The 2000 Census found a population of 22,000 in Eagle River, and an additional 8,000 in the settlements further north -- Chugiak, Birchwood, Peters Creek, Thunderbird Falls and Eklutna. Anchorage is a metropolitan city, primarily non-Native, with a history of cultural diversity. Many residents participate in nearby recreational and subsistence activities. Anchorage has over 162 parks, including 10 large reserves. Recreation facilities include downhill and cross-country skiing, ice hockey rinks, golf, swimming, and camping. The George Sullivan Sports Arena, Alaska Performing Arts Center, Egan Convention Center and many other facilities provide entertainment opportunities.
Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care
The Eklutna Water Treatment Facility supplies the Eagle River area water system which also has two production wells located in the upper part of the system. The mains are mostly cast iron and ductile iron pipe ranging in size from 2 to 24 inches. There is 500,000 gallons of storage in the upper part of the system. The Eagle River Wastewater Treatment Plant was expanded in 1991, giving it the capacity to provide for growth to the year 2005. It is a tertiary (three stage) treatment plant, and has a capacity of 2.5 mgd. It discharges an effluent nearing drinking water quality into Eagle River. Homes north of the Eagle River business corridor use individual wells and septic tanks. Matanuska Electric Association serves the area. Waste Management Co. offers refuse collection services for disposal in the Anchorage regional landfill on Hiland Road. Electricity is provided by Matanuska Electric Association. There are no state operated schools located in the community. Local hospitals or health clinics include numerous private clinics, Alaska Regional Hospital (907-271-1131), Providence Alaska Medical Center (907-562-2211), Alaska Native Medical Center (907-563-2662), and Elmendorf 3rd Medical Group (907-580-6260), a U.S. Airforce medical facility. Eagle River and Chugiak are classified as a highway town/sub-regional center. Both are found in EMS Region 2D in the Anchorage Region. Emergency Services have highway, coastal, air and helicopter access, and are within 30 minutes of a higher-level satellite health care facility. Emergency service is provided by 911 telephone service and volunteers Auxiliary health care is provided by Chugiak Volunteer Fire & Rescue (907-688-2686/907-522-1122).
Economy and Transportation
Anchorage is the employment center, and many residents of Eagle River, Chugiak, Palmer, and Wasilla commute for employment. Some military personnel, stationed at Fort Richardson and Elmendorf AFB, reside in the area. Eagle River is a service hub, and offers a WalMart, Carrs/Safeway, new Fred Meyer, Spenard Builder's Supply, retail and commercial services, dining, accomodations, bowling, movie theater, and ice skating rink.
Float planes land on Fire Lake, in North Eagle River. The Birchwood Airport provides a home base for private pilots. The State-owned Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and Lake Hood Float Plane Base, the Municipality's Merrill Field, and U.S. Army and Air Force facilities are nearby. The Port of Anchorage handles 85% of the general cargo for the Alaska Railbelt area. Several barge and trucking companies are available. The Alaska Railroad connects Anchorage to Seward, Whittier and Fairbanks.