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Big Lake Chamber Of Commerce

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PO Box 520067
Big Lake, AK 99652
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Big Lake Chamber Of Commerce

Big Lake lies at the western end of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, for many centuries the home of the Dena'ina Indians of Cook Inlet in South Central Alaska. Building a sophisticated maritime culture, the Dena'ina also hunted, trapped and traded. In 1834, the Russians established a mission at Knik, just a few miles south of Big Lake on Cook Inlet, converting the Indians to Christianity and trading with them and through them with the Indians in the Interior. Contact with "civilization" was disastrous for the Dena'ina, however, as smallpox ravaged their numbers.


When gold was discovered in 1890 to the north of Knik in the Susitna area and after in the more easterly Willow Creek, Knik became the supply depot for all the miners working the many claims & mines and - conversely - the point of departure for the gold on its way to smelting. Many heavily used supply trails fanned out from Knik, one of which passed on the eastern end of Big Lake and another being the famous Iditarod Trail, which carried people, dogs, supplies and mail as far away as the gold fields in Nome. The Iditarod passes two miles south of Big Lake.

Herman Gronwoldt, the first person to homestead (1916) at Big Lake, had been a gold prospector in Alaska for 15 years when he decided to settle on the eastern end of Big Lake, near the supply trail running from Knik and about 4 miles from the railroad being constructed from Anchorage to Fairbanks. For the next 30 years or so, he lived alone on Big Lake, fishing, trapping and raising mink. He supplied cured fish to dog mushers, transporters using the trail and railroad workers. He probably also supplied a little hootch.


In 1944, Oscar and Beda Anderson homesteaded on Fish Creek, the outlet of Big Lake. During the earlier years, visitors and fishermen came to Big Lake - mostly by small plane. But the Andersons got to their homestead first by walking from Wasilla, 13 miles away, then by using a tractor trail brushed out by Oscar. Their business was called Sunset Park.

By the end of the 1940's, a few other homesteaders joined Gronwoldt and the Andersons, and when in the early 1950's a road was put through, a flood of fishermen and recreationists poured forth onto the shores of Big Lake. This was just after World War II and many military people chose Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley for their new home. Big Lake became Anchorage's playground. With wonderful fishing, 50 miles of shoreline and many islands all in the spectacular setting of the mountain-fringed Mat-Su Valley, Big Lake was a recreational paradise.

A Small Community

Homesteading continued and in the 1950's, Big Lake took on the aspect of a small community with a quonset hut school, gas station and general store, a church and several marinas, lodges and bars serving the visitors to the lake. Electricity came in 1953 and telephones in 1955. Activities based on Big Lake ranged from summertime features such as a regatta with speed boat races and Miss Alaska contest, sail boat races and excellent fishing to wintertime sports involving dog mushing, snowmobiling and ice fishing. By the year 2000, Big Lake has grown to around 2000 people, but the essence of the town remains centered on recreation on the lake, both summer and winter.


In the first week of June, 1996, another major page in Big Lake History occurred - the Miller's Reach Fire. Starting several miles north of Big Lake, it consumed 37,000 acres and 433 structures before it was contained. Fingers of fire went through Big Lake and the surrounding areas, destroying property and land in an unpredictable, patchwork pattern. Many Big Lake residents and their close neighbors lost homes and in some cases their means of livelihood. That did not stop the community from pulling itself together; homes are being rebuilt and businesses have reopened. The Community of Big Lake is back on its feet & BIG LAKE IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS!!

The Big Lake Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary partnership between business and the Big Lake community, designed to create and help sustain a healthy economic base for Big Lake, Alaska while improving the quality of life in our community. Our membership harnesses the great potential of the local economy and enables member businesses to accomplish collectively what no one could do individually. Your Chamber is a group of businesses and professional people working together to make Big Lake a better place to live and work.

Great Member Services

>>Advertising in the Chamber office (rack card, brochure, etc.)
>>Global Marketing on the Chamber Website
>>Listing and link in the Online Member Directory
>>Targeted advertising opportunities in Chamber newsletters
>>Cooperative advertising opportunities with Chamber media members
>>Political input at all levels of government on issues that affect your customers and bottom line
>>Consumer and business referrals
>>Member Mailing Lists and Labels for direct marketing
>>New business welcoming at Grand Openings and Ribbon-Cuttings
>>Networking opportunities to promote your business
>>SPOTLIGHT opportunities to promote your products or services at luncheons and in newsletters
>>Chamber Luncheon Meetings and Chamber Newsletters keep you informed of trends, issues and opportunities
>>Sponsorship opportunities promote your business at Chamber special events

Membership Fees

Click here to join!
Click here to update your information!

Your annual membership begins in January and ends in December for each calendar year for which you register as a Chamber Business, Nonprofit, or Individual membership.

-->Chamber Lifetime - $1,000
-->Chamber Business - $150
-->Chamber Nonprofit - $100
-->Chamber Individual - $50

Lifetime Members include Beech Construction, Ernie & Donna Brannon, McGhan Construction, Pat Grosse, and our newest Lifetime Member, Jolt Construction & Traffic Maintenance we thank them all for their generous support!

Please contact the Big Lake Chamber of Commerce for additional information. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.


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  • Big Lake Chamber Of Commerce - Community & Recreation - Chamber of Commerce - Big Lake Photo
  • Big Lake Chamber Of Commerce - Community & Recreation - Chamber of Commerce - Big Lake Photo
  • Big Lake Chamber Of Commerce - Community & Recreation - Chamber of Commerce - Big Lake Photo
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