In Alaska, the BLM manages six wild and scenic rivers. They were added to the Wild and Scenic River system with the passing of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act on December 2, 1980. Several miles of these rivers were protected under law for their wild, scenic, or recreational qualities. Alaska’s wild and scenic rivers all offer recreation opportunities as well as world class sport fishing. Explore BLM Birch Creek, Beaver Creek, Delta, Fortymile, Gulkana, and Unalakleet rivers spread out over Interior Alaska.

Gulkana Wild and Scenic River

Rafter paddling down the Gulkana Wild River. Photo by Jeremy Matlock.

Portions of the Gulkana Wild and Scenic River were designated as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers system by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980.  Spread out over 92,745 acres, the Gulkana is largely a wilderness river with few developments.  It was recognized and designated for its primitive characteristics, its abundant fish and wildlife, scenic vistas, and recreational opportunities.

The Gulkana begins in the Alaska Range near Summit Lake and flows south into the Copper River.  Several hundred lakes and ponds are scattered throughout the spruce-dominated forest of the watershed, providing abundant nesting areas for trumpeter swans and waterfowl.  The Gulkana has also played an important role in the lives of the Ahtna, providing access to subsistence resources throughout history and pre-history.  During winter months the frozen river was historically used as an important travel route from the Copper River to the Tangle Lakes and what is now known as the Denali Highway area. 

The Gulkana is one of the most popular sport fishing rivers in Alaska.  Its clearwater system provides rich habitat for rainbow trout, arctic grayling, king salmon, red salmon, and many other species. While the river meanders through a remote and primitive landscape, it is highway accessible, making it a popular river to float. The main float trip provides a three-day, 47-mile excursion.  It begins at BLM's Paxson Lake Campground and extends 20 river miles through class I and II waters before reaching the Class III - IV Canyon Rapids. Take-out signs mark the portage on river left. Only experienced whitewater boaters should attempt to navigate the remote Canyon Rapids! The trip then continues nine river miles through class II and III shallow and rocky waters, before the West Fork joins the main stem. The trip ends as a lazy meander through Class I waters before ending at BLM's Sourdough Creek Campground.  With nearly 100 different campsites along this river section, it offers a variety of camping experiences to suit each user.  For detailed float information, please refer to the BLM Gulkana River Floater's Guide and other resources provided on this website.

All BLM ALASKA Wild and Scenic Rivers

A complete list of BLM ALASKA wild and scenic rivers is below: