Getting out into the wild can be exhilarating and great fun, or it can be terrifying and life-threatening. The difference comes in being properly informed and equipped. Arm yourself with information before venturing into the great Alaska outdoors. Nature doesn’t care, so people must.
The following websites offer a plethora of local information:
- Alaska Department of Fish and Game: www.adfg.alaska.gov
- Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation: www.dnr.alaska.gov/parks
- Alaska Mountain Safety Center: http://alaskasnow.org/
- Alaska Public Lands Information Centers: http://alaskacenters.gov
- Bureau of Land Management: www.blm.gov/ak
- Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks & Recreation Department: http://www.co.fairbanks.ak.us/pr
- National Park Service: www.nps.gov
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: http://alaska.fws.gov
- USDA Forest Service: www.fs.usda.gov/r10
More than a dozen books detailing Alaska hikes are available, with authors ranging from Alaskans such as Bill Sherwonit and Helen Nienhueser to international publishers such as Lonely Planet and Falcon Guides. There is also a club for hikers in the Interior called Fairbanks Area Hiking Club; the group explores the area by foot, boot, ski and snowshoe.
USGS topographic, thematic and other maps of Alaska and western Canada are for sale, as are circumpolar and geologic maps, select National Geographic products and a satellite photo poster of Fairbanks.
State, country and world maps are also available at:
Alaska Satellite Facility 907-474-5041
Map Sales 907-474-6166
Geophysical Institute, UAF
903 N. Koyukuk Drive
Fairbanks, AK 99775
Fairbanks has miles of trails to bike, many of them paved, all with spectacular scenery. The Fairbanks Cycle Club’s website is a good resource for cyclists: www.fairbankscycleclub.org.
Mountain climbers are a breed apart. True mountain enthusiasts will find each other, and one place to connect is the Alaskan Alpine Club, with members around the planet.
Dozens of races are held each year and most have categories for participants at all levels, from walking to qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Training grounds include the hundreds of miles of trails in and around town.
Chena Bend Golf Course 907-353-6223
Fairbanks Golf & Country Club 907-479-6555
North Star Golf Club 907-457-4653
Pioneer Park has two 18-hole miniature golf courses in the middle of the park, near the playground. The course is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day during the season. Call 907-459-1087 for more information.
SKI & SNOWBOARD
Anyone who loves skiing or snowboarding is in the right place. Fairbanks has three downhill ski slopes (two public and one military): Moose Mountain (http://fairbanks-alaska.com/moose-mountain-ski-resort.htm), Mount Aurora Skiland, and Birch Hill Ski and Snowboard Area (https://wainwright.armymwr.com/pacific/wainwright/programs/ski-snowboard).
Some of the world’s best back-country skiing is north in the White Mountains and south in Denali National Park. There are hundreds of miles of Nordic trails in and around town. Visit the Nordic Ski Club Fairbanks online at www.nscfairbanks.net.