By Anita Hales
February 22, 2006
I thoroughly enjoyed the recent article in Sitnews by Mr. Kiffer
about the tunnel and the 1950's in Ketchikan. There are some
parallels with what happened to Ketchikan then and the happenings
Even as Ketchikan has seen
changes in its economy in the past, we will continue to see them.
As the fishing industry declined, it opened the way for the
timber industry. Then in 1997, Ketchikan was doomed to lose
another industry, the timber industry, only to be replaced by
the Tourism industry.
I expect that in time, we will
develop other economies. Who knows what they will be.
But as with all changes, people balk at them. I'm sure fishermen
didn't want to see the changes that diminished their industry.
Likewise, it was painful to lose the Pulp Mill and all it offered
Ketchikan. There are many who'd like to see us go back to those
Tourism is a bird of a different color. Some of its benefits
to the community are obscure but everybody can see the jaywalkers
and gawkers. Downtown has changed for many reasons. I believe
it would be starkly vacant without the plethora of tourist shops.
The main economy of local Ketchikan has moved to the west end
and it probably would have happened with or without the tourists.
So, I wonder if people complained
about construction of the Pulp Mill. Did they complain about
the construction of the numerous housing projects it engendered?
I suspect there have always been complainers.
Now we complain about tourists
and cruise ships. But these very things are keeping our taxes
down and paying for other things indirectly such as non-profit
organizations and schools who receive grants from the city and
We may not see the benefit
directly as we saw with past industry, but it's there. That doesn't
mean we have to roll over and move out of the way for tourism
unencumbered. The dock project is a good beginning. It will
change the face of downtown and some of it is good and some is
bad. There are compromises. Contrary to the opinions of some,
there has been some thought directed at solving some of the complaints
of locals. We need to continue in the direction we have taken
with caution. Keep some of Ketchikan for Ketchikan and allow
others to savor its uniqueness.
Ketchikan, AK - USA
About: "I have been a resident of Ketchikan since 1965.
I raised my 5 children here and plan to stay here all my life.
I've worked in many local business including the visitor industry
as a tour guide. Having attended many local meetings recently
in conjuction with my current job, I've changed my mind about
some of the issues mentioned in my letter."
Boom Town, Ketchikan in the 1950s By DAVE KIFFER - The years immediately
after World War II were lean ones in Ketchikan.
While the Depression had had
less of an effect here than elsewhere in the country, the economic
boost of the war years had artificially supported the local economy.
With the end of the war, it became obvious that the dominant
industry - the canned salmon industry - was in sharp decline
and as the fishing industry waned so did Ketchikan. - More...
Monday - February 20, 2006
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