Crow Creek Acoustic Series Highlights New GVT Route
“Hike up. Maybe stay for dinner and music. If you feel like it, take a bus ride down.”
– Mine Ops. Mgr. Nate Williamson
By P.M. Fadden
Turnagain Arm heritage hub Crow Creek Mine announced expanded summer offerings and eased accessibility courtesy of collaboration with Girdwood public transit.
The Mine’s historic location, along unpaved Crow Creek Rd., unveils summer long weekly Salmon Bakes and live music, events directly connected to valley accommodation via Glacier Valley Transit’s [GVT] newly added and free of charge ‘Gold Route.’
The evening held Salmon Bake and Acoustic Music Series, running June 5 thru August 28 from 5:30-8:30 p.m., are Monday night indoor, outdoor socials featuring fresh menus before local and visiting musical talents.
GVT ‘Gold Route’ intends additional, free public transit to connect current 40 minute valley loops with Crow Creek Rd. destinations. Service, running June 1 thru August 31, spans 10:20 a.m. til 5:40 p.m. (T-R) and 11 p.m. (F-S).
“Collaboration motivation comes in two parts,” explained 10-year Mine Operations Manager Nathan Williamson. “Either visitors arrived to Girdwood to visit [the mine] but had trouble getting to us or had hiked to us, were to their physical limits, and didn’t know how to return.”
“On top of that,” said Williamson, “the Mine has become a very, very busy special event destination in Alaska, hosting about one hundred days out of our year.”
“There’s a need for transportation for those people,” he said.
Growing needs of an expanding business led Williamson and mine administration to originally explore private vehicle purchase for the purpose of client transportation.
“This year, Crow Creek Mine was exploring purchase of its own transportation,” said Williamson. “But we prefer, before making such decisions, to understand who or what locally might be similarly interested. If there are interested parties, as in the case with GVT, how can we, together, extend local services and ideas for the benefit of all?”
“It’s not about establishing business,” Williamson affirmed. “The mine wants to assist in opening the valley to visitors in a safe, less impactful way.”
To create the new public transit line Crow Creek Mine, alongside a fiscally restructured GVT, pursued option for funding which utilized added federal grant monies.
“Crow Creek Mine put forward a funding percentage,” said Williamson, “but Gold Route is not a mine shuttle.”
“The federal government matched monies to create public transportation that added exposure opportunity for the whole Girdwood Valley upon that route, the mine is just a stop. At the mine, there will be a bus stop. Down at Girdwood, there will be a bus stop.”
Additionally accessed along new GVT routing to connect Crow Creek Mine with New Girdwood Townsite are several trailheads, including popular Winner Creek Trail and its historic hand tram.
With commencement of GVT Gold Route, tourist as well as residential populations may experience the annually high draw sites by either hike or local, free public transit.
“Connected to the developing public transit network, the mine is hosting a schedule of events we’re calling Salmon Bake and Acoustic Music Series,” said Williamson. “In fact the first Series date, June Five, is also a fundraising evening with proceeds returning to GVT.”
That historic Crow Creek should spice summer offerings with food and music is a matter of course to the musically incline management.
“Well, I’m a musician,” Williamson shrugged while smiling. “I firmly believe there should be all styles of music everywhere.”
Series evenings follow community first, family friendly formatting. Entertainment begins early, seating is outdoor (weather permitting), food is accompanied by non-alcoholic beverages. A BYOB invitation is extended and packages combo-pricing guided gold pan outings are also available.
“It’s not about making money. Myself and Crow Creek Mine wanted to create a social music opportunity that’s family oriented on a week day that works for us and, hopefully, is a nice option for guests,” said Williamson.
Current Acoustic Series menu lists Cedar plank Sockeye Salmon, slow smoked Pulled pork, grilled chicken with rhubarb chutney, corn cobs, three bean bake with egg plant and asparagus, vegetarian quinoa, wild berry cupcakes, child’s dishes and fresh baked sourdough bread to side.
“We’ve got a great, fine-tuned menu, and I really like our chef,” said Williamson. “With that, we pair fantastic musicians already running around the state and entrance into the Mine.”
“So, at $34 dollars per adult and $16 dollars for children 3 to 12 yrs, it’s a great deal.”
“Acoustic Music Series isn’t about profits,” It’s just one of these things that we feel strongly about offering.” said Williamson. “And for years people have been calling the mine asking, “How do I get up there?”
“Wouldn’t it be great to host our visitors with this entertainment–and by free public transit as well?”
GVT’s “Gold Route”
Runs June 1 – August 31, 2017
Crow Creek Mine Departure(s):
Tuesdays thru Thursdays, 10:20 a.m. til 5:40 p.m.
Fridays thru Mondays, 10:20 a.m. til 11 p.m.