The vast, sparsely populated Northwestern Alaska region lies north of the Yukon drainage basin and the Seward Peninsula. The gold-producing districts, which are in the southern part, lie in the Kobuk and Noatak River basins. In the late 1890's part of the horde of prospectors attracted to Alaska from the crowded Klondike fields discovered gold placers in the Kobuk River valley, and the rush that ensued culminated with about 800 men populating the valley (Smith and Mertie, 1930, p. 321). Activity declined in a few years, and these placers were never as productive as those in the neighboring Yukon basin. The Shungnak district in the Kobuk River basin is the largest producer in the region. Small amounts of placer gold were produced from the Squirrel Creek area and the Noatak River valley. Auriferous veins are known in the Shungnak and Noatak areas, but these are little more than prospects (Smith and Mertie, 1930, p. 336-339). Recorded gold production from the Northwestern Alaska region began in 1905. Total production through 1959 was about 23,000 ounces; presumably all production was from placers.