Tanana Valley Fisheries Center to be opened early June

first_imgThe state plans to open its Tanana Valley Fisheries Center in Fairbanks on June 7. The visitor’s center will realize a long envisioned public interface at the new hatchery.Download AudioThe Tanana Valley Fisheries Center is the final piece at the Ruth Burnet Sport Fish Hatchery. The $46 million state hatchery ran well over budget and behind schedule due to water treatment issues. It finally began producing fish in 2012, and 4 years later the visitor’s center is nearly ready. Hatchery manager Gary George said it will give the public a window on the operation.“It has a 10,000 gallon aquarium in the center of the space, and then it has viewing windows where you can look out on the culture floor.”The sprawling high tech hatchery operation behind the glass is a stark contrast to the state’s first sport fish rearing facility: a log structure on Birch Lake.  George said the visitor’s center includes a scale model of the vintage hatchery.”Inside will have replica production tanks, hopefully very similar to what they used at Birch Hatchery from the late 50’s all the way up to early 1960’s,” George said.Public outreach and education are part of Ruth Burnet Sport Fish Hatchery’s mission, and a visitor’s center is required under its borough land lease. The Tanana Valley Fisheries Center briefly opened in 2014, but offered little to visitors.Terry Thompson is the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Sport Fish communications and outreach coordinator.”We had a large empty room,” Thompson said.Thompson has worked to develop the center, a project he says has lagged for lack of state funding. Thompson credited a $17,000 donation from the Fairbanks North Star Borough with enabling outfitting of the facility.”We constructed the old Birch Lake hatchery,” Thompson said. “We have enhanced our video selection. We will be installing some panels that would house interpretive text.”Thompson said the state recently funded a position to staff the center.“Somebody that can interact with the public, welcome them, answer questions provide limited tours through the public spaces,” Thompson said.Tanana Valley Fisheries Center is scheduled to open June 7th, and operate Tuesday through Saturday through the summer season. Thompson adds that the center will also provide sport fishing information and loaner gear.last_img read more