Chugach

Eagle River Nature Center

brochure Chugach - Eagle River Nature Center

covered parks

Alaska State Parks Background photo courtesy of Jim Wood Calypso orchid photos courtesy of Gina Smith and Nicole Acevedo Background and inset ca. 1970s. Notice the clear cut areas above. In 1996, the newly created non-profit group, Friends of Eagle River Nature Center, took over operations. The nature center has had great success in increasing membership and programming, and enhancing recreational opportunities. In 2005, the organization was awarded a 25-year contract to continue operating the nature center. In 1980, Barclay sold the property to Alaska State Parks. In March of 1981, the lodge reemerged as the Eagle River Visitor Center. The building was completely remodeled to include a new second level of windows, hands-on interpretive displays, and nature photos. The Eagle River Nature Center was once the Paradise Haven Lodge. Operated by John Barclay in the 1960s and 1970s on his five-acre homestead, the lodge was popular with many locals for its food and drinks. There was also a racetrack for motorcyclists and snowmachiners. It was aptly described as “very Alaskan.” “Chugach State Park” and ERNC CSP@alaska.gov Chugach State Park Headquarters Potter Section House 18620 Seward Highway Anchorage, AK 99516 (907) 345-5014 www.alaskastateparks.org Eagle River Nature Center 32750 Eagle River Road (Mile 12) Eagle River, AK 99577 (907) 694-2108 www.ernc.org in Chugach State Park Nature Center Eagle River For More Information ERNC History Welcome to Welcome Salmon viewing deck Nestled in Eagle River Valley and surrounded by the towering Chugach Mountains, the Eagle River Nature Center (ERNC) provides information, educational programs, and nonstop outdoor recreational opportunities. Whether enjoying the wood-burning stove after cross-country skiing, or listening to the wood frogs’ chorus on Dew Mound Lake, the ERNC has activities for all ages and abilities. The Friends of ERNC operates the nature center and serves over 40,000 visitors annually. Under the Friends’ management, it is open year-round, providing access to over 10-miles of maintained trails, extensive interpretive programming and environmental education for schools (K-12). Public Programs The elusive American dipper, the glittering northern lights, and bountiful wildflowers are just a few of the topics explored during ERNC’s public programs. The ERNC provides environmental and wildlife awareness, and conservation education for all ages. The schedule can be found online at www.ernc.org. • Kneehigh Naturalist Programs offer nature exploration for children, ages three to five, accompanied by a parent. Children discover the natural environment through hands-on activities and outdoor exploration. • Junior Naturalist Programs are designed for families with children in K-6th grade. • General Audience Programs cover a wide range of programs dealing with Alaska’s natural history. • Astronomy Programs are offered bi-monthly during the winter months for the general public. Wildlife All inset photos courtesy of ERNC American Dipper and wood frog photos courtesy of Gina Smith Background photo courtesy of Larry Anderson Do you want to watch spawning salmon in a beaver pond? Or go on a naturalist-led hike to spot Dall’s sheep? It’s easy to observe wildlife in their natural habitat along the trails around the ERNC. Animals frequently seen include brown and black bears, moose, porcupines, beavers, and songbirds. Keep your cameras and binoculars ready—you never know what you’re going to see! Public-use cabin Classroom yurt Public-Use Cabins Fall asleep listening to the sounds of the Eagle River, or savor a cup of hot chocolate as you gaze at the mountains from the porch of the River Yurt. The two yurts and one public-use cabin offer cozy accommodations for groups of four to eight. Reservations must be made in advance, either by phone, in person, or online at www.ernc.org. • The Cabin is located off the Crow Pass Trail, about 1.25 miles from the nature center. It is equipped with sleeping platforms for eight people, benches, a table, a wood stove, and firewood. A latrine is nearby. • The Rapids Camp Yurt is located off the Crow Pass Trail, 1.75 miles from the nature center and sleeps four. It is