Conserving Land North of the Alaska Range

For the benefit of our community

The Interior Alaska Land Trust (IALT) is a private, non-profit, tax-exempt organization, started in 1995. We work with Interior Alaska landowners to protect, acquire or manage natural, scenic, recreational, agricultural, historic, or cultural aspects of property.

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LEARN ABOUT CONSERVATION OPTIONS

We’re Hiring!

The Interior Alaska Land Trust is looking for a part-time Conservation Coordinator! The Conservation Coordinator will work with the public, landowners, and government groups to conserve open space in the Fairbanks area. To learn more and to apply, CLICK HERE.

Our Commitment to Conservation

Land trusts can be found in every state. There are more than 1,600 of them, some over 100 years old. There are seven in Alaska alone. Land trusts have protected over 12 million acres of land in the U.S. They are mostly local organizations, although there is a national organization, the Land Trust Alliance, that provides professional support. In every case, land trusts work only with willing land owners, and support land issues that are important to their own communities.

Serving Our Community

The Interior Alaska Land Trust serves several purposes in the Fairbanks area. Continuing development throughout the community has brought attention to land use issues. The pace of building, though not at frantic as during pipeline days, is beginning to turn the last remaining undeveloped areas into small pockets, and cutting up trails and greenways that people thought were protected.

Private land that people acquired 30 or more years ago has increased tremendously in value. Often these are large parcels, and their owners find that their heirs would be required to sell some of the land just to pay the inheritance taxes. In these cases, the Interior Alaska Land Trust can hold an easement on the land, reducing its estate tax value, protecting open space, or connecting greenways and trails.

Upcoming Events

Board Meetings

*First Tuesday of the Month @ 6:30 p.m.

*Due to COVID-19 our meetings have been virtual via Zoom. If you would like to attend, which we encourage, please contact Owen Guthrie (oguthrie@gmail.com).*

Join our monthly meetings for the latest projects and news: members and the public are welcome.

Interior Alaska Land Trust
Interior Alaska Land TrustSep 20, 2020 @ 2:18am
A huge thank-you to the folks at GOOD Cannabis for their hard work yesterday on a new walking trail in Goldstream (more details to come in 2021)!

Check out their page to see the other great work they do in the Fairbanks community.

Another big thanks to Geoff at Alaska Trails for providing the tools to get the job done! A great fall day.
Interior Alaska Land Trust
Interior Alaska Land TrustSep 18, 2020 @ 11:45pm
IALT is in the News-Miner again! A thank-you to Julie Stricker for writing this story (pasted below):
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"After 85 years, Cripple Creek on the west side of Fairbanks will return to its original streambed.

What most people today think of as Cripple Creek is actually a diversion channel that was dug in the 1930s to help placer miners near Ester. The Cripple Creek Drain was effective in moving water, but it also effectively erased acres of prime fish and wildlife habitat, including a key area for young chum and chinook salmon.

In mid-September, the Cripple Creek Restoration Project hit a milestone with the installation of a final fish passage culvert that will allow juvenile chinook salmon to enter the historic Cripple Creek channel next summer.

It’s a project that has taken years and the efforts of state and federal agencies and local nonprofits, according to Owen Guthrie, president of the board of directors for the Interior Alaska Land Trust, which spearheaded the project with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “A lot of people have been working on it.”

Originally, Cripple Creek was a winding creek that provided rich fish and wildlife habitat. It entered the Chena River downstream from where the Pump House Restaurant is today.

But in the 1930s, a placer mine a few miles upstream that was using hydraulic cannons to strip away the overburden silted up the original streambed. A 6-mile-long channel was dug around the northern edge of Chena Ridge to bypass the creek, provide drainage for the mine and carry the silt to the Chena River.

The channel provided poor habitat for juvenile salmon, which would use the eddies and pools in the original creek as a refuge from predators before they headed out to saltwater, Guthrie said.

“The Chena River drainage is the No. 2 most important drainage for Yukon chinook salmon inside Alaska,” Guthrie said. “(The restoration project) is gonna restore well over a mile of the original streambed.”

In 1996, lower Chena Ridge Road was rerouted when a new intersection was built at Chena Ridge Road and Chena Pump Road. No culverts were installed and a stagnant pond formed on the north side of Chena Ridge Road. Over the years, the IALT, working with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, commissioned several feasibility studies for returning waterflow to the original Cripple Creek channel, but none were deemed viable at the time.

In 2014, however, IALT learned that the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities planned to replace the culvert at the intersection. That provided the possibility for the addition of a fish passage culvert, which would restore some water flow to the lower creek channel. It also would improve habitat within the Chena River watershed for juvenile salmon.

