1. Sheep Creek in Anchorage
Ship Creek is a favorite local fishing and shorebird viewing spot near downtown in the industrial environment of the Port of Anchorage. With the Anchorage skyline as backdrop, the mud and sedge flats and ocean-fed waters support salmon runs and provide habitat for plovers, sandpipers, godwits, and other migrating shorebirds. Ship Creek runs through the port and alongside the ocean waters of Cook Inlet. High tides combined with the marshy mudflats close to roadways provide excellent shorebird viewing. A variety of shorebirds, including the Hudsonian godwit, turnstones, surfbirds, and semipalmated, western, and least sandpipers, are often seen during spring and fall migrations. Low tides offer occasional views of these birds flitting along the mud flats or flying in groups just above the shore. High tides push shorebirds closer to shore. When the tide begins to recede, large numbers may be visible near roads and parking areas.
Two miles upstream from the mouth of the creek at the corner of Reeve Blvd. and Post Road is the William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery. Open to the public, you are welcome to stop by from 8 am to 4 pm and take a walk through the visitor corridor. This space was set aside for public access to allow viewing of hatchery activity. There is a foot path outside the facility allowing access to view Ship Creek. From early July through September adult salmon can often be seen in this stretch of the creek. Returning Chinook (king) and Coho (silver) salmon are collected and held in two raceways located creek side. Hatchery staff will collect eggs from these fish to begin the next production cycle. King salmon are present from late May through July, and Coho salmon from August through mid-September. The Knik Arm Power Plant dam and spillway a short distance upstream from the highway overpass is also a good place to view spawning salmon.
While many animals hibernate or head for warmer climates during Alaska’s winters, a few hardy birds, like the common merganser, green-winged teal, and bufflehead, may be seen toughing it out through the snowy season at the pond near the hatchery.
2. Old Cooper Railroad in Chitina
The Copper River and Northwestern Railway was a railroad, now defunct, built by the Kennecott Corporation between 1907 and 1911 to take copper ore from Kennicott, Alaska to Cordova, Alaska, a distance of 315 km (196 mi). The railroad was built by thousands of workers, who laid tracks around
glaciers, across canyons and through deep snow and avalanche areas. Michael James Heney started building the railway from Cordova, Alaska. The town of Cordova, Alaska, was actually named by Heney on March 13, 1906. Other businesses tried to build it first to gain access to the rich copper and coal mines. He got the farthest and his idea of using Cordova as a natural shelter harbor worked; the other town’s break water – from which his competitor’s railways started – was destroyed. He could not pay for the rest of the road, so he sold it to his rival’s failed railways. He then retired, but returned to work for the railway when it encountered difficulties. He was in a shipwreck a year later and died of consumption a few months later in 1910, a year before the railway was completed.
The last spike in the construction, a cooper spike, was driven on Wednesday, March 29, 1911, by Chief Engineer E.C. Hawkins and Superintendent Murchison at Kennecott. The Railways was completed in 1911 so that the company could obtain some of the land beside the railroad tracks. In order to obtain the land, the railway had to be completed within four years. The cost of the railway was justified because the mines produced $200 million worth of cooper ore during their operation.
The good ore in the mines ran out and the last train ran on September 11, 1938. In 1941 the Kennecott Corporation donated the bridges and the land they owned around the tracks to the United States Government as a highway route. 48 miles of the cooper river Highway were completed, from Cordova to the Million Dollar Bridge, but the damage to the bridge in the Good Friday Earthquake (1964) blocked further construction. The bridge has recently (2005) been repaired. The roadbed from Chitina to McCarthy now forms the McCarthy Road. One of most haunted road in Alaska was name as “Can’t Run and Never Will”.
3. Badarka Road in the Woods of South Birchwood, Chugiak
Chugiak, Alaska is located about 20 miles northeast of Anchorage. It is home to approximately 7,000 residents, most of who work in Anchorage. Chugiak began being homestead in the 1950’s by former military personnel following World War 2. Ghosts and Hauntings of South Birchwood-Badarka in the Woods in Chugiak, Alaska. The haunt is located along Badarka Road deep in the woods near Chugiak, Alaska. Locals claim that a little girl died in the woods near Chugiak. the girl supposedly died of an axe wound to the head. One story make she claim that the girl pulled the axe out of the tree while her father was resting and the axe embedded itself in her head. The ghostly apparition of the dying daughter held by her father is replayed at 3:30 AM according to resident Chugiak, Alaska.