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Public Lands Information Center

If you are planning a trip to the back country (or "the bush, as Alaskan's call it), or just interested in learning more about Alaska's great outdoors you will want stop in at the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in Fairbanks.

A wonderful mini-museum in the middle of downtown, the center's specialty is assisting visitors and residents in planning recreational activities throughout the state, and as such, is a storehouse of valuable trip planning information for outdoor recreation with maps, river trip logs, reference books, brochures and books for sale. There are leaflets on campgrounds, fishing spots, hiking trails, and scenic drives--all in addition to the other informational features of the center.

This facility is the central distribution point for information on state and national parks, refuges, forests and recreation areas for eight state and federal agencies: the state's Division of Tourism, Department of Natural Resources, and Department of Fish and Game; and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service and U.S. Geological Survey.

The center also has current information about Denali National Park and Preserve. As well, there are displays highlighting the six regions of Alaska, which can be viewed at the press of a button. Each includes a series of photographs, several short videos and captions for people with hearing disabilities.

There are exhibits on year-round travel safety, and photographic panels depicting aspects of Alaska's history, weather, public lands, natural resources and fish and wildlife. A 140-gallon freshwater aquarium features fish species from the Chena River.

Visitors can trace their travels across the state's varied terrain on a 6- by 12-foot relief map, and see how Alaska is situated in relation to Canada and Russia. A variety of maps are offered for sale, including a limited selection of USGS topographic maps. The center also provides updates on road conditions and fires.

Short films are shown at noon,  2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in the center's auditorium. The films cover topics related to Alaska's natural history, wildlife and public lands. An interpretive slide program is also offered: call the center for times. We list their films and times on our Activities Calendar as soon as they update their listings, which (unfortunately) is usually half way through the month.

The Fairbanks center, which opened in 1985, is one of four in the state. Other information centers are located in Tok, Anchorage and Ketchikan.

The center is in the lower level of Courthouse Square, at the corner of Third Avenue and Cushman Street, suite 1A. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily starting Memorial Day and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday in the winter. Free movies are shown daily in their own theatre at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The varied subjects include the northern lights, the pipeline, wildlife, and may even have footage from old time silent movies of the gold rush era.

Here are some descriptions of a just few of the films they show:

Women of the Alaska Territory: An Oral History (25 min)
Pioneer Alaskan women remember the early days of the Territory in their own words, highlighted by archival photographs of historic Alaska.

Cranes of the Grey Wind (50 min)
Experience the magical world of the sandhill crane, from bountiful wintering grounds on the Gulf of Mexico to far northern breeding ranges in the Kuskokwim and Yukon deltas of western Alaska. Along the way discover other inhabitants of these panoramic landscapes, including emperor geese, trumpeter swans, and the rare whooping crane.

Chain of Life: The Aleutian Islands (30 min)
Explore the unique and varied wildlife resources of the Aleutian Islands National Wildlife Refuge and share the work of biologists dedicated to the survival of the rare Aleutian Canada goose.

Winning the Avalanche Game (60 min)
Stunning photography and interviews with experts help backcountry travelers understand avalanche terrain, snow stability, route-finding, rescue, and more.

Yukon Quest: Challenge of the North (50 min)
The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race between Fairbanks and Whitehorse is a grueling challenge for dogs and mushers across 1,000 miles of remote winter wilderness. See why the Quest has earned the title "toughest race in the world."

Angling Alaska: Ice Fishing for Rainbow Trout (30 min)
Travel by snowmachine to a stocked lake in Alaska’s Interior. Discover different ice-fishing techniques to hook rainbow trout and enjoy winter camping in scenic surroundings. Learn how rainbow trout are reared and released from a state fish hatchery.

Yukon Passage (60 min)
Travel the longest river in Alaska with four adventurers who begin their journey in Skagway and end in the Yukon Delta. Rafting through the wilderness of Canada and Alaska, they complete their voyage in winter with the aid of sled dog teams. (A National Geographic Special).

The Bear Stands Up (30 min)
This is a portrait of Tlingit elder Esther Shea of the Tongass Bear Clan. She dedicated her life to teaching the language, songs, and values of Tlingit traditional life in Southeast Alaska.

Humpback Whales (60 min)
Research on humpback whales and their annual migration from Hawaii to Glacier Bay, Alaska, has revealed such surprises as the whales' "bubble net" technique for concentrating the schools of small crustaceans on which they feed.

For another list of films, see our events calendars, at the beginning of any month. For specifics on what is showing, you will have to contact them directly, as they stopped listing their schedule online.

WINTER HOURS start on Sunday, September 3:
CLOSED Sunday and Monday.
OPEN Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Films show at noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m.
250 Cushman Street, Suite 1A, (907) 456-0527.

Here is what they say about their winter programs:

"FAPLIC (Fairbanks Alaska Public Lands Information Center) will be open during winter (September through May) from 10:00amto 6:00pm, Tuesday through Saturday. For scheduled film and special program information, call 1-907-456-0527. A variety of educational programs are offered year round onsite and offsite for community schools and youth groups. A lecture series is offered in the off season, titled 'Explore Alaska Series' which offers programs on a variety of topics such as adventuring in Alaska, public land area recreation opportunities and other topics of special interest. Family programs are offered on Saturdays in the off season titled, 'Discovery Days for Kids'. These programs give children and adults the opportunity to explore Alaskan themes through a variety of games, activities and learning adventures. Native artists demonstrations are offered intermittently throughout the year. ". . . Most activities are geared for children ages 5-10, however all children are welcome. Parents or an associated adult must accompany children through the activities at the center. Admission is FREE! " Fall/Winter Schedule Hours for Discovery Days were 10am to 4pm and are probably the same this year.

The center is wheelchair-accessible through its Turner Street entrance. For more information on the center, call (907) 456-0527 or (TTD) 456-0532 for the hearing impaired. The Alaska Public Lands Center has a website for more information.


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