Alagnak River Lodge History
In July 1979 the four lodge founders camped 10 miles upriver on the Alagnak River. They were impressed with the fishery. They had fished at other lodges in Alaska, but the fishing on the Alagnak was the best they had seen. They were less impressed with the camping, having to fight mosquitoes and always looking out for bears, so they decided to set up a more permanent camp so they would have a place to stay and fish. They decided a tidal water location was best so they did the research and ended up with a lease on a 10 acre just upriver from the present location. They had decided by this time to build a lodge rather than a camp, and loaded a barge in Seattle with building materials, boats, motors and generators. With a crew of 14, construction started in May that year and was completed in time for the first guests to arrive on July 4th, 1980.
In 1984, with fishermen now heading to the Alagnak River in numbers, Van Hartley established Branch River Air Service, and has been flying guests to the lodge ever since. In 1992 a survey found that the lodge had been built in the wrong place, not quite on the land that was being leased. As the solution, the land that was leased was purchased and the lodge was moved to its current location. This monumental feat was accomplished in the fall and spring and included bringing the lodge up to all the then current building codes.
In 1996 the current owner started the purchase process and started managing the lodge. Since then improvements and upgrades, such as staff quarters, upgraded infrastructure, new boats and a new dock have been made each year so now the lodge is well maintained and up to the standards of today’s adventurer traveler while remaining true to its roots as a fishing camp.