SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


One lifestyle is not better than the other



June 08, 2015
Monday PM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - It’s funny how a stretch of water can mark such a drastic difference in lifestyle.

jpg Jeff Lund 

This, of course, is drastic within the context of still being wild southeast Alaska.

We’re not talking about taking the IFA Ferry from Hollis and three hours later docking in Ft. Lauderdale.

But to be sure, there’s a difference between the denizens of Ketchikan and the communities on Prince of Wales Island.

Ketchikan is drenched in the tourism industry while island communities are soaked in what might be mistaken for apathy. Not much has changed in Klawock or Craig since I graduated from high school. However, Thorne Bay and Coffman Cove have undergone pretty drastic transformations, though they are far from sprawling boomtowns.

As is the case throughout southeast Alaska, one way is not better than the other. Variety and individuality are why people like to visit – to see what they don’t live on a daily basis.

It’s the road system that makes Prince of Wales unique, and also prevents consolidation. In the same way that residents of Ketchikan might differentiate between north-ender and south-enders, you’ll never mistake Thorne Bay for Hydaburg, or Coffman Cove for Craig.

On Prince of Wales, you can get your truck out and heat its tires in search of deer or steelhead on a spur, of the spur, off the logging road that you took a left on, after you went straight at the north T, which was about twenty minutes after the Control Lake T, which used to be The T before the roads were traced in bold asphalt.
That isn’t some hidden message about a good spot to shoot a buck or find a fish, but you could probably find a couple of spots that could match that description on a map.

People like where they live for what it is, even if what it is might be on the way to something the old-timers never intended. It’s all a matter of perception.

Ketchikan is a rat-race, (Seattle is another planet) and POW is nowhere.

That’s how many residents of POW like it. It’s nowhere rather than somewhere.

Others want the secret out, so southerners will bring their bills.

You have to make a living somehow, right?

I do hear people rail about the annual deer massacre that takes place on POW. The shores are invaded and the roads choked with hunters from elsewhere. Can’t blame them. The getting is good in nowhere, so people go there.

I love living in Ketchikan, but I also love nowhere. And I get it. I feel like I’m getting more protective of my old haunts, which of course is ironic since I write about them.

People don’t move to nowhere in an effort to populate it, to tip it over so that it spills into a new category of size. They want to be a part of it, not ruin it.

We moved up in 1986, and though I feel like I have dual citizenship of both Ketchikan and POW, I don’t live on POW. I’m not there all the time. I’m a seasonal who just happens to live three hours away and get to see the best of both worlds and hear the friendly gibes fired across Clearance about the lawlessness of POW and the soul of Ketchikan being in the shape of the Princess logo.

But that makes things fun. Because even though each thinks his or her side is better, they’d both offer the softest classroom carpet to the other without hesitation.
Just like the rest of southeast Alaska.







Jeff Lund ©2015

Jeff Lund is a Teacher, Freelance Writer, living in Ketchikan, Alaska
Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @alaskalund
Contact Jeff at Email –

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