"DSC_9904_HDR" by Bureau of Land Management Alaska , public domain

Fortymile

Wild and Scenic River - Alaska

Fortymile River is an extensive network of creeks and rivers in east-central Alaska, 392 miles of which have been given a National Wild and Scenic or Recreational River designation. Boaters have many choices for recreational trips through deep, winding canyons lined by forests of birch, spruce and aspen. Remnants of past mining operations dot the river banks as mementos of the area's rich mining history.

maps

Visitor Map of Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve (NPRES) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Yukon-Charley Rivers - Visitor Map

Visitor Map of Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve (NPRES) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

brochures

Brochure for Fortymile Wild and Scenic River (WSR) in Alaska. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Fortymile - Brochure

Brochure for Fortymile Wild and Scenic River (WSR) in Alaska. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Travel Guide for Taylor Highway in Fortymile Gold Country in Alaska. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Taylor Highway - Brochure

Travel Guide for Taylor Highway in Fortymile Gold Country in Alaska. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Fortymile WSR https://www.blm.gov/visit/fortymile-national-wild-and-scenic-river Fortymile River is an extensive network of creeks and rivers in east-central Alaska, 392 miles of which have been given a National Wild and Scenic or Recreational River designation. Boaters have many choices for recreational trips through deep, winding canyons lined by forests of birch, spruce and aspen. Remnants of past mining operations dot the river banks as mementos of the area's rich mining history.
The Fortymile Wild and Scenic River is part of the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System, which conserves, protects, and restores nationally significant landscapes and places that have outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values for the benefit of current and future generations. National Conservation Lands include 900 areas (27 million acres) of National Monuments, National Conservation Areas, Wilderness Areas, and other federally-designated special places. Weather and Safety Bureau of Land Management You can easily become disoriented in the rugged Fortymile country, where the river winds through the Tanana uplands. Carry inchto-the-mile maps and a compass. Keep track of your position as you float because many river bends look similar. Rapids and portages are not marked. Carry maps of the surrounding area in case an accident forces you to walk out cross-country. There is no cell phone coverage in this area. Please follow Leave No Trace practices. Fairbanks District Office 222 University Avenue Fairbanks, Alaska 99709 Local: 907-474-2200 Toll Free: 1-800-437-7021 www.blm.gov/ak Water Temperature. The Fortymile River is cold! Wear a life jacket. A wetsuit is recommended for kayakers and canoeists planning to run the bigger rapids. Know how to recognize, prevent, and treat hypothermia. Tok Alaska Public Lands Information Center P.O. Box 359 Milepost 1314, Alaska Highway Tok, Alaska 99780 907-883-5667 www.nps.gov/aplic Fairbanks Alaska Public Lands Information Center Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center 101 Dunkel Street, #110 Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 907-459-3730 www.nps.gov/aplic Visit us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/BLMAlaska Follow us on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/BLMAlaska Water Level. The water level can change drastically overnight in the Fortymile River drainage, so always tie your boats well above the high-water mark. Remember that good weather in your particular location does not guarantee stable water levels; rain in the headwaters can lead to significant fluctuations far downstream and change the characteristics of rapids. Bears. Although there have been few problem bears on the Fortymile, there are bears in the area. Prudent campers cook and store food well away from tents and boats. Don’t bury cans or garbage; bears will find them and make a mess. Pack it in, pack it out. Giardia. All water should be treated to prevent giardiasis. This intestinal parasite can leave you feeling miserable for weeks. Boiling water for at least five minutes is the best way to kill the organism. B L M /A K /G I - 8 9 /0 2 6 + 8 3 5 4 + 0 8 0 R e v 2 0 1 6 Fortymile Wild and Scenic River The Mosquito Fork Dredge and other remnants of the region’s colorful mining past can still be seen along the Fortymile Wild and Scenic River. Fortymile Wild & Scenic River Fortymile History Running the River The Fortymile country was not always as accessible as it is today. In the past, summer travelers walked overland with packhorses or poled up the river. In the winter they traveled overland or along the river by dog sled. The Fortymile River was always a reliable thoroughfare for travelers, summer or winter. Early prospectors poled their boats from the Yukon River in Canada to the Fortymile River and up its tributaries and creeks. Most of the early boats were made by hand, using available materials. Quality depended on individual skills in whipsawing and carpentry. River users usually portaged even the mildest rapids rather than risk losing a whole year’s grubstake. Prospectors gave the Fortymile River its name around 1886 because it enters the Yukon River about 40 miles below the former Hudson’s Bay post of Fort Reliance. Today’s travelers on the Fortymile can find relaxation, adventure, and a touch of the past. Many signs of mining activity, both past and present, are visible along the river. Watch for remains of old bucket-line dredges, turn-of-thecentury trapper cabins, and the old townsites of Franklin, Steele Creek, and Fortymile. Remember, these structures and artifacts belong to everyone. Take only pictures, leave only footprints. As you float the river, you will probably encounter small suction-dredge operations mounted on pontoons. You can also see evidence of more substantial mining activity with large sluice boxes, heavy machinery, and rustic log cabins. Early foot travelers, freighters, and mail carriers followed an overland trail connecting all the communities in the Fortymile country. The trail ran south from Eagle to Liberty, over to Dome Creek, then followed O’Brien Creek to the Fortymile River and downstream to the roadhouse at the mouth of Steele Creek. From Cover photo: Floating the Fortymile River near the U.S.-Canada border. Open gravel bars make great campsites. Today’s easier road access and high-tech gear haven’t changed the river and its challenges. Rapids on the Fortymile can be hazardous. The degree of hazard depends on your conditioning, experience, and equipment, as
TaylorHwy2010.indd 1 4/21/10 10:14 AM Early miners (Stout Collection, University of Alaska Fairbanks Archives) ALASKA Mosquito Fork Dredge Most of the old cabins and roadhouses of the early gold seekers are gone now. What remains are the piles of mine tailings, abandoned gold dredges and sluice boxes, and overgrown ditches that once channeled water to the placer mines. Many of the names along the highway Travel Guide Fortymile Gold Country Taylor Highway Know Before You Go The Taylor Highway is open seasonally from April to mid-October. Beyond milepost 64 the Taylor Highway is a gravel road. Conditions range from good to poor depending upon maintenance and weather conditions. The road becomes narrow and winding, particularly north of Jack Wade Junction. Use caution and travel slowly, especially on hairpin curves. Between the small communities along the highway, be prepared for limited facilities for gas and tire repair, drinking water, and trash disposal. All basic services are available in Tok, Chicken, and Eagle. BLM campgrounds offer minimal facilities, and travelers are advised to carry their own water supply and be prepared to pack out their own trash. RV travelers should fill their gas tanks and use dump stations before traveling the Taylor Highway. Bureau of Land Management Fairbanks District Offce 1150 University Avenue Fairbanks, Alaska 99709-3844 Toll Free: 1-800-437-7021 http://www.blm.gov/ak recall the early days of the gold rush: Logging Cabin Creek, Jack Wade Creek, and Lost Chicken Hill. Active mines dot the route as a reminder that the lure of gold still lives in Fortymile country. BLM A New Landscape Wildfires in 2004 and 2005 burned much of the spruce forest along the highway, clearing the way for new growth. As you travel the highway, notice how the area is regenerating. Pink fireweed and fresh green clumps of willows are the first plants to spring up in the blackened landscape. Cottongrass and blueberry shrubs get an infusion of nutrients from the burned forest, growing thick and lush. In some areas, birch trees are replacing the burned-over spruce in a process that will take several decades. Top of the World Highway Boundary Milepost (MP) 9 Boundary served the mining community in the Walker Fork, Cherry Creek, and Canyon Creek drainages for many years beginning in the 1890s. Part of the original Boundary Lodge, built in 1926, is still standing. Fortymile Caribou Herd MP 12 An interpretive panel tells the story of the decline of a herd that once numbered over half a million and how an international team formed a coalition to manage for the herd’s recovery. Davis Dome Wayside MP 13 This wayside offers a view of the vast expanse of the Fortymile area. Caribou are sometimes seen here. Watch for migrating hawks in spring and fall. Area burned by wildfire along the Taylor Highway Subsistence Use Signs are posted on Federal land to mark the boundaries of a special type of hunting area. Regulations under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), passed by Congress in 1980, allow rural residents of Alaska to hunt game such as caribou in these areas. Subsistence hunters must have an Alaska hunting license and comply with seasons and bag limits. Finding the boundaries of Federal land along the Taylor Highway is very challenging, so the BLM has posted these signs to help rural residents hunt legally. Taylor Highway Major discoveries in 1886 and 1887 set off Interior Alaska’s first gold rush. Communities such as Jack Wade, Chicken, Franklin, and Steele Creek rose almost overnight, and miners quickly wore a series of trails between Eagle and the mining towns and camps. These trails later became wagon roads that, in turn, became parts of the Taylor Highway, built during the winter of 1945-1946 and completed in 1951. The Taylor Highway is a route through gold mining history. Prospectors searched for gold in the Fortymile region well before the famous Klondike stampede of 1897. As early as 1881, gold-bearing gravels were discovered on the North Fork of the Fortymile River, foreshadowing the area's future reputation as the richest goldfield in the Yukon valley. Taylor Highway History International Boundary MP 14 Elevation 4,127 ft (1,258 m). United States and Canada customs offices are open only during the summer months, usually from May 15 to September 15. Dates can vary so call ahead (907-774-2252) to be sure. Hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Alaska time. The Top of the World Highway continues to historic Dawson City and the Klondike gold fields. Davis Dome Wayside, Top of the World Highway TaylorHwy2010.indd 1 Early miners (Stout Collection, University of Alaska Fairbanks Archives) ALASKA Mosquito Fork Dredge 4/21/10 10:14 AM Most of the old cabins and roadhouses of the early gold seekers are gone now. What remains are the piles of mine tailings, abandoned gold dredges and sluice boxes, and overgrown ditches that once channeled water to the placer mines. Many

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