Campground is about a quarter mile north at mile 11.2. Whitefish Campground 200 200 00 100 200 200 100 400 400 (Feet) Ch atan ika River areas. CH Roa Protect Your Park es n l O o dt X This area has long been a haven for riders. Please stay on marked and flagged trails to minimize erosion and keep this area healthy enough to support generations of riders. Many social trails crisscross and braid through the area, but using them is not recommended. Alyeska Gate Alyeska Road Staying on the marked and erosion like this. t flagged trail can help preven • Stay on the marked trails to reduce damage to the surrounding area and resources. • Share the trail with other trail users by respecting other types of use and modes of travel, such as hikers and mountain bikers. • Respect private property by staying on the trail easement when crossing private lands. lel the Chatanika River Many trail routes paral Get a Trans-Alaska Pipelin e Right-of way Use Guideline s, or RUG, from Alyeska Pipeline Security before traveling along the pipeline.