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Kenny Lake: A Hidden Gem

Kenny Lake is a unique place, because it appears to have fallen right off the map! It can be difficult to locate, especially since many maps and guides either gloss over it, or leave it out entirely. This makes it seem as if the entire area is unpopulated, or just a gravel road.

While the "lost" factor is definitely part of the general appeal of the place, it does nothing to promote our many businesses and service providers. We think it is important that our area's visitors have the opportunity to discover the Kenny Lake we know: a living, thriving community of businesses with a variety of goods and services to offer, as well as an important agricultural center.

Our main drag, the Edgerton Hwy, is a long, well-maintained road stretching 33 miles from the Richardson Hwy to Downtown Chitina. From most of the road the forest is a blanket as far as the eye can see; snowy mountains glisten in the sunlight. Most of the headers on this website are photos taken on or around the Edgerton.

The scenery along the Edgerton is wildflowers, golden & black spruce, aspen, birch and willow which combine to create a lush countryside that challenges the notion that Alaska is a frozen wasteland.

Wildlife can be found on both the new and old road and it is regularly seen from the rivers, backroads and trails...

Keep an eye out for geese, eagles, hawks, owls, magpies, ravens, many smaller avian species, black, brown, and grizzly bear, fox, lynx, beaver, martin, ermine, caribou, buffalo, moose, porcupine, and snowshoe rabbits.

We are the breadbasket of the region. There are several horse ranches (two with llamas), yaks, vegetable, pork and poultry farms and producers of quality hay. It's also a great place for hunters, trappers, fishers and pickers.

We harvest wild fish, game, berries, trees, plants and organic produce, and lead self-sufficent lifestyles; we garden, catch, shoot, trap, can, freeze, smoke and cure our own vegetables, preserves, fish and meats. Our homes and businesses either have a well, or haul fresh water from the community well on Alpine's Way; there are no public water or sewage lines.

When the Northern European immigrants intermarried with Alaskan Native tribes in the 19th and 20th centuries, their descendents inherited valuable knowledge from the diversity of their cultural traditions. Tody we not only preserve and protect our natural resources, we harvest them using our most sustainable economic methods.

A 100 year-old base camp

There was a gold rush here back in the early 1900s. Copper mining was so huge that at one time Chitina was the largest town in the Territory and was considered as a potential future capital of Alaska.

A train ran from Cordova to Chitina before the mines closed down in 1938. Many books on the history of the Copper River Valley are available at libraries in Copper Center and in Kenny Lake. Copper Center has a nice little museum and a historical society.

Kenny Lake originated in 1910 as an Alaska Road Commission (ARC) Roadhouse for the newly built Valdez - Fairbanks - Chitina Military Road. Renamed in honor of its U.S. Army Engineer, the Old and New Edgerton Highways are still home to many rest-stops and overnight accomodations.They were built around a lake that over the last century dwindled into a pond, but the inclusive community boasts of lakes and river fishing spots for trout, grayling, and Copper River Red Salmon.

Today this western road entrance serves the needs of mainly Alaskans and scattered travelers on their way to the Wrangell Mountains, Lower Tonsina, the Copper River, Chitina, the Village, Silver Lake, McCarthy, and Kennicott.

We are centrally located in the Copper River Basin, and like Governor Edgerton of the Panama Canal Zone during WWII knew, we make an excellent base camp. So leave your big rigs here while you go traveling, hunting, fishing, dip netting, working, or exploring the rest of our old-fashioned neighborhood. We'll keep our eye on it for you.

Adventures and activities

This is a great place for adventure, solitude, and socializing! Summer fishing starts around the first of June, as of May 30, 2009 the Kings are already hitting in the fishwheels on the Copper River down by Chitina. Trips to see the fishwheels in operation can be arranged at the Merc, or buy your fishing license and get out your pole!

The Merc is a pick-up point for Backcountry Connections, whose vans will take you where your tires don't want to go. There are miles of paved bicycle paths and rugged off-road 4x4, dogsled, and backwoods trails to the bluffs overlooking the Copper and Tonsina Rivers.

This is prime country for nature walks and exploring. There are also rivers and lakes where anyone can fish. There's land to cut trees, pick wild sage, berries, and edible wildflowers. And the further you venture out of traffic and pulsing electric energy of populated areas, the more natural sounds you will be able to enjoy. Listen closely and you can almost hear the wildness beckoning you to experience the rare gifts waiting for you in the backcountry.

Mt Blackburn over Kenny Lake

The Copper River Basin has a lot to offer visitors seeking the wilder side of Alaska. Old copper, gold, and silver mines sit deserted. Backwoods hikers will find edible plants and artifacts everywhere. Pickable diamond willow grows in wild abundance. Explorers may find anything from gold flakes to abandoned classic cars to giant mastadon bones.

Wrangell St. Elias National Park is 22 million acres. Much of it remains unexplored and uninhabited. It is a dangerous place for inexperienced hikers to explore alone off the trailways. The Copper River is treacherous and full of heavy silt. There are a lot of bears. When fishing be very careful on the banks!

Fortunately for adventurers, Kenny Lake, Copper Center, Glennallen, Chitina and all the rest of the 27 communities that make up the Copper River Region cleared the trails and have experienced climbing guides, certified boat captains, artists, craftsmen, mushers, growers, pickers, basketweavers, beaders, trappers, hunters, and marksmen willing to share their expertise to guide visitors off the beaten path.

Visit the old Alaska...

Contact our office and make reservations today!

We accept all major credit cards.

phone: (907) 822-3313


Latest Copper Center, Alaska, weather | up-to-date Alaska road conditions

Lisa & Harley

Carlynn Enterprises, LLC | Lisalynn Boone & Carl Pauley | KENNY LAKE MERCANTILE | Mi 7.2 Edgerton Hwy | HC 60 Box 142A | Copper Center, AK 99573 U.S.A. | ph: (907) 822-3313 | fax: (907) 822-3313


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Last update:
February 15, 2010

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