SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


By Jerry Cegelske


January 24, 2011
Monday PM

I think that for most of us, our idea of Ketchikan is formed in many ways by the sights we see around us as we go about our daily routine.  How many people have the scenery that we have as we drive into town from North or South Tongass?  Compare that with Seattle or L.A., what a difference!  Eagles are a daily sight.  Then there are the killer whales that seem to have become more plentiful over the last few years.  Think of the killer whale sightings that have been reported on the radio in years past.  Reports would come in about the latest location.   People would be pulled over along the highway and at pull outs, looking at the pods as they swam past.  This summer I was surrounded by about 90-100 killer whales in 10-12 different pods while on my boat as they transited the waters east of town.  The friends from out of town were impressed by them even though some of the pods were a half mile away.

Then, on more rare occasions, we get a glimpse of the humpback whales as they feed off Pennock Island, or Mountain Point, and then there is Clover Pass in October 2009- what a sight for those that were there at the time.  Unfortunately I missed it but was shown some of the pictures friends took.  A local photographer took a photo of them that was an Alaska Airlines photo contest winner.

It is sights like this that attract people to our community and keep them here despite the climate and weather we endure.  Come to think of it, there are places that are more climatically challenged than Ketchikan.

I have been around Ketchikan for a few years but don’t claim any records for it.  I wonder what the annual turnover of residents is as a percentage.  That is a concern as our population has dropped since the pulp mill days.

I know that we have lost two needed dental professionals over the last two years.  Then there is the loss of doctors at the hospital, and losses of professionals in other career fields.  It makes it difficult to attract other people to a town which is losing the professional people needed to keep us well and healthy.

Some of my daily work affects how people see Ketchikan.  Groups from the U.S. Coast Guard Base and vessels have been instrumental in helping clean up South Tongass (several times), Revilla Road (several times) and other volunteers (including businesses) have helped clean up along the road system.  You would think that we would have it spotless with all the time and effort that has been put in cleaning up the roads and ditches.  Unfortunately that is not the case.

In many ways, and many times, I have tried to see Ketchikan through the eyes of a first time visitor.  Last year I stopped in town while aboard the cruise ship Infinity and did get to see a different view of Ketchikan from a visitors’ eye.

Now I would like to take you on a tour of some areas of Ketchikan that would really impress a first time visitor.  How would you react to the question of whether you would want to stay in Ketchikan after viewing the following sights?  What is your “visitors’ eye” reaction?  How can we expect people to want to live here when they expect a beautiful Alaska and come face to face with reality?  This is my Ketchikan.

Jerry Cegelske
Ketchikan, AK

About: Jerry Cegelske is a Code Enforcement Office with the Ketchikan Gateway Borough.

Received January 19, 2010 - Published January 20, 2011


4524- Solid waste dumped on Borough property off Revilla Road.

4525- More solid waste dumped off Revilla Road

4526 Car and engine parts dumped off Revilla Road

4531- Burned hide-a- bed frame and couch body

4532- engine block and ironing board dumped along Whipple Spur

4533- material dumped off Whipple Spur Road.  A $200.00 citation was given to the individual who was identified from the solid waste.

4535- material dumped off Whipple Spur Road.

4537- toilet dumped at mile 15.5 N. Tongass

4118- material dumped off Revilla Road

4120- Material dumped off Revilla Road on Borough property

4130 Members of the Local AARP Chapter have just finished cleaning up the trash pictured in 4118 and 4120 off Revilla Rd.

4133- Local AARP Chapter President Ed Zastro talks with Assemblyman Alan Bailey and AARP President W. Lee Hammond after cleaning up trash on September 14, 2010.

 3774- U.S. Coast Guard men from the base electronics shop continue their annual tradition of helping clean up Ketchikan on S. Tongass

3779- A small amount of the trash collected by the electronics shop as part of their “Earth Day” cleanup.  THANKS GUYS!




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Ketchikan, Alaska