Hatcher Pass Public Use Area, Alaska
Modified with additions from the Alaska Division of Mining, Land, & Water Fact Sheet
here. The Alaska Division of Parks has a site about
Mine State Historical Park.
the Alaska State Legislature created the Hatcher Pass Public Use Area, located
approximately fifteen miles north of Palmer on the Little Susitna River.
The area is open to a variety of recreational activities, including recreational
mining. This fact sheet concentrates on recreational mining within the Hatcher
Pass Public Use Area. The Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks
and Outdoor Recreation is the primary manager of the Hatcher Pass Public
Use Area. The Divisions of Land and Mining also have land and resource management
responsibilities, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is responsible
for the management of the fish and game resources within the Hatcher Pass
Where is the Hatcher Pass Public Use Area located?
two miles north of Palmer, on the Glenn Highway; follow the signs showing
a left turn to the Independence Mine Historical Park and Hatcher Pass. After
turning off the Glenn Highway onto the Palmer Fishhook Road the public use
area begins at approximately mile 7.8 of the Palmer Fishhook Road.
Hatcher Pass Public Use Area
More information including detailed land status maps can be found at
Alaska DNR Case Abstract.
Where can I mine recreationally within
the Hatcher Pass Public Use Area?
You can mine recreationally anywhere within the boundaries
of the Public Use Area except for several valid (active) mining claims.
There are many vehicle pull-offs along the road next to the Little Susitna
River for easy river access to recreationally mine. We recommend using the
Gold Mint Trail, which runs north, along the Little Susitna River from the
gravel parking lot at the Gold Mint Trailhead. The trail continues north
along the Little Susitna River for approximately eight miles. You may also
pan for gold in the Independence Mine State Historical Park. Before panning
please obtain an Independence Mine brochure and speak with the park staff
at the mine visitors center.
What methods of recreational mining
are allowed in the Public Use Area?
Recreational gold panning
using light portable field equipment, such as a hand operated pick, shovel,
and pan. You may also use a suction dredge with a nozzle intake of six inches
or less, powered by an engine of 18 horsepower.
Do I need a permit?
You may. The Little Susitna River has been
specified as important for the spawning, rearing, or migration of anadromous
fish. You must have a dredging permit from the DNR Office of Habitat Management &
Permitting (OHMP) if you wish to use a suction dredge in the Little Susitna
River. If you wish to use equipment other than that specified above, you
will need a permit from the Division of Mining and/or the Division of Parks
and Outdoor Recreation.
What facilities are available in or near the Public Use Area?
Except for the Independence Mine Visitor Center, the Hatcher Pass Public
Use Area is relatively undeveloped. Privately owned facilities offering
food and lodging are within walking distance of the Gold Mint Trailhead.
Outhouses are available at the Gold Mint trailhead parking lot and at the
Independence Mine Visitor Center.
What other activities are allowed
within the Public Use Area?
Recreational activities such as
hiking, picnicking, photography, berry picking, camping, skiing, snow machining,
and snow boarding are allowed within the Hatcher Pass Public Use Area. Other
activities such as fishing, grazing, hunting, and trapping are also allowed.
What about camping in the area?
Generally allowed: Setting up and using a camp for personal,
noncommercial recreational purposes, or for any non-recreational purpose
(such as a support camp during mineral exploration), for no more than 14
days at one site, using a tent platform or other temporary structure
that can readily be dismantled and removed, or a floathouse that can
readily be moved. Moving the entire camp at least two miles starts a new
14-day period. Cabins or other permanent improvements are not allowed,
even if they are on skids or another non-permanent foundation. The camp
must be removed immediately if the department determines that it
interferes with public access or other public uses or interests.
For additional information on dredging permits for anadromous steams,
contact the DNR Office of Habitat Management & Permitting (OHMP) at
the following address:
Department of Fish & Game
Division of Habitat
333 Raspberry Rd, Suite 2068
Anchorage, AK 99518
For additional information on Hatcher Pass Public Use Area contact:
Department of Natural Resources
Public Information Center
555 West 7th, Suite 1260
Anchorage, AK 99501-3557
Phone: 907-269-8400 TDD: 907-269-8411
Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation
Mat-Su/Copper Basin Area Office
Finger Lake State Recreation Area
HC 32 Box 6706
Wasilla, AK 99687