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Cooper Landing, Alaska

Where the Kenai River meets Kenai Lake, a miner named Joseph Cooper found gold in 1884. He was lucky, because a Russian engineer had already figured there would be gold there is 1848, while the land still belonged to Russia. “Landing” means that the only way people got to the Kenai in the early years was by sea or along the rivers. Pat and Helen Gwin came early, in 1948, and started a tiny business selling dry goods out of a tent. In 1950 the Sterling Highway punched through, and the Gwins graduated to a log-built facility, which is Alaska’s oldest log structure and still operates today. Not far from that spot, the magnificent, unspoiled Kenai wilderness awaits your exploration.