Eagle River starts at the terminus of Eagle Glacier and flows northwest for about 40 miles (64.5 km) to Eagle Bay, about 9 miles (14.5 km) northeast of Anchorage, Alaska. The Denaʼina name for the river was “Yukla-hina” according to the U.S. Geological Survey in 1898. The name Eagle River was first reported in 1939.
The river flows through the community of Eagle River, then through an extensive tidal marsh called Eagle River Flats, and into Eagle Bay on the eastern shore of Knik Arm. The community of Eagle River is along the Glenn Highway, on the north bank of the river, and about 13 miles (21 km) northeast of Anchorage. The area was settled by homesteaders and prospered on agricultural activities. The town was annexed to the Municipality of Anchorage in 1975 and has since become an important suburban community for Anchorage and Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson.
Eagle River Flats is a 2,140 acre (866 ha) estuarine salt marsh at the head of Eagle Bay and located on Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson. Beluga whales gather in Eagle Bay between May and November and have been observed in Eagle River from June to October chasing fish up to 1.25 miles (2 km) upstream from the river mouth. The Cook Inlet population of beluga whales experienced dramatic declines between 1994 and 1998 and in 2008 were listed as endangered. The U.S. Army has used Eagle River Flats as an artillery impact area since World War II and it currently remains crucial for training and maintaining military readiness. The presence of an endangered species within Eagle River Flats presents unique challenges to resource managers charged with balancing the conservation of natural resources with the training needs of soldiers. Read more here and here. Explore more of Eagle River Flats here: