The primary economic activity along the river has always been fishing and fur trapping. Moreover, subsistence fishing for whitefish and salmon supplies a mainstay of the Yup’ik food along the river. The economic source of placer gold was found in 1901 in Aniak. Mineral output in the region has come chiefly from scattered placer gold resources that until 2004 had generated a total of 3 and half million troy ounces of gold.
The primary route of the Iditarod Trail travels the Southern Fork Kuskokwim River in the Alaska Range and then reaches the chief stem of the river around McGrath.
The Kuskokwim River is the 2nd most prominent drainage in the region of Alaska. The glacially turbid mainstem is about 900 miles long. And, it is coming from the interior sources of the shadows of the Alaska Range and Kuskokwim Mountains. The Kuskokwim River travels southwestern to the Bering Sea.
The sparsely inhabited Kuskokwim watershed features population hubs at Bethel, McGrath, Aniak, and several communities along its length. The Kuskokwim is a remote place in Alaska. People usually go by plane to the three previously stated hubs. There are no highways, except within the villages and cities on the Kuskokwim.
The fishery management is classified into Upper and Lower Management Areas in the Kuskokwim River basin. The Lower Kuskokwim have the tributaries of the Eek, Aniak, Kisaralik, Tuluksak, Kasigluk, Kwethluk, and nearby waters of Kuskokwim Bay. The Upper management region contains all bodies of water upstream of the River Aniak, notably the George and Holitna rivers and several small streams.
There are more than twenty fish species native to the Kuskokwim River Drainage. All of them were found inside the Lower Kuskokwim. Sport anglers typically coho (silver) salmon, fish for Chinook (king), pink (humpy) salmon, chum (dog) salmon, sockeye (red) salmon, Arctic grayling, lake, trout, rainbow trout, Arctic char, sheefish (inconnu), Dolly Varden, burbot, Northern pike. Sometimes, anglers catch cisco, whitefish, humpback, broad whitefish, and round whitefish.
The kinds of fish found in the Kuskokwim River are not attacked by sport fishermen, including lake chub, Alaska blackfish, longnose sucker, Arctic lamprey, and slimy sculpin.
1. Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race
If you travel in the period of January, you may be lucky enough to watch the legendary Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race.
The race runs three hundred km from Bethel to Aniak and return. The entire race will last less than 19 hours from beginning to end. But the week before the marathon is an opportunity to relax too. There are events throughout the week, and you may get to meet the sled dogs before they complete the race.
2. Cultural Centre and Museum
It is found in the same building of the University of Alaska, Kuskokwim Campus Library. This museum features a permanent exhibition that presents numerous exhibits, including clothes, home goods, and hunter-gatherer equipment—all used by the inhabitants of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta from olden history till the contemporary day. Two other galleries present short exhibitions, mainly native and local artwork from the region.
3. Bird Watching
If you are a passionate bird watcher, you will adore the fantastic sites to see all types of birds in Bethel. You can view birds like the emperor, shorebirds, tundra swans, seabirds, white-fronted, black brant, and even cackling geese.
The wildlife refuge is an interesting breeding area for more than a hundred million shorebirds who come upon each summer. But there are other native species that you may observe year-round. You can take excursions with local specialists to show you the most delicate areas to watch the birds based on the period you arrive.