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Fodor's Alaska 2014
Copper River delta
Copper River delta Review
Drive out of town along the Copper River Highway and visit the Copper River delta. This 700,000-acre wetland is one of North America's most spectacular vistas. The two-lane highway crosses marshes, forests, streams, lakes, and ponds that are home to countless shorebirds, waterfowl, and other bird species. Numerous terrestrial mammals including moose, wolves, lynx, mink, and beavers live here, too, and the Copper River salmon runs are world famous. When the red and king salmon hit the river in spring, there's a frantic rush to net the tasty fish and rush them off to waiting markets and restaurants all over the country.
The Million Dollar Bridge, at Mile 48, was a railroad project completed in 1910 for the Copper River and Northwestern Railway to carry copper ore to market from the mines at Kennicott. Soon after construction was completed, the nearby Childs and Miles glaciers threatened to overrun the railroad and bridge. Although the glaciers stopped short of the railroad, the copper market collapsed in 1938, making the route economically obsolete. The far span of the bridge was toppled by the Good Friday earthquake in 1964 and was not rebuilt until 2005.
From the end of the road you can view the Childs Glacier. Although there is no visitor center, there is a covered viewing area next to the bridge, where you can see the face of the glacier and wait for a huge chunk of ice to topple into the river. The waves produced by falling ice frequently wash migrating salmon onto the riverbank. Local brown bears have been known to patrol the river's edge looking for an easy meal, so keep your eyes peeled.
- Address: Cordova, AK
- Location: Cordova
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