SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Last Visit to Alaska
By ML Dahl


August 29, 2006

Regarding the letter from Peter James, the former Alaska tourist who promises never to return, I have some salient comments to offer.

Those greedy Alaska communities who want to tax the tourists provide real Alaska towns, populated with real Alaska residents, who provide real Alaska adventures that cannot be duplicated anywhere else in the world, no, not even by Disneyland.

Alaska towns, via their municipal governments, must build, repair and maintain the infrastructure that supports the visiting tourists. Without roads, streets, public restrooms, clean water, public information kiosks, city-funded public museums, fish hatcheries and eagle rehab centers, bridges from which to fish and gawk, street guards to protect the walking tourists, a fine hospital to treat the sick tourist, pristine and undeveloped scenery and, oh yes! docks for the big cruise ships to tie up to, there would nothing for the tourist to see or do.

Give me a break, Mr. James; how much wear and tear do you think is done to a little Alaska town of 8,000 people when nearly a million tourists disembark from cruise ships every summer to fill our streets? How well would your town fare if your population exploded by 125 times itself in a couple of months? I imagine your town or state would have to figure out a way to pay for the wear and tear on its own infrastructure, too.

Alaska is able to provide $1,000 to every full-time Alaska resident because Alaska has been smart enough to set aside most of the money it receives for selling her own oil and has invested it for dividends which are shared with Alaska residents. If California was as smart, she would have been more careful in developing her own resources instead of spending herself into bankruptcy.

Yep, Ketchikan is that place where the bridge to nowhere has been proposed and if we could have built if for a million dollars it would already be a done deal. However, it is important to correct the perception that the purpose of the proposed bridge was to get to the airport or connect 50 people on Gravina Island to the town of Ketchikan. In fact, most of the people on Gravina Island emphatically do not want to be connected to Ketchikan. That s why they moved to the island in the first place. The purpose of the bridge was to open up Gravina Island for development. Without land on which to develop industrial, residential and recreational areas, Ketchikan, as the center of southern Southeast Alaska, cannot grow. Greedy entrepreneurs that we are, we want to work and build businesses, employ people, pay taxes and see our communities grow and prosper.

I am sorry that you do not plan to visit Alaska again, Mr. James but then, I am not planning to visit California again either, so I guess it is a wash.

ML Dahl
Ketchikan, AK - USA

About: "A certified financial planner, business owner, writer, sailor and dog-lover living in beautiful Ketchikan, Alaska who has been here long enough that I am no longer a cheechako. "


Related Viewpoint:

letter My last trip to Alaska By Peter James - Coronado, CA - USA



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