About This Site

COPPER RIVER COUNTRY JOURNAL Bringing news to the people of the Copper River Valley that's relevant, helpful and real  Copper River ...


Bringing news to the people of the Copper River Valley that's relevant, helpful and real 

Copper River Valley (Photo, Neil Hannan)
Original Welcome: March, 2020

The goal of the Copper River Country Journal Web Edition is to give you a place you can get help, ideas and local information.

Resource For Copper Valley People
The purpose of this website is to provide a resource for people of the Copper Valley, which they can view at any hour of the day or night. Its object is to present practical information. The Journal will try to provide understanding of the current situation, and local sources of help and inspiration. It's important for us to know what's happening and where we can go for help.

The United States, and all of us who live here in the Copper Valley, are undergoing a medical and economic test of faith and character.

This challenge is something we must all work together to address. It starts with getting good information about what is happening locally around us, and what we can do to help each other.

The Copper River Country Journal's Web Edition will do its best to provide current information, but we realize that the situation is moving faster than anyone can anticipate.

This Site Welcomes Your Input
The Journal welcomes letters, photos and input from families and organizations. However, unmonitored general "Comments" or anonymous letters will not be allowed on this site. This site is not a forum for debate or national politics. The Copper River community must work together. With your help, we can hopefully make this website into a useful tool during this crisis.

What Was The Country Journal?
The Copper River Country Journal was a print magazine published in Gakona from 1986 to mid-1999, with a print run of just under 2,000 copies. It was mailed free of charge to every resident of the Copper Valley and outlying communities.

The Country Journal's purpose was to introduce people to each other through photos and stories. The Country Journal also discussed events and problems in the Copper Valley. Its goal was to bring the community together to solve many of the issues faced by all rural, thinly populated, spread-out regions.

The Journal embraced and celebrated the Copper River Valley's high level of volunteerism, and championed organizations, people and efforts to move the Valley in a positive direction.

A Background in Journalism 
Small-town journalism has been a huge part of our lives. Before coming to Alaska, Linda was editor of a small-town Michigan newspaper, The Oxford Leader. 

The paper won first place in General Excellence for a newspaper of that size in the state of Michigan. Linda also received a Michigan Press Association award for photojournalism, and an award for an extensive photojournalism interview and photo portraits of elderly Oxford World War I soldiers who had been subjected to lethal nerve gas by the Germans years before.

Arriving in Alaska in 1974, Linda began freelancing for the Anchorage Times, publishing many stories – including about Talkeetna, homeschooling and even a Palmer-Wasilla monk who sold wine that he made out of dairy milk.

In the spring of 1975, after moving to Gulkana-Gakona, the stories shifted to life in the Copper Valley. It was the time of the Pipeline, and within a few days, printed stories emerged in the Anchorage Times of struggles the region had dealing with overcrowding of schools, high costs, overworked staff at Faith Hospital – and a lack of adequate local housing. There were other stories, too, including a favorite: A story of how Keith ("Jean") Murray of Kenny Lake raised goats, built a log home that cost less than the cabin built by Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond – and made holes for the rivets in his barrel stove by shooting them through the steel with a gun.

The efforts of the Copper River Native Association to promote Native language and culture were also a theme. Major Ahtna elders, such as Ruth Johns and Millie Buck were highlighted, and their important work was shown to the rest of Alaska. 

As the years went by, stories and  photos of local people and places continued in the Anchorage Times, but also in other Alaska newspapers, including The Alaska Advocate and the Tundra Times. 

Meanwhile, Jeremy worked as a state park ranger, writing tourism information on bulletin boards and whole Copper River Valley sections for the Milepost and Fairbanks Daily News Miner. And Linda worked in administration and as the grantwriter for the Copper River Native Association.

In 1986, the first Copper River Country Journal, print edition, was launched. That same year, the very first Copper Valley travel publication, the Northcountry Companion Travel Guide, was published. The Companion eventually became known as the Bearfoot Guide.  

Staying Tough & Working Together
None of us expected to be spending the lovely Alaskan spring of 2020 in this manner. Nobody thought we'd be "hunkered down" at home, trying to avoid an epidemic, of all things. 

We've lived in the Copper Valley since 1975. Because of our journalistic background for this region and our writing experience, we decided to undertake this effort. Hopefully, it will help the Copper Valley stay tough and work together.

Linda & Jeremy Weld
Gakona, Alaska  

Message: October, 2021

It's over a year and a half since we began the Copper River Country Journal in its new digital format. 

Coming back to the story of our community has been exciting and meaningful for us after all these years. We hope you enjoy our work. 

We appreciate the input and assistance from various organizations, especially the Copper River School District and the Copper River Native Association, as we strive to highlight  the Copper Valley's successes, history and challenges once again. 


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All rights reserved. Contact us at 907-320-1145 or write: Linda.ncountry@gci.net