Gulkana

National Wild River - Alaska

The Gulkana River watershed drains approximately 2,140 square miles of Southcentral Alaska. The river begins in the Alaska Range near Summit Lake and flows south into the Copper River, which eventually empties into the Gulf of Alaska between Cordova and Katalla. Several hundred lakes and ponds are scattered throughout the spruce-dominated forest of the Gulkana River watershed, providing abundant nesting areas for trumpeter swans and waterfowl.

maps

Map of Gulkana National Wild River from Paxson Lake to Sourdough Campground in Alaska. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Gulkana - Paxson Lake to Sourdough Campground

Map of Gulkana National Wild River from Paxson Lake to Sourdough Campground in Alaska. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map of State Moose and Caribou Hunt Restricted Areas in the Game Management Unit 13B (GMU) in Alaska. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).GMU 13 - GMU 13 B - Moose and Caribou Hunt Restrictions

Map of State Moose and Caribou Hunt Restricted Areas in the Game Management Unit 13B (GMU) in Alaska. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map of State Moose and Caribou Hunt Restricted Areas in the Game Management Unit 13A (GMU) in Alaska. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).GMU 13 - GMU 13 A - Moose and Caribou Hunt Restrictions

Map of State Moose and Caribou Hunt Restricted Areas in the Game Management Unit 13A (GMU) in Alaska. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Federal Subsistence Hunt Map of the Sourdough Controlled Use Area in the Game Management Unit 13 (GMU) in Alaska. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).GMU 13 - Sourdough Controlled Use Area

Federal Subsistence Hunt Map of the Sourdough Controlled Use Area in the Game Management Unit 13 (GMU) in Alaska. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

brochures

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

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

Gulkana NWRi https://www.blm.gov/visit/gulkana-river https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulkana_River The Gulkana River watershed drains approximately 2,140 square miles of Southcentral Alaska. The river begins in the Alaska Range near Summit Lake and flows south into the Copper River, which eventually empties into the Gulf of Alaska between Cordova and Katalla. Several hundred lakes and ponds are scattered throughout the spruce-dominated forest of the Gulkana River watershed, providing abundant nesting areas for trumpeter swans and waterfowl.
Portions of the Gulkana River were designated for its wild character as part of the National Wild and Scenic River system by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980. The Gulkana was recognized for its primitive character, abundant fish and wildlife, and its geologic, cultural and recreational values. These Bureau of Land Management National Conservation Lands embody our vision for conserving our public lands. Open to everyone, they offer Americans the unique opportunity to explore and experience the landscapes that shaped our nation. Whether you fish, hike, hunt, or boat, these lands represent our way of life, a living link to the past and our pledge to tomorrow. A “Wild” river is free of impoundments, generally inaccessible except by trail, and has exceptionally clean waters. U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management Glennallen Field Office Milepost 186.5 Glenn Hwy P.O. Box 147 Glennallen, Alaska 99588 (907) 822-3217 www.blm.gov/alaska The Setting The Gulkana River watershed drains approximately 2,140 square miles in Southcentral Alaska. The river begins in the Alaska Range near Summit Lake and flows south into the Copper River, which eventually empties into the Gulf of Alaska between Cordova and Katalla. Several hundred lakes and ponds are scattered throughout the surrounding spruce-dominated forest. Paxson Lake, the largest, is about 10 miles long and one-half to one mile wide. The Gulkana falls 1,250 feet in the 81 river miles between Paxson Lake and its confluence with the Copper River. Season and Climate The river-running season begins in early to mid-June, depending on ice breakup and precipitation. Average annual precipitation is 11 inches of rain and 48 inches of snow. July is usually the wettest month. Summer temperatures range from 35 °F to occasional highs in the 80s. Be prepared for cold, wet weather at any time. By mid-September, shorter days and colder temperatures bring the river-running season to a quick end. History and Prehistory Visit us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/BLMAlaska Visit us on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/BLMAlaska BLM/AK/GI-88/008+8351+050 REV 2018 The initial seven-mile stretch of the Middle Fork below Dickey Lake is within the Tangle Lakes Archaeological District. This area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Several known prehistoric sites are located within the corridor. The Ahtna Indians were the earliest known humans to use the Gulkana River. Around 1910, miners used the West Fork and the Middle Fork routes to reach the Denali Mining District, about 80 air-miles to the west. Collection or disturbance of any historic or prehistoric remains is against the law. Main Branch Gulkana Wild and Scenic River Map & Guide The most popular float trip begins at Paxson Lake and ends at Sourdough Creek Campground. The total distance is about 47 river miles. Allow three to four days for travel. The vehicle shuttle is 31 miles each way between Paxson Lake Campground (MP 175 Richardson Highway) and the take-out at Sourdough Creek Campground (MP 147.5 Richardson Highway). Begin your trip at the BLM boat launch at Paxson Lake Campground. Four miles of paddling or rowing southwest on the lake will bring you to the lake outlet; this is Gulkana River Mile 0. From here to the junction with the Middle Fork (three miles), the Gulkana is a shallow, rocky stream with Class II rapids and a gradient of 38 feet/mile. Whitewater experience is needed to successfully navigate this section. At the confluence of the Middle Fork and the Main Branch, the Gulkana River becomes slow and meandering, with occasional rocks and small waves in the Class I water. Watch for an old cabin once used by trappers in the region. Canyon Rapids is at river mile 20. Take-out signs mark the portage on the left side of the river. These rapids may be Class III or IV, depending on water flow. Only experienced whitewater boaters should attempt to navigate Canyon Rapids! Scout the quarter-mile length before attempting passage. It is often necessary to portage gear prior to running the rapids. If you don’t portage your gear, it MUST be tied down securely. At high water levels, open canoes and small rafts MUST be portaged. Even experienced boaters have wrapped and destroyed rafts and canoes here. Cover photo: Canoeing through the Gulkana River’s abundance of fish. Gulkana Wild and Scenic River Adventures on the Gulkana Wild and Scenic River There are several small camping areas at Canyon Rapids. From the portage trail, a one-mile hiking trail leads to Canyon Lake, providing a good opportunity to stretch your legs. Fishing for grayling and rainbow trout is excellent in the canyon. Below Canyon Rapids there are nine river miles of Class II–III rapids that are generally shallow and rocky. Many canoes and rafts have been damaged beyond repair in this section of the river. The West Fork joins the Main Branch at river mile 39. From here to the take-out point, the river is

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