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Thread: Copper river railroad question

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    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Default Copper river railroad question

    I noticed on Google earth and other maps there is a old railroad grade on the west side of the Copper river heading south from Chitina. What is the condition of this grade. Are the tracks still intact or removed. Can a guy use a hand cart on it or Bicycle?

    Thanks! Feel free to PM.

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    its a mess, landslides, rocks. tracks pretty much gone. some guys venture in their for dipnetting , used to be able to drive it to haley creek.
    not sure what has happened beyond haley....

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    I have been down from Chitna quite a ways but last year there was a major slid that has all but shut the train down just below O'Brian Creek. It is a wash man!

    Walt
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    Member akiceman25's Avatar
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    Saw a couple guys on the trail last year on bikes w/trailers. They had worked up a pretty good sweat. May want to search thru the dipnetting forum for trail specifics.
    I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.

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    Member Ken R's Avatar
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    I've biked it and 4 wheeled it. You can drive to O'Brien Creek and park there--lots of dipnetters will be parked there if the fish are runnin'. You can bike to Haley Creek, but there was a major slide just before Haley Creek last summer and unpassable to 4 wheelers. When I biked there years ago, I didn't see a good way to cross Haley and we ended up just camping there. I did see some people cross it last year on foot and there is a large sand dune that you could cross--less than a mile. After that, I would guess that it is so overgrown with alders to make it nearly impassable on a bike. If I understand the history of it, Hickel made a big push a number of years ago to get that road opened up--under the premise that he was "maintaining" an existing road. I think he made it to Haley Creek from the North and Allen River to the South. I have been on the grade from the south end past the Allen River and first hand can tell you that the RR grade past the Allen River (to the North) would be impassable with a bike. The alders have reclaimed that grade. We used to run snowmachines and wheelers up there quite a bit. This was back in 2004/2005, but I doubt much has changed--except maybe more alders. If you are looking to access the Tonsina CUA--there are easier ways to do it I think--but you won't be the only one accessing it at those locations either. Alders suck!

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    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Thanks Ken! I'm considering using a pack raft. It's the exit I'd like to formulate. I've been known to blaze a trail here in SE Alaska five miles or so to access a goat hill. The old grade even moderately overgrown is better than nothing. I sure wish I lived closer. I'd enjoy scouting it and blazing trail.

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    Member mod elan's Avatar
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    I'm having trouble finding the pictures of the thick sections of railroad grade nor the pictures of the washed out areas with iron hanging into the water.

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    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Ya looking at Google Earth and the topo maps there is a long section of tall steep mountain with the old grade placed right at the base. That same area has the river pushing right against it. I can imagine it's washed out completly. I wonder if you float in then hop scotch across the river via packraft you could make your way back up river slowly. I suspect that 12 miles of river bottom could take three days or more to travel.

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    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    There isn't a single part of this that sounds like a good idea to me. I'd call Hem and find out if he'll ferry you up/down the river.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    Member Ken R's Avatar
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    Default pics at Haley Creek

    In the pic with me and the mutt--over my right shoulder is the sandy beach I referred to earlier--past Haley Creek. Haley Creek outlet is just past the rocky point over my shoulder also. The other pic is just to the left of the other picture--you can still see the sandy beach on the right side of the pic. River is big here and fast in summer--not sure what its like during goat season--probably much lower. I've only goat hunted around Juneau once and think the Juneau area would be much easier access than here. At least where we went--we were able to boat up to the beach below the goats and it was just vertical through the alders. This is going to be lots of vertical and horizontal--plus it seems the alders reach further up--at least it seems that way to me. I'm sure somebody has done it or at least tried. I looked at doing this once and just don't have the time to explore on the hope that I could make it. If I was retired or had unlimited vacation I might try it, but until then--I think this one has to wait for me. Copper River June 2012 004.jpgMountains.jpg

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    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinnyD View Post
    There isn't a single part of this that sounds like a good idea to me. I'd call Hem and find out if he'll ferry you up/down the river.
    I have similar reservations, especially about the packraft idea.
    Get in touch with Sundog Expeditions
    http://www.sundogexpeditions.com/
    or Kate at Copper River Watershed Project
    http://copperriver.org/
    ...they've organized some rafting trips down the Copper from Chitina down to the Copper River Highway, so could probably offer you some insight on the feasibility of packrafting sections of the Copper.

    Cheers,
    Rich
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

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    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Thanks Everyone! Safety first.
    A well researched feasibility study is certainly needed. I'll contact those rafting companies.
    There have been packrafts run down the Copper. It's the return trip I'm really questioning.

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    Default Copper river railroad question

    I don't think you could make it up river the way you are describing. Winds make that river nasty dangerous in any craft but I wouldn't want to do that without a load, much less with one. Plan to head down to miles lake and organize a ride into town from there if you want to get out via river.

    I think you are underestimating the steep slopes above the railroad grade there.

    Do you know Luke Mehl? He'd be a good resource.

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    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Default Copper river railroad question

    Keep in mind the copper river highway is closed at mile 36 due to impending bridge failure. So no driving out to miles glacier at the moment. Last I heard DOT is a couple years out on a new bridge. Some folks in Cordova were looking into permitting a shuttle of some sort, but not sure how that's come along.


    Cheers,
    Rich
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

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    The plan is for them to start working on the mile 36 bridge the summer of 2015. As of now there is no shuttle crossing the river. However there is a guy running forest sevice people up the river with a hovercraft all the way to miles lake. If I were you I would float all the way down and around to the mile 27 bridge the water is a lot slower moving over there.

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    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    I think I want to go silent on this idea. Thank you everyone for your help! A long scenic float down the Copper sounds excellent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bighorse View Post
    I think I want to go silent on this idea. Thank you everyone for your help! A long scenic float down the Copper sounds excellent.
    Good idea......everyone is learning your new sheep/goat hunt plans!!
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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    maybe if you go you could trim the trail out and give us a hunt report!!
    Www.blackriverhunting.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    maybe if you go you could trim the trail out and give us a hunt report!!
    Look at that...........Jakes already coming up with good ideas to help the rest of us!
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Lets just have a AOD Rondy back there. Everyone bring your packraft, shovel, and saw. Don't forget your Barney's pack either.

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