Alaska’s Tlikakila and Koyukuk Rivers get own Forever Stamps

A cake features a print of the Koyukuk River at a USPS and NPS celebration of the stamps on May 29.
A cake features a print of the Koyukuk River at a USPS and NPS celebration of the stamps on May 29. (Photo by Amy Mostafa, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)

Two of Alaska’s rivers are now featured on their own postage stamps on sale across the country.

United States Postal Service and National Park Service officials gathered last week to celebrate and unveil replicas of the Tlikakila and Koyukuk Rivers stamps.

The two are among a dozen Wild and Scenic Rivers featured in USPS’s newest Forever Stamps series.

USPS Alaska Senior Plant Manager Rita Oliver and Azabel Ordaz hold a display of the 12 Wild and Scenic Rivers featured in the new Forever Stamps series. (Photo by Amy Mostafa, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)

“As this is a Forever Stamp, the National Park Service is in the forever business. We’re here to protect these areas into perpetuity,” said NPS Regional Director Bert Frost at the event.

Frost added he hopes the exposure will bring curiosity about the place where the two Wild rivers reside and attract visitors to Alaska’s national parks.

The Tlikakila and Koyukuk Rivers have been designated as Wild since 1980. Congress made the designation following the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 to protect from pollution or interference rivers especially significant for their fish and wildlife, geology, culture or history.

Tlikakila and Koyukuk make up less than one percent of the state’s more than 300,000 miles of river protected under the Act. That portion is lower nationwide.

National Park Service officials unveiled the Tlikakila River (pictured) and Koyukuk River stamps in a May 29 celebration in Anchorage. (Photo by Amy Mostafa, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)

Lake Clark National Park Superintendent Susanne Fleek-Green, whose area encompasses the Tlikakila River, said the designation is important.

“For people that still go out there in the summer, in the fall, and really are supporting their families by living off the land and having a very close relationship with the resources, it’s important that we have this status of a wild and scenic river because it enables us to ensure that generations to come will still be able to go and fish and hunt and trap in the area,” Fleek-Green said.

Sharing similar hopes of attracting visitors to Alaska’s parks through the new stamps, Fleek-Green said the number of visitors has generally been on the rise in recent years, and is playing a bigger role in bringing in revenue to local residents. Lake Clark alone has over 80 commercial operators.

Of the river itself, the superintendent said, “It’s stunning, I think. Even by Alaska standards, it’s a stunning river.”

Stamps featuring the rivers went on sale May 21.