AWRA Alaska Meeting Field Trips


Parks Highway, Alaska Railroad AWRA Spring Field Trip
April 23-24, 2016

Field Trip Contact: David Nyman, Restoration Science and Engineering, Anchorage, AK

Cost: $400/person (Register)

Register by April 15. Number of participants: Minimum of 20 and maximum of 40
All lodging, meals, field trip guidebook and technical reference costs are included

Note: This field trip is sponsored by the AWRA - Alaska Section. Please visit their registration page above to sign up for this trip. Thank you!


This 2-day field trip provides an in-depth view of the landscapes, water resources and development along one of the most scenic highways and railroads in North America. The trip starts in Anchorage, via van where we will drive north through the Susitna Basin and up to the south flanks of the Alaska Range. The group will tour the eastern portion of Denali Park and then head to Fairbanks and Chena Hot Springs. Chena Hot Springs will highlight the themes of the conference through its low-temperature geothermal power sources, which power innovative chillers that maintain a year-round ice palace and hydroponics greenhouse operation. Don't forget about the hot springs! On the second day, we will return to Fairbanks to catch the Alaska Railroad train back to Anchorage. The train will parallel the Parks Highway at times but provide a unique tour through the interior region of Alaska, cross the Alaska Range and then head through the Talkeetna Mountains to the Susitna River; studied multiple times for potential hydropower use and its amazing ecosystems, including all five species of salmon. The field trip will end back to Anchorage in time to start the exciting technical conference programs. The major themes of the tour include water resource and ecosystem variation along the Alaska Range, Talkeetna Mountains, Coastal Range, variations in energy sources, history of the area, etc.


Day 1, April 23rd (Saturday)

Meet at 8:00am at the Hotel lobby


  • Parks Highway: Hydrology, Development, Power.
  • Overview of the terrain, glacial geology, climate, permafrost conditions, and ecology from Anchorage to Fairbanks
  • Chena Hot Spring Resort: Low Temperature Geothermal Plant, Year-round ice palace, geothermal powered hydroponic greenhouses


  • Anchorage - starting point, brief history, overview of water, energy sources
  • Susitna River Bridge on Parks Highway, Overview of Susitna Basin
  • Broad Pass, Denali Overlook
  • Denali National Park - Energy and Water Use overview, short drive into Park
  • Fairbanks - Trans-Alaskan Pipeline Stop
  • Stay at Chena Hot Springs, dinner and tour

Day 2, April 24th (Sunday)


Fairbanks to Anchorage by Train: Glacial history, ecology, permafrost conditions, Usibelli Coal mine, Susitna River

Points of Interest:

  • Early drive to Fairbanks to catch the train south
  • Route through the Interior Alaska in the Tanana Basin
  • Crossing the Alaska Range and Denali National Park
  • Crossing into the Talkeetna Mountains to the Susitna River, Hydropower Evaluation History
  • Evening return to Anchorage (at approximately 8:00pm)
Denali National Park
Chena Hotsprings
Alaska Railroad