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Alaska River Guide: Canoeing, Kayaking, and Rafting in the Last Frontier (Canoeing & Kayaking Guides - Menasha) Paperback – June 28, 2008

3.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This is dream material. Imagine canoeing the North Fork of the Koyukuk. You can put in near Mount Doonerak…and drift through the Gates of the Arctic National Park. The Alaska River Guide will make you want to do it.” Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

“ This book, by Karen Jettmar, will help to preserve Alaska’s precious natural heritage.”
President Jimmy Carter

About the Author

Karen Jettmar is a river guide, freelance writer, and photographer whose work has been published in magazines that include National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, and Time.

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Product Details

  • Series: Canoeing & Kayaking Guides - Menasha
  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Menasha Ridge Press; 3rd edition (June 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0897329570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0897329576
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #467,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The hallmark of a good guidebook is how accurate it is. Unfortunately, this book contains more than its share of errors - some are merely nuisances, but others are more serious.

I bought this book because I wanted to expand my knowledge of Alaska's river systems. I live in Alaska, and enjoy exploring new waters; I try to get in at least one major trip each year. This book offers a brief survey of over 100 rivers, with an effort to cover systems in each of the major regions of Alaska.

Most of the river descriptions are 2 to 3 pages; the information usually contains a map showing the most common put-in and take-out spots, then a brief description of the overall character of the stream with some of its standout features. A few paragraphs of historical notes are often added. Following the description of the river is a section of useful data: appropriate USGS topo maps; the best seasons for floating; specific safety issues; prominent fish and wildlife likely to be seen; and a list of the government land management agencies who oversee the river and adjacent territory.

The book also contains some nice sections at the beginning on trip planning, with sections on appropriate gear for a river trip, trip safety, and ethical camping practices.

The structure of the book means it probably shouldn't be looked at as a detailed trip planner for any specific river system in Alaska; instead, the book represents more of an encyclopedic listing of float trips, with some background advice common to all river trips. It's a nice book to have when you're facing a question like: "I want to do a trip, but which river should I choose?" It's also a nice book to keep by your favorite chair, to browse through and to dream about the dozens of quality excursions in Alaska.
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By A Customer on June 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
Great book on numerous trips on both slow and fast water. This combination makes the book a worthwhile purchase. Living in AK for five years and doing a number of the trips makes this a great way for me to stir up a few memories. Put-ins and take outs are accurately marked. Overall excellent book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a great way for me to understand the basics of what the various rivers in Alaska had to offer in preparation for taking a trip last summer. You'll want to get more detailed info on any given river you go to, but this is great for the initial preparation and helping to choose from between the various rivers.
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Format: Paperback
I love this book, and wish the author would write a sequel, describing more rivers. I have used the Alaska River Guide for several years to plan trips all over Alaska. The maps are great, the trip descriptions fascinating, and the pre-trip preparation information essential, especially for people new to Alaska.
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Format: Paperback
If you had a big pocketbook and unlimited time, you might be able to paddle a small fraction of Alaska's rivers. Instead, most of us dream and cherry-pick the adventures we will take. How lucky to have a decent river guide to provide a pathway into the world of Alaska's rivers. Even Andy Embick, whose book I have read, says this of Karen Jettmar's map to the treasure of Alaska's waterways: "Karen Jettmar's 1993 book, 'The Alaska River Guide,' is a real gem, the first true guidebook to rivers of the state. With wide geographic coverage and a wealth of information for the wilderness traveller, it is superb for the long touring rivers, leaving out most of the true whitewater runs. Thus her book and this one are (in my opinion) complementary in coverage and scope." I don't think I can say it any better than that. Karen has been out there in the field exploring rivers for decades. Big state, many rivers, and this book provides a great planning tool for trips. Small investment for firsthand knowledge, in my opinion. I have the second edition, by the way, and it is fabulous.
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Format: Paperback
The book has some serious errors such as a whole section under the Gulkana River that belongs under the Eagle River section. If I wasn't familiar with these rivers, I could be in trouble if I was depending on this book to plan a rafting trip. I have the third edition of this book. You would think they would have corrected all the errors by now! It's good for a general review of each river, but check other resources when planning your trip.
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Format: Paperback
I have read many river guides and find this one to be little help in any whitewater decents. I would instead try to find the out-of-print book "Fast and Cold" for information that contains valuable whitewater information. The Alaska River Guide is a book for someone who needs general directions and an incredibly broad overview of the larger picture. Details and maps are incredibly vague to the point one wonders if the author actually ran the rivers described.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book expecting to get a comprehensive guide to Alaska's rivers and found that it was a large let down. I am a life long Alaskan and the book is missing several rivers that are well known to boaters and easily accessible from the road system which is very important when choosing rivers to raft in Alaska since there isn't a large road system. The river descriptions are poor along with the directions on how to get to the put in's and take out's, several of the rivers in this book are missing put in's and take out's that are well known to anyone that has run these rivers.
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