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Murphy Dome Trails

1970s to 1980s

Name of Ski Area: Murphy Dome Trails, Murphy Dome Airstrip, Lincoln Creek Subdivision
Location: On and in the vicinity of Murphy Dome, approximately 18 miles northwest of Fairbanks.
Type of Area: Cross Country Ski Trails
Dates of Operation: 1970s to 1980s
Who Built It?: US Air Force (landing strip), Floyd Reishus (trails), Developer (subdivision roads)
Elevation:

~2000'

Facilities: None
Miscellaneous: Areas on and near Murphy Dome have been used as early season training sites by Fairbanks cross country skiers.  Murphy Dome was once An Air Force AC&W (Aircraft Control and Warning) Long Range Radar Station, a camp that supported over 100 servicemen.  This base, built in 1951, was originally shared with the US Army for their Nike missile defense system.  Today this site supports a scaled down, minimally attended Long Range Radar Station.  In 1984 the current radar was brought on-line to replace the original large radar station complex, much of which has been razed.  More information on skiing at the Murphy Dome AFS can be found here.

A landing strip, which was long enough for a Hercules C-130 cargo plane, was used for early season skiing in this area, along with a trail system laid out by Floyd Reishus.  Both of these venues are now overgrown.  The nearby Lincoln Creek Subdivision roads were used for ski training during the fall of 1983 before any houses were built here.

Sources of Information:

John Estle

Photos: Does anyone have pictures of cross country ski training on Murphy Dome (or current pictures of the vicinity) that they would like to contribute to ALSAP ?

~  MAPS & AERIAL VIEWS  ~

This topo map, from 1975, shows the location of Murphy Dome in relation to Fairbanks.

(click on this map to expand it)

topo_murphydome.jpg (240278 bytes)

A zoomed in topo view of Murphy Dome shows the site of the old landing strip next to the road, to the southeast of the summit.

(click on map to expand it)

topo_zoom_murphydome.jpg (202708 bytes)

Research Correspondence 

[John Estle - October 18, 2004 email excerpt] 

There used to be a skiable airstrip near the top of Murphy Dome that we trained on in the early-to-mid-80's when snow was slim in town.  It's too overgrown to ski at this time.  Used to be able to land a loaded Herc up there.

In the mid-to-late-80's Floyd Reishus laid out a CC trail up on Murphy Dome.  It, too, has become overgrown.  In Fall '83 we skied on the Lincoln Creek Subdivision roads before there were houses on the roads.

[Web search - http://www.radomes.org/museum/alaska.html excerpt] 

"Murphy Dome and Fire Island became operational in September 1951 as control center sites. They were followed by King Salmon (control center), November 1951; Tatalina and Campion (ground control and intercept), April 1952; Cape Lisburne, February 1953; Cape Romanzof, Tin City, and Northeast Cape (all surveillance sites), April 1953; Indian Mountain, November 1953; Sparrevohn, March 1954; and Cape Newenham (surveillance), April 1954. Additional surveillance sites were later added. Kotzebue and Ohlson Mountain (near Homer) became operational in February 1958, Middleton Island in May 1958, Unalakleet in April 1958 and Bethel in July 1958. Fort Yukon became operational as a ground control intercept site in April 1958. ...

"... The surveillance sites at Bethel, Middleton Island, and Ohlson Mountain were closed on 15 May 1963, leaving a void in the radar coverage to the south. Headquarters Alaskan Air Command, and, to some extent the Alaskan Command, provided command and control until the reactivation of an AC&W control group in 1977.

 

 

Do you have further information, stories or pictures that you would like to contribute about this ski area?