Monday, July 21, 2014

Ketchikan, Salmon Capital of the World

From 2014 07 01 Ketchikan

Not that we saw any salmon. We were a few weeks early. But we were told that salmon by the hundreds of thousands will be swimming up Ketchikan Creek right through town by the end of July. That's what made Ketchikan a summer fishing camp for the Tlingit natives for thousands of years. Fishing is still a big industry in Ketchikan.

The modern history of Alaska is more a story of boom and bust. The fur and timber industry came and went. The wood pulp industry died out in Ketchikan when the big pulp mill closed in 1999. Tourism is the latest boom, with several cruise ships at a time docking in Ketchikan, doubling the town's population of 8,050 on a busy day.

Old Ketchikan is what the tourists come to see. The souvenir stores along Creek Street, actually a boardwalk built on pilings over Ketchikan Creek, occupy what was once the red light district during the gold rush of 1898. At several sites around town, Ketchikan has the world's largest collection of totem poles. During the 1930s Great Depression, with funding from the Civilian Conservation Corps, decaying totem poles were preserved and new ones carved -- a good example of a worthwhile outcome resulting from fighting recessions by creating jobs through government stimulus spending. That investment is still paying dividends today by way of tourist dollars and can be seen at Totem Bight State Historical Park.

More photos after the jump.

From 2014 07 01 Ketchikan

From 2014 07 01 Ketchikan

All photos from our day in Ketchikan can be seen on Google Photos.

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