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The Susitna River ( ) is a long river in the Southcentral Alaska. It is the 15th largest river in the United States of America, ranked by average discharge volume at its mouth. The river stretches from the Susitna Glacier to Cook Inletmarker.


Tanaina Indian name meaning "sandy river" published by the Russianmarker Hydrog. Dept. as "R(eka) Sushitna," meaning Sushitna River, on Chart 1378 dated 1847. The Susitna River appears to have been first explored in 1834, by a "Creole named Malakov", and the name may have been obtained by the Russians at that time. The present spelling of the name has evolved due to euphemistic reasons.


The Susitna River heads at Susitna Glacier, in Alaska Range, flows southwest to Cook Inletmarker, west of Anchorage, Alaskamarker Cook Inletmarker Low.

There are several rivers flowing into the Susitna River including East Fork Susitna River and West Fork Susitna River. The Little Susitna Rivermarker is a separate river system which flows into the Cook Inletmarker on the other side of Susitna Flats.

The Susitna along with the Matanuska Rivermarker, drains the broad Matanuska-Susitna Valley south of the Alaska Range.

It rises in the Susitna Glacier on Mount Hayesmarker in the Alaska Range near . It flows in winding course generally southwest to Curry, then south, along the west side of the Talkeetna Mountainsmarker, past Talkeetnamarker, Chulitna River, and Susitnamarker, and drains into Cook Inletmarker approximately 25 miles (40 km) west of Anchoragemarker.

It receives the Yentna Rivermarker from the northwest approximately 5 miles (8 km) north of Susitnamarker. It is navigable to 85 mile (137 km) upstream from its mouth to Talkeetnamarker.

The Susitna River is one of Southcentral Alaska's premier sport fishing streams, with significant runs of Chinook and Coho salmon, along with resident grayling, burbot, and rainbow trout. Located within a roadless area, access to the river is difficult and is made usually by power boat or by floatplane.
Matanuska-Susitna Borough owns much of the land along the Susitna and Deshka Riversmarker. The impacts of summer recreational use and tourists have caused loss of riparian vegetation and bank erosion along the Deshka Rivermarker's lower reaches, which has been partially remedied through a restoration project in the summer of 2002. However, the borough currently lacks either regulations to prevent further damage or the means to enforce such regulations.


Susitna River was named by the Dena’ina Alaska Native people meaning "sandy river". The Susitna appears to have been first explored in 1834 by a Creole Indian named Malakor. The 1890 census reported that Susitna Villagemarker on the east bank of the river had 146 Kenai Natives and 27 houses.


(1329) Susitna River is on the North side of Cook Inletmarker North-East of North Forelandmarker.Mount Susitnamarker,a prominent landmark along the upper part of the inlet,is about West of the Susitna River at a point above the mouth.

(1330) The channels across the flats at the mouth of Susitna River have depths of or less at low water and change during the winter and spring because of ice and freshet action.The channels above the mouth are said to change frequently in the spring and early summer.

(1331) Launches navigate Susitna River to Yentna Rivermarker,about above Cook Inletmarker,thence run occasionally up the Yentna Rivermarker to the forks about from the Susitna River.The tides are not felt more than from the inlet,and above this the current is swift.Overhead power cables with a least clearance of cross the Susitna River about above its mouth.

(1332) Alexander, Alaskamarker is a small settlement on the west side of Susitna River above the mouth.Susitna, Alaskamarker is on the East side above the mouth and just below the mouth of the Yentna Rivermarker;launches run to and from Anchorage, Alaskamarker.Mail is delivered to both settlements twice monthly by airplane from Anchorage, Alaskamarker.

(1333) Susitna Flats lies between big Susitna River and Little Susitna Rivermarker and to the East of the latter.

Susitna Flats Light ,
 above the water,
is shown from a skeleton tower and is equipped with a racon.

(1334) Little Susitna Rivermarker, West of Point MacKenziemarker,is said to be navigable for landing craft and skiffs at high water for about .

(1335) Caution:the depths offshore and in the approach to Little Susitna Rivermarker are subject to drastic and continual change.


Between approximately October 19 and November 14 the Susitna River ices or freezes over for the winter.
Between April 12 and May 10 the ice breaks-up for the summer.


See also


  1. Dall, 1870, p.12,273

External links


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