by Shauna Lee
March 30, 2004
Yes, there are a lot of jewelry stores here that close up shop when the last ship leaves, but the majority of tourism related businesses have no store fronts or gaudy signs. There are mom & pop charter boat companies that struggle to get through the Ketchikan winter with fishing. There are locally owned buses and trolleys that have to be maintained here - with local dollars - 12 months of the year. There are float plane pilots that spend more time in the hangar than in the air, keeping their plane maintained until business picks up in May. These are my co-workers all year round! We own homes here, buy our food here, send our children to public schools, pay our taxes, and pinch our pennies through the winter together.
I am extremely proud to work in this industry beside some of the brightest and best that Alaska has to offer. We are the face of Alaska to tourists that come off those ships every day. Visitors are smart enough to look past the shiny signs and gaudy store-fronts - they know that you won't find the real Alaska in a tanzanite ring or a cut rate diamond. Give visitors some credit! You find the real ALASKA with those salty dog charter boat captains, free-spirited float plane pilots and bobby-sock wearing tour guides that have made Ketchikan the amazing place it is.
We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world! Ketchikan is rich with culture, history, art, and unique people. I for one am proud to share it with thousands of people and feel very fortunate that I can make a living doing it. And in the process I support grocery store clerks, waiters, teachers, policemen, and yes.....doctors.
Perhaps you should take a stand
against tourism Dr. York, and not accept patients who pay with
with tourism dollars. I think you'd find yourself with a lot
more free time to enjoy the real Ketchikan. The one that I can
clearly see beyond the sparkling signs and store-fronts.
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