History and Natural Setting
Early Athabascan people used the Beaver Creek area seasonally for hunting caribou and fishing. In the late 1890s, gold miners began mining the river's tributaries and headwaters. Mining continued in the Nome Creek area until the 1990s.
| ||These iron buckets, part of a bucket-line dredge, once scooped gold-bearing gravels from Nome Creek.|
Beaver Creek flows through the White Mountains, which are made up of massive, white limestone formations up to several thousand feet thick. Wind, rain, and freezing temperatures have weathered away the surrounding rock to expose the jagged cliffs and peaks seen along Beaver Creek. These high ridges are home to Dall sheep and peregrine falcons.
In contrast, the valley bottoms usually consist of permafrost (permanently frozen soil) about a foot beneath the surface. This results in forests of short, stunted black spruce, deep sedge tussocks, and thick stands of willows. Moose, caribou, and both grizzly and black bears live throughout the area.
|In this cutbank, Beaver Creek has exposed frozen soils (permafrost) beneath a black spruce forest. |
Along the creeks, the gravel soils support tall white spruce trees and dense brush that line the banks. Eagles, peregrine falcon, and owls hunt the river corridor. Migratory waterfowl, such as mergansers, shovelheads, goldeneyes, and harlequins spend the summers along Beaver Creek.
|Two Dall sheep watch rafters from cliffs along Beaver Creek.|
Known for its large dorsal fin, the Arctic grayling is the predominant fish species in the White Mountains. Other types of fish include northern pike, sheefish, burbot, and salmon.