Chugiak (pronounced (t?u gi Šk) is a small neighborhood community in the Municipality of Anchorage in Alaska situated approximately 25 miles to the northeast of Anchorage and approximately 7 miles from Eagle River. Knik Arm lies to its northwest and the Chugach Mountains to its southeast. Its population of nearly 7,000 is spread out mainly along the Glenn Highway. It has several small airstrips and shares its school system with the Birchwood and Homestead communities. Most of its citizens work in Anchorage or Wasilla.
The meaning of the word Chugiak comes from the Athabascan language meaning 'place of many places'. The Eklutna Indians are a nearby Athabascan settlement established hundreds of years before adoption of Russian influence, as seen in the colorful Spirit Houses erected over gravesites. The ocean laps up the Knik inlet to the edges of the town of Chugiak, with some of the highest neap tides in the world in its wake. Chugiak was settled in the 1950's principally through its site along the Alaska Railroad from the Matanuska Valley (developed as part of the Homestead Act by farmers from the Lower '48, as one of a richest agricultural regions in Alaska), to Anchorage, the hub of the Alaska Railroad. Chugiak residents boast of typical outdoorsy lifestyles; a bicycle trail runs more than 25 miles from Chugiak to Eagle River to Anchorage, and the Chugiak members of the Alpine Ski Club hosts annual ski trips along trails to Russian Jack Springs in Anchorage.
Web Sites and Links
Ultimate RiversCustom floatfishing tours: Alaska, Kamchatka, Russia.
Women Pilots of AlaskaSite for the book by Sandi Sumner; includes author's profile, book signing schedule, and links to purchase the book.