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PenAir

Aniak

Passenger Service: PenAir offers scheduled passenger service two (2) times per week, Tuesday & Thursday. Passenger service has been temporarily suspended since December 24th. If you were booked for travel after that date, contact our Reservations department at 800.448.4226 to have your booking transferred to another carrier offering scheduled service.
Airport: Aniak Airport (State owned)
Distance from Anchorage = 326 miles
Approximate Travel Time = 50 minutes
Runway(s): 3,000 ft. X 400 ft. and 6,000 ft. X 150 ft.

Aniak is the Yup'ik name which means "the place where it comes out;" that is, where the Aniak River flows into the Kuskokwim.         

Aniak is located on the south bank of the Kuskokwim River at the head of Aniak Slough, 59 miles (95 km) southwest of Russian Mission in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. It lies 92 miles (148 km) northeast of Bethel and 317 miles (510 km) west of Anchorage.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.8 square miles, 6.5 square miles of which is land and 2.3 square miles of which is water.

Climate is maritime in the summer and continental in winter. Temperatures range between -55 and 87. Average yearly precipitation is 19 inches, with snowfall of 60 inches.

It was believed by 20th-century prospectors that the early Russian traders discovered gold in a tributary to the Kuskokwim called "Yellow River" in 1832. Many think that the Yellow River these traders referred to is the Aniak River. A mercury deposit was discovered by Russian traders near the trading post called Kolmakov Redoubt 22 miles east of Aniak in 1838. Placer gold was found by Russian traders in New York Creek 30 miles east of Aniak in 1844. The Russians, however, did not engage in any significant mining activities and it was not until after the purchase of Alaska in 1867 that the American prospectors began seriously investigating the potential for prospecting along the Kuskokwim river. A handful of prospecting parties began venturing into the area, however, and they had to travel great distances to an area where trading posts were few and far between, so the activity was limited, especially given the exposure of other late 19th-century strikes in Alaska which were better served by existing infrastructure.

The euphoria caused by the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897-98 would set the stage for a change, however, with thousands of prospectors across the territory poised to make a rush upon rumor of each potential new strike. One such rush was the Yellow River Stampede of 1900 in which many prospectors left Nome to venture into the Kuskokwim basin upon rumors that someone had found the Yellow River strike despite the fact that the location of that strike was unknown. Finding precious little gold and experiencing substantial hardship, many of these folks would return to Nome following the difficult winter of 1901, but some stayed behind to continue their search. A 1906 gold discovery at the head of the Innoko River, a tributary of the Yukon River, caused another gold rush in 1907 with many of the prospectors choosing to access the site via the Kuskokwim River instead and trading posts were established at the Takotna River which required riverboat service to travel the Kuskokwim river. With riverboat service now available on the Kuskokwim River, prospecting activity picked up and some strikes were starting to occur in the Kuskokwim basin. Strikes were made at Crooked Creek, George River, New York Creek and Aniak River among others. Most strikes were short lived. The Kuskokwim River, however, was now seeing an increase in river traffic that needed servicing.

In 1910, a lone prospector named "Old Man" Keeler reportedly found placer gold in the Aniak River basin. In 1911, three prospectors, Harry Buhro, E. W. "Kid" Fisher and Fred Labelle, who had been working the George River area, decided to give the Aniak River basin area a try and discovered gold at Marvel, Fisher and Dome creeks. These creeks feed into the Aniak River about 50 miles south of Aniak. Initially, prospectors would reach this site by poling up the river in boats, however, that was a difficult journey due to the nature of the river. The trip would take 15-20 days from the Kuskokwim river. By 1913, a hydraulic plant had been installed at Marvel Creek and in 1914 construction of a 70-mile cat trail began starting 1 mile south of Aniak on the mouth of the Aniak Slough and proceeding to the diggings at Marvel Creek. The cat trail was last used in the spring of 2006 by miners still working claims.

(excerpts taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aniak,_Alaska April 2015)