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Excerpts from the Report of Chief
Engineers U.S. Army / Board of Road
Commissioners for Alaska
and misc. notes regarding trail
conditions and maintenance
extracted by Coleen Mielke 2012


Board of Road Commissioners for Alaska Washington Gov't. Printing Office 1910
Girdwood-Knik Trail, this is a winter trail connecting the Alaska Northern Railroad with the upper Cook Inlet country and the Susitna basin. The board allotted $2,300 for improvements and maintenance in the coming winter.

Kahiltna Bridge, intended to furnish means for crossing the Kahiltna River for travel from Cache Creek mining district to McDougal on the Yentna River. When finished, the bridge will be 75' long including approaches.

Board of Road Commissioners for Alaska Washington Gov't. Printing Office 1911
Kern Creek-Knik Trail, approximately 55 miles. This route will carry, in addition to the through-travel between Iditarod and the coast, all winter travel to Knik, Susitna Station, Beluga, Tyonek and Susitna Valley. Trail complete to Crow Creek Pass, 44.8 miles: 36.3 miles cleared to an average of 8' and 8.5 miles graded to an average of 5' wide.

New Knik-Susitna winter trail, approximately 50 miles. This trail will accommodate the same traffic as described in the Kern Creek-Knik Trail (above) but with a much more direct/shorter route.

Hope Road, approximately 40 miles. Road connects mining districts of Sunrise and Hope with the Alaska Northern Railroad, 34 miles from Seward.

Moose Pass Sled Road, approximately 24 miles. Road supplies Quartz Creek, Moose Pass and Canyon Creek mining districts with Alaska Northern Railroad. In the summer, the road is used as a pack trail.

Knik-Willow Creek Sled Road (approximately 40 miles). Road was located in 1910 and is intended to be a route from Knik to the quartz district of Willow Creek. At present, the district is reached by a passable winter trail over very swampy ground. The new trail is located over dry ground and is expected to serve as a sled road in the winter and pack trail in the summer.

Board of Road Commissioners for Alaska Washington Gov't. Printing Office 1912

Seward-Kenai Lake Road, about 14 miles. Bridge across Resurrection River completed in 1911. Bridge with pile trestle is 584' long including approaches. Total cost of bridge $1,628.40.

Hope Road, approximately 40 miles. Travel on road is light due to decline in production of placer mines near Sunrise and Hope.

Kern Creek-Knik Trail, 60 miles. Trail completed from Crow Creek to Kern Creek.

Knik-Susitna Trail, 35 miles. At present, the trail follows long and winding trail made by natives. No work done on this trail this year.

Moose Pass Sled Road, about 30 miles (17½ miles constructed).

Knik-Willow Creek Sled Road, about 33 miles (20½ completed).



Board of Road Commissioners for Alaska Washington Gov’t. Printing Office 1913

Knik – Susitna Trail, 35 miles; this trail completed on 11/2/1912. It conforms to the adopted standard for winter trails and provides a direct route from Knik to Susitna Station, for winter travel. It is passable in the summer, but cannot be considered a good summer trail because of swampy ground.  Communication between terminals is maintained in summer chiefly by boats on Knik Arm, Cook Inlet and the Susitna River. Cost of trail averaged $76.95 per mile. It was located and constructed by Mr. R. S. Giddings, foreman.

Board of Road Commissioners for Alaska Washington Gov’t. Printing Office 1914
Route 35 Knik – Willow Creek Road 34 miles; repairs made for 7½ miles of this road; clearing, widening and small amount of corduroy; price of corduroy was 75 cents a linear foot.

Board of Road Commissioners for Alaska Washington Gov’t. Printing Office 1915
Route 19 Kern Creek – Knik Trail, 86 miles; upgrade. Establishment of winter mail service from Seward to Iditarod via this route, together with activities of A.E.C. at Ship Creek made this important trail.

Route 35  Knik – Willow Creek Road 35 miles improved to wagon road standards. In fair condition for entire season by horse dawn vehicles and under favorable condition, supports light automobile traffic.

Board of Road Commissioners for Alaska Washington Gov’t. Printing Office 1916
Route 19 Kern Creek to Knik Trail, 86 miles; 13 miles of this trail seriously damaged by forest fire summer of 1915, which destroyed greater part of retaining walls on steep grades and bridges.  Travel over this route unusually heavy in 1915 due to increases in mail service and activities of the A.E.C.

Board of Road Commissioners for Alaska Washington Gov’t. Printing Office 1917
Kern Creek to Knik Trail, 86 miles. Forest fires summer of 1916 and land slides due to excessive rains, destroyed large part of trail along Turnagain Arm 20 miles.  Removing slides, repairing bridges, culverts, rebuilding cribbing winter of 1916.  Two men hired to clear slides and ice from Turnagain Arm section of trail.

