300 Villages: Nelchina

This week, we’re heading to Nelchina, a small and spread out community on the Glenn Highway. Roxanne Farmer is a life-long resident of Nelchina.

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“My name is Roxanne Farmer. I live at Nelchina, Alaska.

Nelchina is a place on the Glenn Highway; it’s a town site from Eureka to, maybe, mile 150 on the Glenn Highway.

People came in and did some gold mining in the 1900s.

Different people do some mining back in behind Eureka and people do some recreational mining along the streams and creeks.

Image from Google Maps.
Image from Google Maps.

I think that miners used to do real well in the 70s and 80s, but I think now it’s more recreational.

We have a local church; we have a couple lodges on the highway – Eureka Lodge being one, Mendeltna Lodge being at the other end. Slide Mountain cabins is in between there.

We have one little, small grocery store on the Glenn Highway.

And the 70s, is a lot like what it is now. We had kind of like a boom in the 80s and 90s; we had more people more people in this area; we had a lot more families; we ended up putting in a little school here and just over the last 10 years that our community dwindled back down again to where we just have a lot of people that have recreational homes in the area.

There’s not a lot of people that stay here all winter long.

So, the school has been closed down.

So, many people do a lot of dip netting and get fish from the fish wheels there in Copper Center and a lot of people go down and do silver fishing down in Valdez in the summertime. And we definitely harvest our caribou and moose in the area.

We have the Chugach Mountain Range that’s on the south side of the highway. From one point you can see all four mountain ranges: Chugach, Talkeetna, the Wrangells and the Alaska Range.”