By Vicki Heisser
Prince William Sound College student Kaylee Rodriguez is pictured during a hike at Tangle Lakes Archaeological District. The hike was sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment (WISE). This is just one of the many exciting adventures that Kaylee gets to participate in this summer. Kaylee is a BLM Outdoor Leadership Intern and she helped organize and provide safety during this hike. Through this internship opportunity, Kaylee is getting exposure to careers in natural resource management and incredible experiences in the Alaskan wilderness.
Tangle Lakes Archaeological District (TLAD) is located along the Denali Highway between mileposts 17 and 37. This area is rich in historic and prehistoric remains and has more than 600 archaeological sites with artifacts. Carbon dating tests have helped identify four different cultural traditions: Denali Complex, nearly 10,000 years before the present (BP), Northern Archaic Tradition, 7,000 years BP, Athapaskan Tradition, 1,000 years BP and the Historic Period, 200 years BP.
The Tangle Lakes Archaeological District was accepted to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. This register recognizes historic properties that are significant in telling our nation’s story. The Archaeological Resources Protection Act and other laws prohibit collecting or damaging artifacts or historic properties.
To protect environmentally sensitive areas and our historic heritage, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have designated 9 trails open for off-highway vehicle (OHV) use within the Tangle Lakes Archaeological District.
(Information written above is from the Tangle Lakes Archaeological District Information Guide and Trails Map 2016 brochure)
According to John Jangala, Bureau of Land Management – Alaska Glennallen Field Office Archaeologist, “This stone was used by people, way back in the day, to create tools of all kinds.”
“When they were sharpening tools, like a biface knife, they were creating the prehistoric version of a Leatherman.”
A maintained hiking trail is also accessible within Tangle Lakes campground.
View above Tangle Lakes
John Jangala, BLM GFO Archaeologist explains how the Tangle Lakes were formed over 7,000 years ago.
Present day, the Tangle Lakes (Long Tangle Lake, Lower Tangle Lake, Round Tangle Lake, and Upper Tangle Lake) are a 16-mile long chain of lakes connected by streams in interior Alaska. They form the headwaters for the Delta River
For Kaylee and everyone that hikes through the TLAD, it is a place to explore and learn about the past. It is also a place to enjoy incredible outdoor activities such as: fishing, boating, camping, mining, hunting, snow machining, berry picking, photography, and so much more.