Board of Road Commissioners for Alaska Washington Gov’t. Printing Office 1918
Matanuska Bridge over Palmer Canyon; bridge built to provide outlet to government railroad for a farming community on east side of Matanuska River; 150’ combination span, one 100’ combination span and 190’ trestle approach $22,252.15   Palmer – Matanuska Bridge Road, 1½  miles connects Palmer Station on government railroad with new Matanuska Bridge.

Knik-Susitna Trail (30 miles) ordinary maintenance $243.59

Board of Road Commissioners for Alaska Washington Gov’t. Printing Office 1919

Route 35 Knik – Willow Creek Road 34 miles; grading, ditching, cutting down hills from Wasilla – mile 15 to mile 25.  Repaired washouts and culverts mile 25 to 34.

Route 35A  Archangel Extension – 3 miles; 35’ bridge over Archangel Creek.  Palmer mile 26½  (8 miles) put in corduroy and three 30’ bridges.

Route 35B Palmer Mile 26½ Road (8 mile wagon road) connects the government railroad at Palmer with the Knik-Willow Creek Road at mile 26½. Road also serves a few small farms. Six acres of right of way cleared $512.18

Route 35C Matanuska Bridge (over Palmer Canyon). The main pier of this bridge was damaged by flood during July, which undermined and carried away the rock filling. This was repaired at a cost of $875. Later, built a new pier of larger dimensions, filling it with heavy rock and brush and also dumped a lot of heavy rock around the outside at a total cost of $1890.40.

Route 35G  Palmer – Springer, connects a number of ranchers along the Matanuska River with Palmer at mile 5 of the Chickaloon branch of the government railroad.  About 2 miles of the road were grubbed and cleared in order to allow the ranchers to get in and out with their implements and machinery. Expense $418.

Route 35H  Wasilla – Finger Lake (7 miles wagon road). This road runs from town of Wasilla at mile 160 government railroad, north, in easterly direction, to connect with the Matanuska Trunk Road (Route 35K) at Forest Hall. It runs through the richest part of the Matanuska Valley and serves a great man ranchers; 6½ miles were grubbed and graded last season at a cost of $725 a mile, total cost $4,714.15.

Route 35I  Moose Creek – Palmer (2 mile wagon road). This is an A.E.C. Tote road and serves a few ranchers living along the railroad.

Route 35J  Wasilla – Matanuska (11 mile wagon road). Built by A.E.C. for transportation of construction supplies.  Connects Matanuska Junction, mile 151 of government railroad with Wasilla at mile 160.

Route 35K  Matanuska Trunk Road (8 miles wagon road). Leads from Wasilla Matanuska Road (35J) about a mile out of Matanuska in NE direction, into the farming country and serves a great number of farmers along the route.  At Forest Hall, about mile 6 from Matanuska, it is joined by the Wasilla –Finger Lake Road (route 35H). It terminates with its junction with the mile 26½ Palmer road (route 35B).

Board of Road Commissioners for Alaska Washington Gov’t. Printing Office 1920

Route 35 Knik-Willow Creek (34 mile wagon road) Connects the mines of Willow Creek District with the government railroad at Wasilla. General maintenance, removing slides and dragging $4122.24

Route 35A  Archangel Extension (2 mile wagon road). Road connects with Wasilla Fishhook Road (route 35E) at miles 16 and follows bench of the Little Susitna to Archangel Creek, supplying a number of mines in that section.

Route 35B Palmer Mile 26½ Road (8 mile wagon road). This road extends from mile 11½ on route 35E to Palmer Station on government railroad.

Route 35C  Palmer – Matanuska Road (1½ mile wagon road). Matanuska River Bridge repaired $1,021.25   

Route 35D  Fishhook Extension (5 mile wagon road). This road leaves route 35E at mile 19½ and leads NW over the divide into Willow Creek.  Three miles of road were graded and metal culverts placed. This completes the road over the summit and 4½ miles remain to complete it to the Reed Bullion Mines.

Route 35E  Wasilla Fishhook (21 mile wagon road). The portion of this road from Wasilla on the A.N.R.R. to the Willow Creek Mines is the important one and that upon which the greatest part of work is concentrated. Two dump trucks graveled three miles of road.

Route 35F  Wasilla – Knik Road (15 mile wagon road). Rehab of this road has begun.

Board of Road Commissioners for Alaska Washington Gov’t. Printing Office 1921

Route 20A Knik-Susitna Trail (30 miles) no  maintenance this season, abandoned in favor of Route 20H.

Route 24B Sunrise-Hope Road (9 miles). This is part of old Route 12.

Route 35  Knik-Willow Road (23 miles) Entire road has been graveled and widened and extended 2 miles: $21,893.44

Route 36A Archangel Extension (2 miles of road). Road branches off at mile 34 of route 35.

Route 35C Palmer-Matanuska Road (1½ miles) No expenditures this season.

