Nancy Lake State Recreation Area
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Nancy Lake State Recreation Area is a lake-studded landscape in Alaska preserved for recreation purposes. With clear waters are ringed with unspoiled forests,provide tranquil settings for revreational activities such as canoeing, fishing, hiking and camping during the summer. During winter it is an ideal place for cross-country skiing, dog mushing and snowmachining.
Nancy Lake State Recreation Area is located just 90 minutes drive north of Anchorage along the Parks Highway. Nearby towns are Wasilla, Houston and Willow. The broad Susitna River Valley, including what is now the recreation area, was scoured by massive glaciers, which once covered it. When the ice retreated some 9,000 years ago, it left a rolling landscape of elongated glacial deposits, called drumlins, dotted with hundreds of lakes and ponds. Through the years, most of the Nancy Lake area has remained wild and natural. The area is too wet for ideal cultivation and is not mineral-rich, so it has escaped large-scale settlement by humans. Today, it is a prime place for recreation and enjoyment of nature. There are 13 rustic cabins that are available for rent on a nightly basis throughout the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area. Cabins are located on Red Shirt, Lynx, Nancy, James, and Bald lakes. The cabins are insulated and equipped with wooden bunks, counters, and wood-burning stoves. Each cabin has an outhouse and an outdoor fire ring.
The Recreation Area is filled with a variety of nature such as wet land and dry.
Vegetation within the recreation area is dominated on drier sites by white spruce and paper birch, with some aspen interspersed. Large parts of the area have been burned by fires in the past 100 years, which have resulted in thick stands of birch, which precede the older forests of white spruce. Wildflowers abound, from the earliest violets and bluebells, through the last flower on the tip of the tall fireweed. Water-loving plants, such as bog rosemary and wild iris, are found in wet areas throughout the park. Water lilies decorate many of the lake surfaces. By early July wild berries begin to ripen and highbush and lowbush cranberries, and blueberries frequently provide a bountiful harvest. Varieties of raspberry, crowberry and other berries can also be found.
The combination of lakes, wetlands, and forests in the recreation area create an ideal habitat for many mammals and birds. Perhaps most noticeable to the summer visitor are water dwellers, especially beaver and waterfowl. Beavers are active in lakes and ponds throughout the park and visitors can see evidence of their work. These animals are vital to maintaining crucial water levels in the ecosystem. Moose are the most common large mammal in the park although their numbers are dependent on an adequate food supply. They prefer brushy areas or shallow ponds with tender aquatic plants, as browse in mature forests is beyond even their reach. Black bears are common throughout the park but Grizzly/brown bears are occasionally sighted.
The weather in the park is tempered by the relatively warm ocean waters to the south and the Alaska Range to the north, which protects it from the very cold temperatures common to interior Alaska. Summer temperatures rise into the 70s, with occasional highs in the 80s, however night time readings may fall into the 40s. Winter temperatures may fall to 40 degrees below zero and rise above freezing later on.
One of the many activities that can be enjoyed during the summer in Nancy Lake Recreational Area is fishing. Big and Little Noluck lakes are stocked with rainbow trout fry by the Department of Fish and Game. These lakes produce good catches of up to 14-inch fish. Many lakes and ponds in the Lynx Lake Loop have populations of northern pike. You can also fish in the smaller ponds and lakes not directly on the trails, and you can explore off the beaten paths and find some great fishing. Such as the Lynx Lake Loop canoe an attraction that the area is well known for, the trail travels through an eight-mile chain of lakes. Other activities involve hiking and camping. Winter activities include ice fishing, skiing and dog musshing.
- Nancy Lake. Alaskan Sportsman website.
- Nancy Lake State Recreation Area
- "Nancy Lake". Alaska Department of Natural Resources. Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation.
- "Nancy Lake Summer Information and Activities". Alaska Department of Natural Resources. Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation.