Welcome to the Tangle Lakes Archaeological District Special Use Area (TLAD SUA) website. The purpose of this site is to educate about the recreational opportunities, unique land rules, and the archaeological significance of the area.
The Tangle Lakes Archaeological District (TLAD) is 226,660 acres in size and encompasses land to the north and the south of the Denali Highway between MP 15 and MP 32. The TLAD is unique because it is jointly managed by two distinct agencies. The land to the north of the Denali Highway is managed by the State of Alaska, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Division of Mining, Land & Water (DMLW), Southcentral Regional Office (SCRO) and the land to the south of the Denali Highway is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
2003 the BLM conveyed to the State of Alaska 41,339 acres of land within the TLAD boundary. Due to the demonstrated cultural resource value of the area the DNR, DMLW, SCRO created the TLAD SUA consisting of 63,620 acres. The Administrative Record is serialized as ADL 228296 and was adopted on January 22, 2003. Currently there are public easements for three motorized trails and one non-motorized trail.
By designating the TLAD SUA DMLW manages this land more intensively than other State lands by regulating activities that are otherwise generally allowed to occur on State land. Thus DNR's immediate task is to manage impacts to archeological and surface resources in order to prevent or minimize damage and to ensure future management opportunities. Additionally, the land is to be managed to maintain a range of recreational, scenic, educational, archeological, and unique natural resource opportunities. The area provides for a full-spectrum of outdoor recreational opportunities and is open to motorized and non-motorized recreational pursuits. Activities common to the area include: riding of off-highway vehicles (OHV's), hunting, fishing, trapping, boating, horseback riding, biking, hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing.
The Tangle Lakes Archaeological District Special Use Area (TLAD SUA) is actively managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Division of Mining, Land & Water (DMLW), Southcentral Regional Office (SCRO) in conjunction with the DNR, Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation(DOPR), Office of History & Archaeology(OHA). The SCRO is tasked with managing general domain state owned land throughout southcentral Alaska and undertakes a variety of management and stewardship obligations pertaining to public process decision making, issuance of land use authorizations (permits, easements, leases), and compliance duties. Some activities require land use authorizations while other activities are generally allowed.
Special Use Lands is a designation placed on certain lands identified as having "Special resource values warranting additional protections or other special requirements" (11 AAC 96.014). The TLAD SUA this designation was placed protect the archaeological significance of the area thus generally allowed uses are restricted. The following are the additional protections set by regulation within the TLAD SUA (11 AAC 96.014(b)(24):
(A) May 18 through October 18, a permit is required for the use of motorized vehicles off designated trails as depicted on the Tangle Lakes Archaeological District Special Use Area map; and
(B) October 19 through May 17, a permit is required for the use of motorized vehicles off designated trails as depicted on the Tangle Lakes Archaeological District Special Use Area map; however, a permit is not required for the use of motorized vehicles as provided in 11 AAC 96.020(a) (1)(D) and (E) if snow cover or ground frost is sufficient to prevent damage to archaeological values; for purposes of this subparagraph,
(i) an average snow depth of one foot, and a minimum snow depth of six inches, will be considered sufficient snow cover; and
(ii) a minimum frost depth of six inches will be considered sufficient ground frost.
There is one land manager and one archaeologist dedicated to handling management actions within the TLAD SUA. The land manager serves as the contact person for issues that arise within the TLAD SUA, and regularly spends time in the field meeting with recreational users, maintaining trails, signs and informational kiosks, inspecting land use authorizations and trespass. The archaeologist collaborates with the land manager on matters relating to the archaeological significance of the area by providing surveys and monitoring of the area. The land manager and archaeologist also work collaboratively with Local, State and Federal agencies to achieve management objectives.
Consistent with AS 38.05.850, DNR issues miscellaneous land use authorizations for activities on state owned lands within the Tangle Lakes Archaeological District Special Use Area The most common land use authorizations issued in the SUA are land use permits and public access easements. Land use permits can provide authorization for commercial recreation activities, cross-country travel, large organized events, and trail works. Public access easements reserve state land for specific uses such as trails (motorized and non-motorized) and associated maintenance activities.
