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Caribou Creek Mining Area

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From Alaska Division of Mining, Land, & Water
Fact Sheets 1998 & 2000

Caribou Creek Recreational Mining Area
In 1991, the Alaska State legislature created the Caribou Creek Recreational Mining Area (CCRM Area). The CCRM Area, which is located near the confluence of Caribou Creek and the Matanuska River, was established to provide a permanent recreational mining experience for the general public. The Department of Natural Resources, Division of Land, is responsible for the management, use and development of the CCRM Area. The DNR Office of Habitat Management & Permitting (OHMP) is responsible for the management of the fish and game resources within the CCRM Area.

How do I get to the Caribou Creek Recreational Mining Area?
The CCRM Area is located at approximately mile 104 of the Glenn Highway next to the Lion’s Head rock formation. You will see a sign at the turnoff. A steep trail leads down to the creek from the parking lot. Only pedestrian traffic is permitted on the trail (sorry, no all terrain vehicles—ATV’s). Physical fitness, health, and age should be considered due to the steepness of the trail.

What facilities are available in the Caribou Creek Recreational Mining Area?
The CCRM Area is relatively undeveloped. The parking lot is gravel. An outhouse is available and there is a trail leading down to the creek. Private facilities offering gas, food and lodging are within 10 miles of the CCRM Area.

Are other activities available within the Area?
Yes. Hiking, picnicking, photography, wild flower viewing and other activities are permitted within the area, as long as they do not detract from the recreational mining experience. Dall sheep, black and grizzly bears, and gray wolves have been viewed in this area.

Can I mine anywhere within the Area?
No. First, you should be aware that the area only includes land and water within 100 feet of ordinary high water of the creeks and rivers within the CCRM Area. Public recreational mining is allowed only on state lands without mining claims below the ordinary high water mark of Caribou Creek, its tributaries and the Matanuska River within the CCRM area. Note that several state mining claims are included within the boundaries of the CCRM! Mining is not allowed on these claims without permission of the claim owner. Please refer to the map below for details.

Can I stake a mining claim in the Caribou Creek Recreational Mining Area?
No. The CCRM Area is restricted to recreational mining only. No new mining claims are allowed.

What methods of recreational mining are allowed in the Caribou Creek Recreational Mining Area?
Recreational gold panning, mineral prospecting, or mining using light portable field equipment, such as a hand operated pick, shovel, pan, earth auger, or a back pack power drill or auger are allowed. If you have a permit from the DNR Office of Habitat Management & Permitting (OHMP), you may use a suction dredge with a nozzle intake of six inches or less, powered by an engine of 16 horsepower or less, and pumping no more than 30,000 gallons of water per day.

Caribou Creek has been specified as being important for the spawning, rearing, or migration of anadromous fish. Generally, permits are only issued in the spring, between hatching and spawning. Even though a permit is required – it is free. And, depending on the circumstances, the DNR Office of Habitat Management & Permitting (OHMP) may issue a blanket permit of the area during this time.

For additional information on dredging permits, contact the DNR Office of Habitat Management & Permitting (OHMP)
Office at the following address:

DNR Office of Habitat Management & Permitting
550 W. 7th Ave, Suite 1420
Anchorage, AK 99501
phone 907-269-8690
fax 907-269-5673

For additional information on the Caribou Creek Recreational Mining Area contact:

Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR):

Public Information Center
Robert B. Atwood Building
550 W. 7th Ave, Suite1260
Anchorage, AK 99501-3557
Phone: (907) 269-8400  Fax: 907-269-8901
TDD (Hearing Impaired): 907-269-8411
Business Hours: 10:00am to 5:00pm, M-F

Public Information Center
3700 Airport Way
(Corner of University & Airport Way)
Fairbanks, AK 99709-4699
Phone: 907-451-2705  Fax: 907-451-2706
TDD (Hearing Impaired): 907-451-2770
Business Hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm, M-F

Caribou Creek Recreational Mining Area

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