Prospect Creek, Alaska
Overview
 
Prospect Creek is a very small settlement approximately 180 miles north of present day Fairbanks
Fairbanks
Fairbanks may refer to:Places in the United States*Fairbanks, Alaska, city*Fairbanks, California, unincorporated community in El Dorado County*Fairbanks, Mendocino County, California, former settlement*Fairbanks, Indiana, unincorporated community...

 and 25 miles southeast of present day Bettles, Alaska. Years ago it was home to numerous mining expeditions and the camp for the building of the Alaskan pipeline. Today, it is mostly desolate with little activity since the completion of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in 1977.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Prospect Creek is a very small settlement approximately 180 miles north of present day Fairbanks
Fairbanks
Fairbanks may refer to:Places in the United States*Fairbanks, Alaska, city*Fairbanks, California, unincorporated community in El Dorado County*Fairbanks, Mendocino County, California, former settlement*Fairbanks, Indiana, unincorporated community...

 and 25 miles southeast of present day Bettles, Alaska. Years ago it was home to numerous mining expeditions and the camp for the building of the Alaskan pipeline. Today, it is mostly desolate with little activity since the completion of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in 1977. Prospect Creek is also home to the U.S. record for lowest temperature. In January 1971, the record low temperature of -80°F (-62°C) was recorded. Wildlife can be found there even with its extreme changes in temperature; local fauna include anything from black and brown bear
Bear
Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern...

s to bald eagle
Bald Eagle
The Bald Eagle is a bird of prey found in North America. It is the national bird and symbol of the United States of America. This sea eagle has two known sub-species and forms a species pair with the White-tailed Eagle...

s. The elevation of Prospect Creek is 643 feet (196 m) above sea level. Nearby Moore Creek is widely known for its gold and quartz mining and sits alongside Prospect Creek in Alaska’s Innoko Mining District (Moorecreek Mining Line, MML). The Innoko Mining District is famous for its findings of large quartz.

History

Prospect Creek was declared the coldest place in the United States at -80°F on January 23, 1971. The North American record of -87F was recorded in Greenland in 1954.

A camp was set up near Prospect Creek in 1974 to help house some of the twenty-seven thousand people working on the construction of the Trans-Alaska pipeline and serve pipeline station five. The camp contained little more than housing and washrooms. After the pipeline was completed in 1977 the camp was broken down and abandoned. There was little left afterward other than an airstrip, now private, and a large gravel pad.

In 1974 during the construction of the pipeline there was a recorded wolf attack, however the only resulting injury was some minor bruising with no apparent breaks in the skin. The wolf was killed and tested negative for rabies.
The camp was again used in 1992 as the first of the camp sites set up for the construction workers, engineers and their families while they helped with the replacement of the bridges along the nearby Dalton Highway
Dalton Highway
The James W. Dalton Highway, usually Dalton Highway is a 414-mile road in Alaska. It begins at the Elliott Highway, north of Fairbanks, and ends at Deadhorse near the Arctic Ocean and the Prudhoe Bay oil fields...

.

Geography

Prospect Creek is situated 54 km north of the center of Alaska with coordinates: 66°48′48"N 150°38′38"W, located right off the James Dalton Highway on the 135th mile. Coldfoot is the nearest city and is located about 50 km northeast of Prospect Creek. This is the winter road to Bettles and the camp was situated near the start of the road. But Prospect creek is still very much in the middle of nowhere. According to the Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior which administers America's public lands, totaling approximately , or one-eighth of the landmass of the country. The BLM also manages of subsurface mineral estate underlying federal, state and private...

: “Prospect Creek joins the Jim River within 3 miles of the road crossing, and Jim River flows into the South Fork of the Koyukuk River.” Not far from there is also the Snake River
Snake River
The Snake is a major river of the greater Pacific Northwest in the United States. At long, it is the largest tributary of the Columbia River, the largest North American river that empties into the Pacific Ocean...

, a major Alaskan river. Prospect Creek is surrounded by two national wildlife reserves in Kanuti and Yukon Flats
Yukon Flats
The Yukon Flats are a vast area of wetlands, forest, bog, and low-lying ground centered on the confluence of the Yukon River, Porcupine River, and Chandalar River in the central portion of the U.S. state of Alaska. The Yukon Flats are bordered in the north by the Brooks Range, in the south by the...

 and the Gates of the Arctic National Park. The Prospect Creek area in itself is somewhat flat, but its surroundings are undulating and green, which is very typical of a boreal forest. Due to a very peculiar setting mixing extreme cold and an irregular massif there are occurrences of tungsten
Tungsten
Tungsten , also known as wolfram , is a chemical element with the chemical symbol W and atomic number 74.A hard, rare metal under standard conditions when uncombined, tungsten is found naturally on Earth only in chemical compounds. It was identified as a new element in 1781, and first isolated as...

 minerals, and also "bismuth
Bismuth
Bismuth is a chemical element with symbol Bi and atomic number 83. Bismuth, a trivalent poor metal, chemically resembles arsenic and antimony. Elemental bismuth may occur naturally uncombined, although its sulfide and oxide form important commercial ores. The free element is 86% as dense as lead...

 is reported to have been found in a quartz vein on Prospect Creek." Despite this wealth of natural resources, no company has yet taken advantage of them due to the remote location.

Prospect Creek is located just above the Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For Epoch 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs north of the Equator....

 about 67 degrees North and around 147 degrees west. Under the Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 system, Prospect Creek has a subarctic climate
Subarctic climate
The subarctic climate is a climate characterized by long, usually very cold winters, and short, cool to mild summers. It is found on large landmasses, away from the moderating effects of an ocean, generally at latitudes from 50° to 70°N poleward of the humid continental climates...

. Prospect has received some of the coldest winters in U.S. history. There are currently no people living in this area. The camp has been abandoned since the early 1990s. Prospect Creek has a small airstrip, Prospect Creek Airport
Prospect Creek Airport
Prospect Creek Airport is a state-owned public-use airport located three nautical miles northeast of the central business district of Prospect Creek, in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area of the U.S. state of Alaska.- Facilities and aircraft :...

. Prospect Creek is a three hour drive from Fairbanks. There are also commercial group tours into this area in the summer.

External links

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