Big Lake, Alaska and The Susitna Valley News, Weather, Events, And More

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Friday, January 19 2018 @ 12:19 AM AKST


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Free Open Skating in Big Lake @ The Lions Rec Center


Big Lake Lions Rec Center, Photo by Dennis Garrett

November through February Schedule.

Free Open Skating Saturdays 7-9 PM, Sundays 2-4 PM. Rental Skates $3. Dress warmly, the rink is not heated.

Shinny Hockey Saturdays 9-11 PM, Sundays 12-2 PM, Mondays 9-11 PM. Helmets Required, Half Gear Recommended. $5/person.

Private Parties Call 892.6502 for information.

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HHS Gun and Outdoor Show 2018

RecreationSubmitted by Lisa Humphreys, Houston High School (907) 892-9400

Hello all! Happy New Year! It is time to start thinking about the upcoming gun and outdoor show at the Big Lake Rec Center! I am attaching the forms for registration if you need them. If you have already registered you do not need to re-do it.

Show dates are April 21 and 22, 2018 and times will be 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. We will have a Friday set up as usual and those times will be announced as we get closer to the show. We look forward to working with you all again!

Please call or email if you have any questions or if I can help you further!

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Nancy Lake and Willow Creek state recreation areas open to snowmobiles

RecreationEffective immediately, Alaska State Parks has opened Nancy Lake and Willow Creek State Recreation Areas to snowmobiles after staff determined there is now sufficient snow to protect the underlying vegetation in the parks.

At 6 p.m. on Friday, December 22, a limited portion of the Hatcher Pass East Management Area – from the Fishhook Trailhead over Hatcher Pass to the west side – will be opened to snowmobiles. This will be a restricted opening because sufficient snow only exists in higher-elevation areas. Everything below Fishhook remains closed, including the Archangel and Gold Mint trailheads. Riders must remain on the trail until reaching the west side, where there are no restrictions.

It is important to be aware of avalanche conditions and weather forecasts while traveling in mountainous areas. For avalanche advisories, go to

Denali State Park opened to snowmobiles on December 7. For current snow conditions, go to .

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Join State Parks and partners for National Trails Day events June 2-4

RecreationThe public is invited to get outdoors and help Alaska State Parks and local organizations celebrate National Trails Day by participating in the following guided hikes and trail projects over the weekend of June 2-4. Unless otherwise specified, bring lunch and snacks, water, appropriate clothing, sturdy footwear, sun or safety glasses, gloves, and bug spray.

Volunteer work on Curry Ridge Trail, Denali State Park, near Trapper Creek, June 3

Join Alaska State Parks for hiking and trail work along the Curry Ridge Trail. Meet at 10:30 a.m. at the new Kesugi-Ken Interpretive Center located at Mile 134.5 of the George Parks Highway. Parking is in the day-use lot. Volunteers will hike 4-5 miles and participate in trail work throughout the day, including cutting brush, moving materials and rocks, and compacting soils. Afterward join us for a cookout at the interpretive center. Potluck items are welcome. Please contact Carter Forney at 907-354-5890 (cell) or 907-733-5123 (office) for more information.

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Recreational Trails Program grant application period starts earlier this year

RecreationThe timeline and associated deadlines for Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grant applications are shifting a few weeks earlier this year.

RTP grants provide reimbursable, matching funds to develop and repair recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses. Grants are also available for trail-related environmental protection, safety, and educational projects.

The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation has adjusted the grant application period to provide for a more efficient process. The new timeline is as follows:

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Alaskans invited to participate in Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day

RecreationSubmitted by a Reader

Alaskans are invited to join the Office of Boating Safety in promoting safe boating behavior by wearing their life jackets to work on Friday, May 19, and sharing their photos on social media.

The annual “Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day” event is the public kickoff for Safe Boating Week in Alaska, which runs from May 20-26. Participants in this event can post their photos on Facebook at or Instagram using #AKBoat and #SafeBoating.

The goal of this event is to raise awareness of the versatility and comfort of modern life jackets. Boating is a way of life in Alaska but every year, several people die in boating accidents. Five out of six boating fatalities in Alaska are cold-water immersion related drownings, following a vessel capsizing or swamping, being ejected, or a fall overboard. Nine out of ten who died were not wearing a life jacket. Wearing a life jacket is the simplest way to prevent drowning in a boat accident.

Safe Boating Week focuses on the importance of boaters being “rescue-ready” during the boating season: 1.) Wear a life jacket when in an open boat or on deck, 2.) Carry emergency communication and distress signaling devices on their person, 3.) Attach an engine cut-off switch if equipped, and 4.) All boaters have a means to re-board their boats.

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Safe Boating Week

RecreationFrom a Proclamation

WHEREAS, boating on Alaska’s abundant waterways is an essential part of the lifestyle of many Alaskans; and

WHEREAS, Alaska has the highest overall percentage of boating households in the nation, and Alaskans spend more time on the water than boaters in any other state; and

WHEREAS, each year Alaskans lose their lives in boating accidents, most often the result of a sudden capsize, swamping, ejection, or falling overboard into Alaska’s cold water without a life jacket; and

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Alaska State Parks to launch new public use cabin reservation system

RecreationA new online reservation system for Alaska State Parks public use cabins will debut on April 1 – the first step in a process of enabling reservations for Alaska State Park facilities on the nationwide Reserve America website.

Between March 20 and April 1, Alaska State Parks will be transitioning to the system and the public will be unable to make new reservations for state park cabins during this period. For those who have cancelled a cabin reservation and have unused credits toward a new cabin reservation, refunds will be provided. is used by 31 state park systems as well as two federal agencies – the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service – to provide reservations for cabins, campgrounds and other facilities. Alaska State Parks anticipates that its campgrounds and other facilities will be added to later this year.

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Big Lake All Trails Overview - Provided By Alaska State Parks

RecreationBig Lake All Trails Overview - Provided By Alaska State Parks. NOTE: This map is an older version and may be considered out-of-date. See "Updated Big Lake Trails Map" for a newer version.

Detailed maps available from Big Lake Trails, Inc. Free downloads.

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New members sought for Snowmobile Trails Advisory Council

RecreationThe Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation is inviting interested individuals to apply for four upcoming vacancies on the seven-member Snowmobile Trails Advisory Council (SnowTRAC).

SnowTRAC members assist the division director by providing funding recommendations for the Snowmobile Trails Grant Program. This statewide grant program provides reimbursable, matching grant funds for trail development, and maintenance of trails and trail-related facilities for snowmobile use. The division is seeking individuals with special knowledge, experience, and interest in snowmobile trails and in grant-funded programs.

Applicants will be considered for a three-year term beginning on March 1. Two of the positions will represent the Mat-Su Valley/ Copper River Basin and two will represent the Anchorage area. Board members are expected to participate in meetings or teleconferences a minimum of once a year at their own expense. The annual meeting is typically held in late August in Anchorage.

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Nancy Lake, Willow Creek and Denali state park units open to snowmobiles

RecreationThe Alaska State Parks Mat-Su Area Office has opened the Nancy Lake and Willow Creek State Recreation Areas and Denali State Park to the use of snowmobiles as of Wednesday, January 18. Park staff determined that sufficient snow cover now exists to protect underlying vegetation in the parks.

Caution is advised in all areas as lake ice is variable. Thin ice and open water exists in streams and river ice is unstable or flowing. More details on current park conditions are available at

Remember that all snowmobiles must be registered with the Division of Motor Vehicles to legally operate on public land.

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State trails advisory board to meet January 11 and 12

RecreationThe Outdoor Recreational Trails Advisory Board will meet Jan. 11-12 in Anchorage and by teleconference to consider grant applications. The public is welcome to attend the meeting which will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days in Room 106 of the Atwood Building, located at 550 West 7th Ave in Anchorage.

During the meeting, the ORTAB will evaluate grant proposals for trail-related projects through the Recreational Trails Program. The board will provide recommendations to the director of the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation who will make decisions on funding for those applications.

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SnowTRAC grants approved for trail grooming and safety

RecreationThe Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation has approved funding for two Safety, Signing, and Education projects, as well as snowmobile trail grooming, after receiving input from the Snowmobile Trails Advisory Council (SnowTRAC), the citizen advisory board that reviews Snowmobile Trail Grant Program applications.

A total of $216,815 will be equally divided among 17 organizations for winter trail grooming in the Fairbanks, Mat-Su, Kenai Peninsula, and Juneau areas. And a total of $20,070 will go to two organizations for trail marking and educational trailhead signs. The City of White Mountain will be awarded $10,070 to repair and replace 300 tripod trail markers on the 77-mile trail between White Mountain and Nome, and the Alaska Avalanche Information Center, Inc. (AAIC) has been tentatively awarded $10,000, pending completion of a few remaining requirements. The AAIC project will create and install educational signs to inform riders about safety at multiple locations around the state that are prone to avalanches.
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SnowTRAC annual meeting scheduled for September 20

RecreationThe public is invited to participate in the Snowmobile Trails Advisory Council (SnowTRAC) annual meeting from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 20. The meeting will be held in Anchorage in Room 104 of the Atwood Building, located at 550 W 7th Ave.

The agenda will include review of grant applications and trail grooming requests, as well as discussion of various SnowTRAC issues. To participate by teleconference, call (866) 918-8374 and enter conference code 5569714090.

SnowTRAC consists of six members selected from across Alaska. The council advises the director of the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation on funding for eligible grant projects under the Snowmobile Trails Grant Program. This program is funded through legislative authorization to receive funds from snowmobile registration fees. These funds are used primarily to support snowmobile trail repair and maintenance, and also may be used for snowmobile safety and education projects.

If you are a person requiring special accommodations, auxiliary aid, or other special services to participate in the meeting, please contact State Trails Program Coordinator Darcy Harris at 269-8699 or at least one week prior to the event in order to make the necessary arrangements.
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Public invited to comment on statewide outdoor recreation plan

Recreation Interested in giving input on how federal funds are prioritized for outdoor recreation grants in Alaska?

The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation is seeking public comments on the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, which is updated periodically to maintain statewide eligibility for federal Land and Water Conservation Fund grants. The revised draft plan is available at and comments will be accepted through August 5, 2016.

Land and Water Conservation Fund grants are administered by the division to provide matching federal dollars for outdoor recreation projects developed by eligible local, regional and state governments. For more information about the program, go to

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