Tag Archives: travel

Wrangell – St Elias


Wild Alaska Salmon Day

It’s Wild Alaska Salmon Day and the cohos are starting to run. Grab those rods and get yourself out to your favorite body of water today!


Revisiting Kennecott

At its peak, the five mines of Kennecott: Mother Lode, Glacier, Bonanza, Jumbo & Erie, produced $32.4 million in copper ore in 1916. Between 1909 and 1938, Kennecott produced 4.6 million tons of ore and 1.183 billion pounds of copper.

The Kennecott mine and mill town were named after the Kennicott Glacier, which lies in the valley below the mine, although with a slight misspelling. The change is blamed on a clerical error.

The Alaska Syndicate, headed by Daniel Guggenheim and J.P. Morgan, had bought 40% of the Bonanza Mine from the Alaska Copper and Coal Company in 1906. Eventually, the venture turned public, and the Kennecott Copper Corporation was launched in April of 1915.

At its peak, 300 people worked in the mill town, and up to 300 more in the mines. A self-contained company town, Kennecott contained a hospital, general store, school, skating rink, tennis court, recreation hall, and dairy.

The Great Depression had driven down the price of copper, and by 1938, the quality of ore coming out of the mine had dropped. The final train traveled from Kennecott down the CR&NW rail line in November of 1938.

Deserted for decades, Kennecott was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986, six years after Wrangell-St Elias National Park & Preserve was established. Much of the old mill town was purchased by the National Park Service in 1998. Since then, NPS has been slowly stabilizing and rehabilitating several of the structures within Kennecott.


Walking the streets of Kennecott


Glacier through the alley


A view of Kennicott Glacier from an alley at the old mine

I found an old roll of black & white that I shot the last time I was out in the McCarthy area, hiking around the Kennecott Mines. I recently developed the film, so over the next few days I’ll share a few photos of that trip/hike.

Some of the photos are okay, some are just fair, but the old mine is fascinating, and I love heading out there. I do remember that the weather was absolutely wonderful, barely a cloud in the very bright sky, which isn’t always the best when shooting B&W.


Danger in Kennecott


Wild Alaska Live

A review:

PBS has a new three part series that started Sunday evening, called “Wild Alaska Live”. The premise of the show, is that producers have several “live” cameras distributed around Alaska, which they then broadcast. The show is a partnership between PBS and the producers of BBC Earth. Living in Alaska, I expect that none of it was actually broadcast live, but maybe it was somewhere.

The first episode centers around the salmon run, and camera footage comes from Tongass, Katmai and Kenai Fjords. I’m not sure who the Kratt boys are, but I assume that they do a kid’s show on PBS. They can be difficult to take, as they constantly wave their arms and talk to the camera like they are talking to a seven year old. Whenever they came into view, I wanted to grab their arms and duct tape their hands behind their backs. Early in the show, the Kratts were standing on a map of Alaska, trying to point out the locations of the cameras, and I found myself shouting directions at the TV, since they obviously had no idea where the Chilkat River was in the state.

Sigh…

From what I’ve seen in the first episode, the pre-recorded bits were the best, and the most informative. The show is worth watching for those parts alone. The footage is quite good, and simply seeing the incredible number of salmon in the streams will amaze viewers who are not familiar with our salmon runs. As for the Kratts, Alaskans will just have to suffer through, and hope that some young viewers get excited about Wild Alaska because of their antics.

The second episode airs on Wednesday.

WAL logo credit: PBS