Scenic USA - Alaska

Chichagof Island

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Chichagof Island, Alaska

Photos by Meri Cheatham
Brown bear photo by Tom Blanford

   Chichagof Island, named after Russian Admiral Vasili Chichagov, Coastal Brown Bear with Silver Salmon - AK is located just off the coast from Juneau in the Alaskan panhandle. The town of Hoonah (village by the cliff), lies in the northeast corner of Chichagof Island, with a resident population of 900. Known for its bears, the island is one of the largest in the United States and has a reputation for highest population of coastal brown bears per square mile of any place on Earth.
   Feeding the bear population and humans as well, salmon fishing was once a leading industry on the island. Native Tlingits have enjoyed rich fishing grounds along the Icy Point Strait for centuries, but now the Natives rely mostly on tourism. The Hoonah cannery no longer processes fish, Harbor Scene - Hoonah, AK but greets cruise ship passengers. The fully restored facility guides visitors through the processes of entire salmon industry, and even helps visitors ship home a canned t-shirt as a souvenir.
   Pictured here is a coastal road leading to Hoonah. At one time, larger cannery trucks and loggers had made it mandatory to convert the tunnel here into a passage. Summer fun for these locals includes a rope swing on the cliff face. After gliding out over the water, they then jump off into Glacier Bay. Water is still chilly in late summer, and swimming here is just a quick dip.

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