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School of Education and Human Development University of Colorado Denver

School of Education and Human Development

Raft Alaska’s Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers

Raft Alaska’s Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers—SECE 5800—3 credits
July 13-27, 2013

The Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers have their headwaters in the extremely rugged regions of northwest British Columbia and Yukon. Their corridors and tributaries connect a vast wilderness composed of adjoining parks and preserves in the United States and Canada that covers more than 60,000 square miles. This is the largest protected international ecological unit in the world. It contains the largest non-polar ice field in the world, the highest coastal mountain range in the world and the only completely protected large river drainage system in North America. In recognition of its extraordinary scenic and wildlife values, the Tatshenshini-Alsek wilderness area has been designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations. It is one of the “must see” places of the world, where pristine nature still exists to excite the imagination and nourish the spirit!

Traveling by river is the only way to see and experience the incredible biological and geographical diversity that exists within the Tatshenshini-Alsek wilderness area. From the alder and aspen forests of the Yukon, through the steep mountain valleys of British Columbia, to the ice fields of Alaska’s Glacier Bay, the river sweeps through landscapes of wondrous size and design. There are some exciting rapids the first day, where the river is contained by a narrow, winding canyon. After that, it mellows out as it spreads over an ever-broadening flood plain to eventually become more than a mile wide. Each day on the river has exciting new sites, sounds and sensations.

Camp on gravel beaches warmed by clusters of flaming fireweed and purple lupine. Hike along rushing streams teaming with salmon. Climb to high mountain valleys with magnificent views and vistas. Walk upon the surface of a glacier for an up-close look at giant seracs, deep crevasses and sparkling basins of melted ice. Bald eagles and arctic terns will be your faithful companions, and you may also see, or see evidence of, grizzly and black bears, moose, wolves, mountain goats, beaver, wolverines and many other small birds and mammals. A highlight of the expedition is a day spent at Alsek Lake, where house-sized icebergs calve off the faces of the Grand Plateau and Alsek glaciers. From a mile away, the cannon-blast retort of the breaking ice reverberates across the landscape. The lake is filled with blue and white bergs of all shapes and sizes that eventually melt enough to float into the river and on to the sea. Rowing through this wonderland of sculpted ice affords some amazing photographic opportunities. By journey’s end, you will have many extraordinary moments to savor — perhaps the song of a wolf, or the sight of a mother bear and her cubs sauntering across a sandbar — the pink glow of the late night sun on a distant peak — carpets of blue and gold forget-me-nots — beautiful campsites and misty morning—the aroma of fresh-made coffee and satisfying meals—the exhilarating sense of freedom that comes with floating down a wilderness river.

For further information please contact: Dr. Michael Marlow, You may also watch a video at

July 13, 2013: Leave Denver, Alaskan Airlines: arrive Juneau via Seattle. One night lodging Juneau at Driftwood Lodge. Transfer from Airport to Lodge.
July 14, 2013: Ferry to Haines, 11 AM. One night lodging at Hotel Halsingland. Morning transportation to and from ferry in Juneau and Haines.
July 15-25, 2013: On the river, tents, all meals included. Morning transportation to Dalton Post for river put in. 10-day river trip with highlights of Goat Ridge and Walker Glacier hikes, Alsek Lake glacier calving and rafting among icebergs.
July 25, 2013: Helicopter and small plane back to Juneau, lodging at Driftwood Lodge that night
July 26, 2013: Shuttle to airport, Morning flight on Alaskan Airlines to Denver via Seattle, arrive Denver.

Trip cost: $4950 per person
The cost of the trip includes: all transportation (air, land and ferry), lodging (double occupancy three nights), park fees, a ten day raft trip and all meals on the river.

Tuition Cost for SECE 5800—3 credits—$330 total. It is not required that you register for this course.

For further information and to obtain the registration form, please contact: Dr. Michael Marlow,

Participation is on a first come/first served basis. No reservation is confirmed without a deposit.

Payment Plan:
$300 deposit for raft portion (check made out to Colorado River and Trail)
$450 deposit for lodging and transportation (check made out to Empire Travel)
$1500 additional payment by February 14 for airfare and ferry
Remaining cost due 60 days prior to the trip
Note: A portion of the deposit may be non-refundable for cancellation.

For further information and to obtain the registration form, please contact: Dr. Michael Marlow,

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