Fortymile Wild and Scenic River, Alaska
The Fortymile River is a clear water stream whose six main forks and their tributaries flow out of the Yukon-Tanana Uplands east of the Mertie Mountains and north of the Tanana State Forest. As the site of Alaska's first major gold rush in 1886, the history of the area is written in the cabins and mine workings along the stream. Named by gold prospectors for joining the Yukon River about 40 miles below Fort Reliance, an old Canadian trading post.
Float trips on the Fortymile River offer scenic beauty, solitude and glimpses of gold-mining dredges, turn-of-the-century trapper cabins and abandoned townsites.Road-accessible boat launch sites and bush strips in the upper reaches allow trips varying from one day to two weeks. The main Fortymile offers a great way to see the differing landscapes of the interior of Alaska in a two-day float, from incised canyons to the wide-open Yukon Valley.
Wander through alpine tundra, tussocks and boreal forest. Various hillsides and valley floors are home to white spruce, birch, willow and aspen. Enjoy vivid fall colors and flavors of vast blueberry and cranberry bushes.
Photo by Bob Wick, BLM.
The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act provides three levels of river classification: wild, scenic, and recreational.
Wild rivers are free of dams, generally inaccessible except by trail, and represent vestiges of primitive America.
Scenic rivers are free of dams, with shorelines or watersheds that are still largely primitive and shorelines that are largely undeveloped, but accessible in places by roads.
Recreational rivers are readily accessible by road or railroad, may have some development along their shorelines, and may have been dammed in the past.