The Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area is a place whose valleys and mountains, communities and people tell the larger story of a wild place and a rugged frontier. This audio guide gives you the inside scoop on its fascinating history. You’ll meet bigger-than-life historical characters like Alaska Nellie (as well as a few ghosts), see the original Iditarod trail, and learn about the creation of the Alaska Railroad.
This creek near Cooper Landing was one of Alaska's earliest gold finds. Peter Doroshin, a mining engineer for the Russian American Company, discovered gold in the area in 1850. Joseph Cooper later discovered gold in 1884, but he did not file a claim. Charles Sickels filed the first claim on Cooper Creek in 1895. Cooper returned in 1896 to stake claims on his namesake creek. The More...
Lawing was once named Roosevelt. “Alaska Nellie” purchased a cabin there in 1923 and later married Billie Lawing of Seattle. Together they ran a lodge and trophy museum that became a featured stop for Alaska Railroad passengers. Nellie loved to tell stories and her guests enjoyed her tales of daring and adventure on the Last Frontier.
Take a stroll down the boardwalk as it winds along the river. There are several interpretive signs with information about fishing, dall sheep, rafting and boat safety. You'll also find access to Pioneer Village where you can pan for gold at Prospector John's Authentic Gold Panning.
Tern Lake has lots to offer but few people use the old Sterling highway to access the boreal forest near this lake. Drive into the recreational area and as you turn left toward the restrooms you will see an old road to your right. You can walk for miles down this road and enjoy the smell of the woods and the sound of the birds.