The Tangle Lakes Archaeological District Special Use Area (TLAD SUA) has three multi-use trails and one non-motorized trail:
Rusty Lake Trail (non-motorized): This .75 mile foot trail provides access to Rusty Lake. This trail is of low to moderate difficulty and has one creek crossing during wet seasons. This trail is currently impassible due to water, a new route is currently being determined. Thank you for your patience as we work to resolve this issue.
Landmark Gap Trail: This trail extends approximately 3 miles to the south end of Landmark Gap Lake. The trail is rocky and dry with one marshy spot with a solid, rocky bottom to facilitate crossing. This trail is located within the TLAD SUA and all non-motorized users should stay on the designated trail due to the archaeological sensitivity of the area.
Glacier Gap to Sevenmile Lake Trail: The trail extends 3.5 miles to the southern end of Glacier Gap Lake, continues approximately 5 miles to Sevenmile Lake and is fully encompassed by the TLAD Special Use Area. The trail crosses a large stream approximately .25 miles from the trailhead and traverses through the hillsides over rugged terrain affording visitors spectacular views of the landscape and wildlife. Portions of this trail are within the ADF&G's Clearwater Creek Controlled Use Area where hunting with motorized vehicles is prohibited.
Maclaren Summit Trail: This 8.4 mile trail provides access across the tundra at Maclaren Summit, opening up fantastic views. Portions of this trail are within the ADF&G's Clearwater Creek Controlled Use Area where hunting with motorized vehicles is prohibited.
State and Federal lands in the Denali Highway region contain at least 900 known archaeological sites. Many of these sites are thousands of years old and contain information of great scientific importance to our understanding of Alaska's prehistoric past. When the highway opened in 1957, it provided new opportunities for the public to enjoy the region's exceptional natural and scenic values. The highway has also provided access for academic researchers and government archaeologists, who have worked to understand and preserve the physical evidence of Alaska's prehistory.
The Tangle Lakes Archaeological District Special Use Area (TLAD SUA) contains one of the largest concentrations of archaeological sites found along the Highway corridor. Each year the DNR, Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation, Office of History and Archaeology assists the DNR Division of Mining, Land and Water in managing the area for maximum public access consistent with conservation of the district's cultural heritage.
Be an Alaska Heritage Defender
Archaeological sites are among the most fragile and non-renewable resources found in Alaska State Lands. Once destroyed, they are lost forever. Casual artifact collecting and erosion caused by off-trail ATV traffic are the biggest threats. In the TLAD SUA recreational users, including hunters and hikers, are the first line of defense for prehistoric site protection. Please do not collect or disturb artifacts.
Ride ATVs only on designated trails
Avoid pioneering new ATV trails
Do not collect or disturb artifacts
Know the Law
It is illegal to damage, destroy or remove archaeological materials on Alaska State Lands. Violations are punishable with both criminal and civil penalties, including fines up to $100,000 (AS. 41.35.200-215).
To learn more about Alaska's prehistoric heritage visit http://www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/oha
Maps and Brochures
Fish and Wildlife Habitat
The Tangle Lakes Archaeological District Special Use Area (TLAD SUA) is home to a wide variety of landscape ranging from mountains, glaciers, tundra, forests, lakes, and rivers. Each of these habit types help to influence the areas rich and diverse fish and wildlife populations. For more information on the different types of fish, birds, and animals found throughout the SUA visit the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Wildlife Viewing Guide on the Denali Highway.
Fish that are common to the many lakes and streams in the area include Lake Trout, Arctic Grayling, Dolly Varden, and Salmon. The TLAD SUA is a very popular hunting area for the Nelchina caribou herd as well as moose, ptarmigan, and grouse. You may also see grizzly bears, Dall sheep, fox, wolves, raptors, snowshoe hare, porcupine, wolverine, beaver, pikas, hoary marmot, singing voles, swans, loons, Arctic terns, and red-neck phalaropes.