Big Lake is a community on the shore of Big Lake, 13 miles southwest of Wasilla. The area encompasses 131.9 sq. miles of land and 12.9 sq. miles of water. January temperatures range from -33 to 33; July can vary from 42 to 83. Precipitatiion includes 14 inches of rain and 48 inches of snow.
Big Lake is far enough away from the Big City to offer the peace and quiet of country life, yet close enough to provide all the necessary and desired amenities. The community covers nearly 138 square miles at the west end of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley and has grown from a single homestead in the early part of the century into a bustling community of about 2000 full-time residents, including three-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser and his family. As a tremendously popular tourist and recreational area, 58% of the areas total housing are recreational units, resulting in large weekend and seasonal population increases as the area teems with people who have come to enjoy the many recreational opportunities. Big Lake is known as Alaska's Year-Round Playground.
Most residents are employed in Anchorage, Palmer/Wasilla, or at businesses serving the community. There are several lodges on the lake to support summer recreational boating and fishing activities. Unemployment is relatively low. Six residents hold commercial fishing permits. Big Lake Road is accessible from mile 52 of the George Parks Highway. A State-owned 2,435' long by 70' wide lighted gravel airstrip and float plane dock are available. Several boat launches and a marina support recreational water craft.
Early inhabitants were the Athabascan Dena'ina Indians. Around 1899, the Boston and Klondike Company made the first sled trail north into the Talkeetna Mountains from Knik via Big Lake. Homesteaders in 1929 and after World War II settled Big Lake. Materials were transported from Pittman railroad station over eleven miles of rough trail. By 1959, a number of lodges and several children's camps were operating on the lake, and at least 300 cottages and camps were owned by individuals. Lake-front lots became accessible in the 1960s and 1970s, with the expansion of roads and power.
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