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




You can work off some of your Thanksgiving feast with a walk around town Friday.

It’s the biggest shopping day of the year, and a chance to get out, see your neighbors and spread some holiday cheer.

Businesses around town are offering sales through the Chamber of Commerce “Doorbuster” promotion. A list of the special offers and times was published in last week’s CVN. Stop by the newspaper office Friday at Third and Main to pick up a copy.

Shopping at home is your strongest vote in our community’s future. Cast it.


One winter about 15 years ago, the fire department flooded the lot behind the fire hall in an effort to create an ice rink. The resulting slab wasn’t much for skating but the idea of a rink persisted. A few years later, the Southeast Alaska State Fair and City of Haines made an agreement for a rink under Payson’s Pavilion: The city compensated the fair for the space – formerly rented for winter vehicle storage – and fair volunteers maintained a tiny rink there.

Volunteers have since moved the rink to Raven Arena and enlarged it, adding life-sized perimeter boards and regulation hockey goals. Donations from the Haines Borough and Alaska Power and Telephone brought an ice-free water source and lights.

On Sunday, more than a dozen adults were playing there at noon, and at 2 p.m ., about 30 youngsters and parents were out on the ice. It’s encouraging that most of those at the fairgrounds Sunday weren’t skating here 15 years ago.

A new generation has discovered the ice – and they’re taking their children along. That bodes well for our community, its young people and, perhaps one day, a regulation rink.


The Haines Borough’s idea for a sauna at the Haines pool is a great one for several reasons.

As a relatively inexpensive addition ($5,000-$7,000), the sauna likely would pay for itself in a short time by bringing new customers to the pool. You don’t have to be Scandinavian to appreciate that barring a trip to Hawaii, nothing beats back the wet and cold of a Southeast winter like a spell in a hot, dry box.

Perhaps more importantly, the sauna would increase use of the swimming pool. There’s constant tension at the pool between competitive swimmers, who like the water temperature cool, and youths, recreational and therapeutic users, who aren’t exerting themselves as much and prefer water a few degrees warmer.

Other communities bridge this gap by having two pools, including a smaller, warm one. A sauna solves the same problem by allowing pool users to get good and hot before their dip. That makes a cool pool feel just fine.

For a relatively small cost, a sauna would improve the physical and mental health of residents and bring in more revenues to help fund the pool. Let’s get it done.


I recently shopped with family at the public fish market in Sydney, Australia. My sister-in-law brought along a list of fish to avoid, either because they were farmed or from fisheries that aren’t sustainable.

A surprising number of good-looking fish flunked the healthy-choice test.

Here in Haines, the Chilkat River is home to five species of wild-run, all-natural salmon. How well those runs are faring depends on whom you ask, but clearly they’re not strong enough to support the local fishing industry. Hatchery-raised fish provide most of the fleet’s income.

Wild salmon runs are nature’s ATM. As long as we don’t mess them up, they will dispense cash – in the form of nourishing, sustainable fish – long into the future. Recent concerns about the effects of Haines Highway widening on salmon habitat were appropriate and prudent.

The history of human development is that wild fish runs shrink as people come into contact with them. We have never “overprotected” them. It’s fallacious to think that’s happening here.

-- Tom Morphet

slab wasn’t much for skating, but the idea for a rink persisted. A few years later, the Southeast Alaska State Fair and the City of Haines entered into an agreement to create a rink under Payson’s Pavilion. The city compensated the fair for revenues it otherwise would receive from storing cars under the pavilion, and fair volunteers maintained a tiny rink there, where hockey players shot into plywood boxes and a local “Winter Olympics” was born.

Skaters and fair officials have since expanded the rink and moved it into Raven Arena, adding regulation hockey goals, life-sized perimeter boards and a heated water source. On Sunday, more than a dozen adults were playing at noon. By 2 p.m ., more than 30 youngsters and parents had taken over the ice.

It’s encouraging that of all the people I saw at the rink Sunday, none were from the cadre of skaters who played at Payson’s Pavilion that first year. A new generation is on the ice – with their children. That bodes well for our community, our young people and, perhaps one day, a regulation rink.