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Lower River Claims

Chitina River, AlaskaThere are many lower river claims in Alaska. The Chitina River provided gold for several early prospectors in Alaska. This is a very large river drainage that originated from the Chitina glacier from edges of Canada’s mighty Mount Logan. Since the two streams flow together, this effectively doubled the size of the Copper River.

Alaska has never been known for large gold nuggets. A gold nugget of 294.10 ounces was the largest gold nugget to be registered and found in Alaska. It is very rare to find nuggets that weigh over a few ounces. About 99% of the Alaskan gold is small nuggets and much of that was produced by bucketline dredges at Nome and Fairbanks. Although most of the large Alaskan gold nuggets are the byproducts of large scale mining operations and they represent an extremely small percentage of the total production, there are some large nuggets that are found in Alaska. The Silverado mine at Wiseman is one of the few operations that produce a larger percentage of large nuggets.

The Kenai gold rush attracted prospectors from the goldfields in North America and California. The reason that these prospectors were so attracted is because there were some questionable rumors about Russian gold discoveries in Alaska. In 1888 gold was discovered on Resurrection Creek and in 1884 gold was discovered in Cooper Creek. However, neither if these stirred up very much excitement because they weren’t rich enough. More discoveries were made on Palmer Creek and bear Creek in 1894 which prompted the local prospectors to concentrate on the Hope area.

In 1895, in the Hope Sunrise area, there were several gold discoveries made. The prospectors found 2,000 ounces of gold the summer on the peninsula at Mills Creek. The largest stampede that had ever occurred to the Kenai Peninsula that was easily accessible was launched by the discovery at Mills Creek. 1897 was the greatest year for the production of gold at Kenai River.

Potential prospectors must have envisioned striking it rich in Alaska once they read the exciting reports in the country’s newspapers about the Alaska gold strikes. Many potential prospectors simply couldn’t resist their dreams any loner once they heard about the world famous Klondike bonanza gold strike. This caused a migration to the north as they tried to make their dreams a reality.

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