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

Tell the assembly to keep the pool open


April 21, 2022

On June 22, 1974, the entire Sullivan family – parents Patrick and Mary Lou and children Shaun, 13, Nyla, 12, Desiree, 10, Harlan, 9 and Corbet, 5 – died after their small boat overturned in Lutak Inlet. None could swim.

The tragedy launched a town-wide effort to open a year-round swimming pool in Haines. The pool opened on April 29, 1982.

The Haines Borough manager is again pushing to close the pool three months, May 8 to Aug. 1. The Haines Borough School District has given $12,500 to keep the pool open, so the borough would only be funding eight months of pool operation.

Ironically, the pool is more popular and heavily used than ever, offering swims and programs for users of all kinds, from kayakers to elderly residents needing exercise or injury recovery therapy. Pool rentals are at an all-time high. The Friends of the Pool are making contributions including lifeguard instruction equipment and lifeguard scholarships.

The pool was built to save lives and it has succeeded gloriously. Since just 1999, swimming and life-saving skills learned or honed at our pool saved the lives of at least eight residents and one non-resident, including: three survivors of the Becca Dawn fishing disaster in 1999, three survivors of the Mackowiak plane crash in Lynn Canal in 2015, two survivors of the Alaska Seaplanes crash near Coughlin Island in 2017 and a California surfer saved last summer near Anchorage by a Haines lifeguard.

Contact your assembly members. Tell them to keep the pool open.

Tom Morphet


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