Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966




January 27, 2011

Ice creepers always seemed to me designed for the elderly or feeble. Then I fell last week three times on a single trip home. Aging, they say, is about coming to grips with one’s limitations. My new cleats were $30 off, with a coupon available at the police station. The Haines Fire Department Association provides the coupons. Call the police station 766-2121 to get yours.


It’s not uncommon to underestimate how much value a place will hold for future generations. At one time, California’s giant sequoias would have been sold to the highest bidder, but people with foresight stepped in. Decades ago, residents with vision helped create state parks on Chilkoot Lake and Chilkat Inlet. Today, no one could win an argument that we’d be better off with trophy homes occupying those spots.

A picture of Fort Seward taken from Picture Point – the emblematic photo of our community -- graces the cover of the new Alaska Power and Telephone phone book.

To make sure we can still appreciate that view and get that photo – without trespassing, straddling Lutak Road or owning an expensive camera with a long lens – the people of this valley must find a way to bring the Picture Point pullouts into public ownership.

Contact your borough leaders on this issue now.


To us kibitzers watching from below, the Coast Guard’s rescue of Keith Hutchins seemed long and laborious. It turns out there were very good reasons it took time. Once when the chopper pulled away from the peak, it was for a look at the five-mile-long mountain from a distance, to tease out an approach.

Life in rural Alaska tends to reward generalists, people who can do many different jobs passably. One sparkly facet of the rescue was watching a team of highly-trained specialists do a single, precise job exactly right. Here in the land of duct tape and the jury-rigged fix, we don’t always get to see that.


If it’s like the last joint meeting of Haines and Skagway elected leaders about a decade ago, an assembly visit across the canal Feb. 7 will result in a nice lunch, agreement that our two towns hold many issues in common, and not much else.

That would be a shame. Haines and Skagway could learn a lot from each other. A more meaningful relationship might involve a monthly phone conference between mayors to discuss common issues, explore joint actions and learn what each other is up to. If this relationship is important enough to spend money on, it should go beyond, "Let’s do lunch."

-- Tom Morphet