Guthrie said the process required IALT to work closely with DOWL Engineering, The Conservation Fund, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Partners Program, and DOT to design and fund the final restoration.

Starting in 2017, IALT identified four major steps that were needed to complete the restoration:

1. Retrofit the culvert at Old Chena Ridge Road to allow fish to pass
2. Install a culvert at Chena Ridge Road to allow fish passage
3. Replace failing culverts under Chena Spur Road
4. Redirect water from the Cripple Creek drainage ditch to the historic Cripple Creek channel via Happy Creek

Guthrie said all major steps have been completed, and there are just a few details to finish before snowfall. That means Cripple Creek will see water flow for the first time in more than 85 years either this fall or next spring, he said.

The public can access the project via the Chinook Conservation Park between Chena Ridge Road and Old Chena Ridge Road, Guthrie said.

“It’s a great story,” he said. “So many people from across Fairbanks have been involved to see this project happening.”"
Interior Alaska Land Trust
Interior Alaska Land TrustSep 18, 2020 @ 1:41am
We have more land conserved!

This undeveloped 40-acre parcel in Goldstream (a.k.a. the "North Forty") was very generously donated by Daniel Osborne, and contains important forest and wetland habitat! Read about his history with the parcel below:

"After buying a lot in Musk Ox subdivision for a cabin, in 1972 I relished the thought that my little 15-acre lot backed upon many square miles of state land. At that time the state land was open
for walking, berry picking, etc. by anyone. Also there was the thought that from my cabin, by crossing only a single road and careful choice of route, one could hike (maybe with a wade or short swim) all the way to the Arctic Ocean or Bering Sea without crossing another road.

When the State, in its great oil fueled give a ways, offered several forty acre blocks of land adjacent to my cabin lot for an open lottery I felt I needed to buy the one nearest my cabin to protect my illusion of living in the wilderness. Via several steps I wound up with the 40-acre block in Goldstream Valley north of my cabin’s five acres, I called it “The North Forty”, in a fit of literary nostalgia and as a joke. Because if you have a North Forty there must be South or a West or an East forty also.

I had no other reason to buy the North Forty than to keep it as wild as it was. I also at about that time I managed to get drawn for a Polar Bear hunt that I never intended to hunt. I told myself the Forty was good for the dog and me to walk on. It had no trails and should have none today. One could go out and get surrounded by thick black spruce or tall birches in the quiet of Goldstream in those days. One could imagine you were first one there to swat mosquitos, pick berries from that bush, or step on that lump of moss. All with a few minutes’ walk of a road and a subdivision.

When it came to my attention that my health dictated that I would be better off not living in Alaska, (after 53 years and with no desire to leave) I thought at least I could pass on the above experience to others, So I gave the North Forty to the Interior Land Trust, with the conservation easements to obtain the above objective. After all we really do not ever truly own land but are just stewards of it during our lives."

Thank you, Daniel!
Interior Alaska Land Trust
Interior Alaska Land TrustSep 16, 2020 @ 2:06am
**WE'RE HIRING!**

IALT is hiring a Conservation Coordinator!

The Conservation Coordinator will work with the public, landowners, and government groups to conserve open space in the Fairbanks area. The Conservation Coordinator will work on a part-time (approx. 25 hrs/week) contract basis, providing their own work space, computer and internet access, and be supervised by the Interior Alaska Land Trust Board of Directors. $15-25/hour depending on experience.

To learn more about this position and to apply, follow the link on our home page: www.interioraklandtrust.org.
Interior Alaska Land Trust
Interior Alaska Land TrustSep 15, 2020 @ 7:08am
The last fish passage culvert is finished on our Cripple Creek Restoration Project, and in a couple weeks, the final work will be complete upstream and the historic Cripple Creek channel will have natural flow for the first time in 85 years! This is great habitat for juvenile Chinook salmon rearing.

Stay tuned for updates...

Cripple Creek Restoration Project

The Interior Alaska Land Trust, in partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, studied the restoration feasibility of Cripple Creek in the lower Chena River watershed for almost a decade. Careful analysis determined that the restoration of Cripple Creek and improvements to its fish passages will improve overall juvenile Chinook Salmon rearing habitat within the Chena River Watershed. After years of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, restoring Cripple Creek fortuitously became possible and began in the spring of 2017. As of September 2020, the final culvert has been installed and the creek channel link-up will conclude by the end of this month! More to come soon.

Thanks to Our Partners, Sponsors & Members!