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

Borough to install signs at cemetery


April 27, 2023

Several American flags and a small wire fence were damaged by the apparent snow machine that drove across the cemetery.

Borough staff are working to post signs at the Jones Point Cemetery after residents alerted them to what appeared to be snow machine tracks that had driven over graves and caused minor damage to graveside decorations.

Bill Archer told the CVN on Monday that he hopes the borough will install cameras and signage after he discovered in early April apparent snow machine tracks over his wife's and others' graves at the cemetery.

"It went right over my wife's grave," Archer said, who said he contacted police and borough staff about the issue earlier this month.

Several American flags over graves had been snapped and a small wire fence around Archer's wife's grave was bent over. Archer posted photos on the Facebook group Haines Chatters last week. Photos show several tracks over graves including Lucy Harrel's, which contains a bench several feet high.

"Whoever it was, the turns they took, they weren't going super fast, but they're lucky," Archer said. "If you have soft snow your front runners can hit something and flip that machine. Not only is there a danger of damage to property, there's a danger of someone getting hurt."

Archer said he's talked to various residents about the issue, and they hope to have discussions with borough officials and staff about how to prevent something like this happening again in the future.

"Maybe if we get enough people together, we can go to the borough and come up with some ideas," Archer said. "This is something people need to come together on. I'm thinking the best thing is a webcam and warning signs out there."

Borough manager Annette Kreitzer reviewed photos of the cemetery this week and spoke with the police chief and public works staff about the issue. She addressed assembly member Cheryl Stickler's concerns about the issue during Tuesday's regular assembly meeting.

"I know there's a great call for cameras out there. We can't have cameras out there that we can monitor because we have no infrastructure out there to be able to do that. I did ask our public works folks to purchase some signs that say no unauthorized vehicles. We'll be posting those," Kreitzer said. "It's an unfortunate incident. I don't know what would possess someone to do such a thing."

Kreitzer said she hoped whoever drove the snowmachine through the cemetery would apologize to the affected families.


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