Route 35D Fishhook Extension (5 miles of road). Road branches off at mile 35 of route 35 and will cross the divide into the basin of Willow Creek. Construction underway.

Route 75 Anchorage-Eagle River (5 mile road and 5 miles of trail) This road is an important outlet to Anchorage and permits farmers in the vicinity to bring their products into town, was initiated this season. Five miles have been located and cleared, about 1 mile grading has been done: $8,505.91


Board of Road Commissioners for Alaska  Washington Gov’t. Printing Office 1922


The following sub-projects have been abandoned or superseded by preferable routes, resulting from the change in general transportation following the construction of the government railroad:
Route 12A  Mile 34-Lynx Creek (15 mile wagon road)
Route 19    Kern Creek-Knik (86 miles trail)
Route 19A  Kenai Lake-Kern Creek (40 mile trail)
Route 19B  Mile 27 to Mile 29 (2 mile trail)
Route 19C  Kenai Lake-Mile 27 Alaska Northern Railroad (7 mile trail)
Route 19D  Kern Creek-Indian (22 mile trail)
Route 20A  Knik-Susitna (30  mile trail)
Route 20E  Susitna-McDougal (35 mile trail)
Route 20F  McDougal-Cache Creek (30 mile trail)
Route 20G  Lakeview Roadhouse-McDougal (15 mile trail)
Route 66    Matanuska-Chickaloon (38 mile trail)

Route 24  Mile 29 Alaska Northern Railroad-Sunrise (39 mile wagon road) General maintenance, removal of mud slides and repairing corduroy: $1281.70

Route 24B  Sunrise-Hope (9 mile sled road)  general maintenance $185.00

FEDERAL PROJECTS

Route 35A Archangel Extension (2 mile road) This road connects the Wasilla Fishhook Road, Route 35E at mile 16 and follows the bench of the Little Susitna River to Archangel Creek, supplying a number of mines and prospects in that section.  $3,490.88

Route 35B Mile 26½ Palmer Road (8  mile wagon road) This road extends from  mile 11½ on Route 35E to Palmer Station on the government railroad. Four miles have been cleared, grubbed and graded: $1021.25

Route 35C Palmer-Matanuska River (1½ mile wagon road). Repairs to bridge $1021.25

Route 35D Fishhook Extension (5 mile wagon road). This road leaves Route 35E at mile 19½ and leads NW over the divide to Willow Creek. Three miles of road were graded and metal culverts placed. This completes the road over the summit and 4½ miles remain to complete it to the Ready Bullion Mines: $19,601.20

Route 35E Wasilla-Fishhook Road (21 mile wagon road). Three miles surfaced with gravel: $877.16

Route 35F Wasilla-Knik Road (15 mile wagon road). Rehab of this road has begun, to be completed this season: $781.05

Route 35H Wasilla-Finger Lake (7 mile wagon road). This road runs from Wasilla at mile 160 of the government railroad, in a NE direction to connect with the Matanuska Trunk Road, Route 35K, at Forest Hall. Total cost $4714.15

Route 35I Moose-Palmer (2 mile wagon road). This is the Alaska Engineering Commission tote road and serves a few ranchers along the railroad: $236.62

Route 35J Wasilla-Matanuska (11 mile wagon road). Built by Alaska Engineering Commission for transportation of construction supplies. It connects Matanuska Junction, mile 151 of the government railroad with Wasilla, mile 160. Present condition of road is poor.

Route 35K Matanuska Trunk Road (8 mile wagon road). This road leads from Wasilla-Matanuska Road, Route 35J, about a mile out of Matanuska, in a NE direction into the farming country and serves a great number of farmers along the route.  At Forest Hall, about mile 6 from Matanuska, it is joined by the Wasilla Finger Lake Road, Route 35H. It terminates with its junction with the Mile 26½-Palmer Road, Route 35B.
 
Route 35L  Palmer – Matanuska (5 miles wagon road). This road is on A.E.C. Tote road, paralleling the Chickaloon branch of the government railroad between Palmer and Matanuska; runs through heart of farming country in Matanuska Valley.

Route 35M  Knik corduroy – this section of corduroy put in near Knik several years ago.

Route 75A  Anchorage – Lake Spenard (3½ miles wagon road) leads from Anchorage at mile 114 government railroad through farming district to Lake Spenard.  Lake Spenard is a summer resort and bathing place and used by hundreds of auto-ists in the summer time. It gives the city of Anchorage a much needed outlet and eventually should be extended around in a loop to connect with Whitney Road.

Route 75B  Whitney Road runs from Anchorage, mile 114 government railroad, to Whitney’s ranch. It is extensively used by auto-ists, ranchers and wood haulers and should be widened as far as Whitney Station at mile 119 government railroad in preparation to connect it with the other end of Eagle River Road by way of Otter Lake.
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