Tanana (tănˈənô) [key], river, 600 mi (966 km) long, rising in W Yukon near the Alaskan border and flowing NW across Alaska to the Yukon River; navigable for small boats to Fairbanks, the largest city on the river. The Tanana valley, near Fairbanks, is central Alaska's chief farming area; grains, potatoes, and other vegetables are grown. The Tanana, explored by Russian traders c.1860, became an important route to the Yukon goldfields in 1898. A section of the Alaska Highway runs parallel to the river.
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