Wrangell-St. Elias Visitor Center to close for the winter on Nov. 1st.
Wrangell-St. Elias's main visitor center, located near Copper Center, AK, will be closed for the winter starting November 1. The visitor center will re-open on April 1, 2015.
Long Lake Fish Weir
The weir at the outlet of Long Lake (on the McCarthy Road) has been in operation since 1974. Initially the Alaska Department of Fish and Game ran it. In 1976 Cliff Collins, a local private citizen who owned the land where the weir is located, voluntarily took over operation of the weir when ADFG was no longer able to fund its operation. He operated the weir continuously from 1976 through 2003. In 2003 when Mr. Collins, at age 93, was no longer able to operate the weir, a cooperative agreement was formed between the Collins’ Family Trust, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park/Preserve and the Copper River Watershed Project to continue to keep the weir operating. Since 2004, funding has been by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Subsistence Management.
Starting in 2003 the weir operators began sampling sockeye salmon for age, sex, and length composition as well as counting the number of sockeye migrating into Long Lake. Thirty two years of weir data show annual variations in abundance of Long Lake runs ranging from 4,400 to over 50,000 sockeye. This is the longest running data set of weir counts of salmon in the Copper River drainage. The sockeye salmon stock that spawns within Long Lake is the largest salmon stock within the Chitina River drainage.
Did You Know?
The Copper River, which deposits 75 million tons of sediment annually into its delta and the Gulf of Alaska, has built up a layer of silt 600 feet deep. During summer months, the daily sediment transport can be 750,000 cubic feet, one of the largest river sediment loads known.