Big Lake is both a beautiful lake with 50 miles of wooded shoreline and a community of 2,000 year-round residents located at the west end of the Mat-Su Valley, 15 miles north of Wasilla. With numerous winter and summer recreational opportunities including fishing, boating, snow machining, cross country skiing, wildlife viewing, and sled dog racing, it is easy to understand why approximately 58 percent of the housing in the Big Lake area is recreational.
Independence Mine State Historical Park is set in scenic Hatcher Pass high up in the rugged Talkeetna Mountains. About 17 miles from Wasilla, the park contains the abandoned buildings and machinery of a hard rock gold mining operation. In the summer, the park is a popular area for hiking, berry picking, and recreational gold panning. Heavy snowfall in the winter makes the park a popular snowboarding, cross country skiing, and snow-machining destination.
Nancy Lake State Recreation Area, with its network of 130 lakes and ponds is a popular area for hiking, canoeing, camping, skiing, and snow machining 25 miles north of Wasilla.
Dorothy G. Page Museum & Visitor CenterThe heritage of the Wasilla, Knik, and Willow Creek area is preserved in an archive of historical printed materials, a variety of regional history exhibits, native artifacts, homesteading exhibits, and natural history dioramas of Alaska wildlife and fossils. Historic buildings including Wasilla’s first school are grouped behind the museum in Old Townsite Park. The Museum is open April to September, and welcomed over 3,500 visitors in 2002. A farmers market is held on Wednesday afternoons during the summer on the grounds of the Old Townsite Park.
Museum of Alaska Transportation and IndustryThe museum is a non-profit organization with the mission to collect, preserve, display, and interpret artifacts related to Alaska’s transportation and industrial history. Their display includes aircraft, 30 items of rolling stock (train cars, etc.), special vehicles related to the development of Alaska, tractors and farm implements, and fishing boats along with historic photos, maps, artifacts, and equipment documenting the area’s mining history.
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