Bear Creek White Alice Communications Site

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Bear Creek White Alice Communications Site (1958-1979) - A Cold War U.S. Air Force Communications Station, a part of the Alaska White Alice Communications System (WACS). Located 9 Miles Northeast of Tanana, Alaska. The site system ID was "BCC".

After HF radio systems proved inadequate for command and control communications in Alaska, the Air Force implemented the White Alice Communications System (WACS). This was a system of tropospheric scatter and microwave radio relay sites constructed during the mid-1950s and 1960s to provide reliable communications to Alaska Air Command (AAC) AC&W radar system. The system came to encompass facilities for the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line and the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) in Alaska. While some of the WACS microwave sites remain active the WACS tropo sites were closed circa 1979 as communications technology rapidly changed to embrace communications satellites.

This site was built between 1956 and 1957 and was officially activated on 6 Jan 1958. Original Facilities included a 7,200 square-foot equipment and power building and a 5,200 square-foot 16-person dormitory. Two pairs of 60' billboard tropo antennas and a pair of 30' tropo dish antennas were connected into the equipment building. The 30' antennas operated at 1 kW each while the 60' antennas operated at 10 kW each. A single 60' antenna weighed some 15 tons.

Bear Creek WACS was a Tropo and Microwave station linking Indian Mountain, Kalakaket Creek, Pedro Dome and locally the town of Tanana. One pair of 60’ tropo antennas faced Kalakaket Creek (155 miles) and a second pair linked Pedro Dome (130 miles). A pair of 30’ dishes linked Indian Mountain (75 miles). There was also a microwave link to the Tanana FAA.

In addition to the primary military circuits, the site also provided access to long distance telephone services for the local community at Tanana.

The specific links from Bear Creek WACS (BCC) as/of July 1977 were:

  • TR1 Tropo to Pedro Dome (PJD) (130 miles) 2-60' Tropo Billboard Antennas
  • TR1 Tropo to Kalakaket Creek (KKK) (155 miles) 2-60' Tropo Billboard Antennas
  • TR1 Tropo to Indian Mountain (UTO) (75 miles) 2-30' Tropo Billboard Antennas
  • VHF6 Microwave? to Tanana (TAL) (9 Miles)

This site was closed in 1979 as the major White Alice terminals were replaced by Alascom satellite terminals.

Site Cleanup

From the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Spill Prevention and Response Database:

The Bear Creek Radio Relay Station was constructed in 1956-1957, and operated between 1959 and 1979. Soil contaminated by PCBs discovered in 1983, and vandalism of transformers caused oil leakage in 1984. Approximately 300 gallons of PCB fluid removed from site in 1981. Cleanup of PCB contaminated soil performed in 1984, 1985, and in the mid-1990s. Other possible contaminants include petroleum products, and halogenated/non-halogenated solvents of unknown quantities. EPA ID#AK4570028619. Archived file 780.23.001 not found. Possible road oiling in Tanana with oils containing PCBs. Statements in project file regarding occurrences of rashes from road oil and cancer. 100 square feet of soil cleaned up to <15 ppm PCBs in 1985. Vandalism, 1985 cleanup, and presence of solvents unsubstantiated by information in file. State has selected land. IRP site SS004. No groundwater present on site. The site is well drained, therefore surface water and sediment are not considered present. Formerly the surface soil on the west side of the equipment building was contaminated with PCBs at very high concentration. Several cleanups performed in the 1980s and 1990s removed this contaminated soil. Subsequent surface and subsurface soil sampling conducted during the Remedial Investigation did not document any contamination that exceeded cleanup levels. There is unlimited access to the site by people and wildlife. Local residents are known to frequent the area, and moose droppings have been found within 10 feet of the spill area. The site is assigned a HIGH overall risk on the Air Force Relative Risk Evaluation Worksheet dated 9/11/95

Current Status

The site has been demolished.

Location: 9 Miles NE of Tanana, Alaska.

Maps & Images

Lat: 65.25356 Long: -151.92398

  • Multi Maps from ACME
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  • Elevation: 1,604'

GPS Locations:

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