equipped with firewood, a bunk bed, table, and deck. • The River Yurt is located off the Albert Loop Trail about 1.5 miles from the nature center. It sleeps four and includes firewood, a table, and deck. Eagle River Nature Center Access: Kn ik Ar m Take the Glenn Highway to the Eagle River Loop exit at milepost 11.6. Turn right on Eagle River Road and continue to the end of the road. Anchorage Turn a gain Area of detail Chugach State Park Arm Legend Parking Skiing Trailhead Bridge Cabin/Yurt Camping Picnic Trail ranoid.” be “bea nd bears. o t e v ha sa an you human sn’t me afer for both e o d t a s th ks tr y, but our par a bear. ar coun you’ll make e e is b r p is r a u untr y. s and Alask t to s n ip t a e w bear co adphones! s ’t e in n h t o p d u w o u o r o he g and in Foll noise. Y fer in a not use orners, • Make up. You are sa ay aware. Do ks, on blind c e surpris st y ee • Budd r senses and ially along cr igh chance of h ou ec it. • Use y autiously, esp . High speed= m at home. to use c s e a h e t e v r e ow how responsibly. o a v n a d k e le t • M d a r n t sh o le, a nts vege n a lea availab ther attracta your food. highly o r pets o ave it readily u re d o o n t y a s , p , fish ay, h k and • Kee ear spr . Handle food ways to coo y. b y r r a ars • C ivit safe ear act feed be ow the about b • Don’t e camping, kn s n ka.gov. ig s ’r ted ars.alas e b a k • If you ntion to pos s .ala tte ar! at www • Pay a un from a be havior e b r r a r e • Neve ore about b m • Learn Bears Brown bear Photo courtesy of Steve Neel Trails Miles of trails can be accessed from the trailhead behind the center. Enjoy a short loop that takes you to a viewing deck or plan a multi-day hike on the Crow Pass/Iditarod National Historic Trail. Rodak Nature Trail Access: Eagle River Nature Center Travel Means: foot, ski Distance: 0.7-mile loop This interpretive loop trail offers you the chance to view spawning salmon and a beaver pond teeming with aquatic life. There are benches and interpretive panels along the trail, and it is groomed for skiing in winter. Albert Loop Trail Access: Eagle River Nature Center Travel Means: foot, ski Distance: 3-mile loop The Albert Loop Trail reaches the banks of Eagle River and provides an excellent opportunity to observe wildlife and an abundance of plant life. During the winter you can follow the groomed trail through the snow-covered forest. This trail is closed from August until winter freeze-up to reduce potential bear-human conflicts. Crow Pass Trail Access: Eagle River Nature Center (To access the trail from Girdwood, take the Seward Highway and turn left onto the Alyeska Highway. Turn left onto Crow Creek Road.) Travel Means: foot Distance: 23.1 miles one way The Crow Pass Trail from Girdwood to Eagle River follows a portion of the Iditarod National Historic Trail and is considered to be one of the best hikes in Chugach State Park. This challenging trail crosses a variety of terrains, offering diverse sights along the way, including glaciers, waterfalls, wildflowers, wildlife, gorges, sapphire tarns, and stunning alpine vistas. Rules • • • • • • A parking fee or an annual ERNC membership pass is required. Dogs must be on a leash on the Rodak and Albert loops, as well as in all developed areas, and under control at all times. Fires are only allowed in portable camp stoves, metal fire rings provided by the park, and on gravel bars of the Eagle River. Camping is allowed at Rapids Camp and Echo Bend, but not within one mile of the nature center. Bikes and motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trails. Respect trail closure signs for your safety. Dew Mound Trail Access: Rodak Trail Travel Means: foot, ski Distance: 3 miles to Echo Bend with several loop options This backcountry trail weaves through moraines and other glacial features before passing Dew Lake. Watch for wildlife along the trail, especially near Dew Lake—you may spot moose in the lake or even a tiny, elusive wood frog. The trail connects to the Crow Pass Trail in five places creating loops of varying lengths. Dall’s sheep Photo courtesy of Donna Dewhurst, USFWS Black bear Photo courtesy of Bill Evans Background photo courtesy of Brian Goodman Beaver Photo courtesy of Steve Neel

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