Twenty Mile Safety Meeting

This is cut & pasted from an email I got this week. May be of interest & could be important to packrafters who want access of the 20 mile river area. See below. Happy Spring!

Twentymile River pre-season safety meeting
Thursday April 17…7pm-9pm
Glacier Ranger District Office in Girdwood
(first left off Alyeska Hwy)
call Alison Rein at 754-2329 for more info
Alison M Rein <>
The following note is from Alison Rein of the US Forest Service:
I tried to post this info so that it would go out to all eddyline members,
I know we’ll get power boaters to attend, but there’s a growing contingent of
packrafters using this river and they present a navigational challenge to
power boaters, esp if they are not visible (wearing grey or other
hard-to-see colors)…power boaters want rafters to stay out of their
way…It would be great if some packrafters could come to this meeting to
see how their boating practices/norms, etc. relate to how the power boats
are operating so no one gets hurt.

Please forward this to packrafters/kayakers/canoers who care about this
river and their rights to use it safely!

Thanks Tony,

Anybody else interested in going? I think the 20 Mile is a Big Yawn of a Float, but recommend it regularly for beginners and use it for classes. Indeed, it has the first trail ever essentially built in such a way to improve packrafting access. How many of you have come around a corner only to find a speeding power boat bearing down on you? It’s a bummer and fairly common out there.

This feels a bit like the start of the snowmachine-skier conflict but on a much smaller scale.

Anybody have any experience with/and or opinion on this sort of conflict? What should we say? Other than close it to power boats? They (power boaters) will want the main river channel for depth and we’ll want it to milk every snail trail of current we can (that is a slow river down there where the power boats cruise).

Maybe something like packrafts should stay within 10 feet of shore and they (power boaters) need to stay in the freakin middle of the river? That way we get the current we need (generally close to the bank, what little there is) and they (power boaters) get the space they want? Let’s come up with something so that when we go we have at least discussed it as a community, ya?

Down here in Oz , I sort of had the thought that Alaska had a huge chunk of wilderness, where few people lived - a bit like OZ, but where our wilderness is hot, yours is cold. With this in mind, I read this email about sharing a river with power boaters, and immediately thought “why would you even consider it?”.

Even in Melbourne, packraft NOT capital of Oz (yep, I know that there isn’t a packraft capital in Oz at all ), you wouldn’t even consider rafting where there were power boats - you’d travel >45 minutes to find some space, which you’d do easily, albeit on grade 1-2 rapids (ie NOT rafting!). The only place you’d have to compete with power boats is about 2- 3hrs drive away , where people seem to want to go to waterski on a river, for some reason (everyone else does it in the sea near the city).

I just don’t get why someone would consider going to a safety meeting, if there’s meant to be so much space up there! In Oz, we just do our own thing, and bugger the meetings, unless they impact on your local territory. Perhaps a zillion people live in Alaska, but I thought not.

By the by,. how far is Ship Ck away from home, as it sounds like it’s perhaps “local”

Ahh yes, Alaska. You can see it from Anchorage but it’s still a bit away.

Ship Creek, Eagle River, Glacier Creek and Twenty Mile are all day trips for we Anchor-towners. We are an urban bunch with day jobs and traffic and mortgages and kids in school. We have gang violence and mega-churches, redneck republicans and bleeding heart democrats. For all of this we are not considered “Alaska” by the rest of the state, even though there are more people in Anchorage than all the rest of the state combined.

And from here we fan out, most in big rigs pulling trailers of snowmachines in winter, power boats in summer, and 4-wheelers in fall when the hunters harvest moose, bear and caribou from base camps in Winnebagos. There are the rest of us, too chicken, too smart, or too busy to pull a Chris McCandless and get away from the fossil fuel economy that runs the island of America in Alaska called Anchorage. We’re also too poor in time, money, or skills to get away to the gazillion acres of wilderness for simple packrafting as that wildness has no road access, and since we, too, need to drive to the put-in.

So there’s Ship Creek, a 20 minute drive from my house, and S. Fork Eagle River but they are not really suitable for beginners. Twenty Mile is the best overnight or long day trip for someone who has just got into packraafting. It’s beautiful, it’s close, and it’s easy. It’s easy because it’s flat and sot he power boats (jet boats, air boats, river boats) head up it to fish, hunt, and drink beer around a driftwood fire.

Because it’s a close day trip for them too.

Didn’t realise you could actually see Alaska from Anchorage! (butm then I’ve also heard that there are kangaroos in the centre of Melbourne

Anyway, if you have something like Ship Ck 20 mins away from town, you’re home and hosed. I don’t think we have anything anywhere like Ship Creek anywhere closer to Melbourne than a 6hr drive (Murray Gates) or a 3-4hr flight ! (Tully R in Far Nth Qland or somewhere in NZ…or, I suppose the Franklin R in Tasmania, which is not really a day trip!). That’s why Sheri has only sold a handful or two of packrafts to Oz - love to be a distributor, but me thinks that practicing medicine may be more lucrative for me! Excited as we may be, we’re just lacking in appropriate local rivers. But it’s great to get excited for all of you - despite your mortgages, day jobs etc, it seems that you have some great water that is comparatively available…and I suppose we do have some trees to climb (apparently)!

As there seem to be so few of us “down here” we hope that you’ll be excited for us too!!

Since the end goal is avoiding a jetboat v. powerboat collision (we know who wins that one), I think the easiest approach is to install signs both at the boat launch and the trail head explaining the conflict and asking packrafters to wear very bright clothing on the river and jetboaters to keep their eyes out. This won’t solve all of the conflicts, but it might avoid an accident.

I have enjoyed reading your articles. It is well written. It looks like you spend a large amount of time and effort in writing the blog. I am appreciating your effort. .

interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it.

I actually enjoyed reading through this posting. Many thanks.