Icy Strait Point, Alaska
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Are you looking for an authentic Alaska experience? Welcome to Icy Strait Point. Nestled in the wilderness on the north end of Chichagof Island, you’ll find the historic village of Hoonah and it’s refreshingly non-commercialized port.
The village of Hoonah was originally settled by the Tlingit tribe known as the Huna. Legend tells advancing ice pushed them from their original home on the shores of Glacier Bay. With the steep cliffs of Elephant Mountain as a backdrop it’s easy to see where the town’s name came from, “village by the cliff” in Tlingit language. Located at the confluence of Icy Straits and Port Frederick the village is the largest native settlement in Alaska and has roughly 900 full time residents. The population has a strong commercial fishing and logging background, with most of its inhabitants maintaining a subsistence lifestyle today.
Icy Strait Cannery (built in 1912 and operated until 1953), once one of the state’s most productive salmon canneries has been restored to its original glory and transformed into the cruise ship port, Icy Strait Point. It is owned by the Huna Totem Corp., the Native Village Corporation for Hoonah, and is the only privately owned cruise ship port in southeast Alaska. Created to not only give visitors the opportunity to experience the “real Alaska,” it also provided a much-needed alternative source of income for locals affected by a downturn in their traditional businesses of fishing and logging.
During its first full season in summer 2004, Icy Strait Point welcomed only 36 cruise ship calls. The Huna Totem Corp has wisely chosen not to go overboard. Only one ship at a time is permitted. This allows you to have a more relaxed experience than you might in Juneau or Skagway, where several ships might be visiting on the same day.
What they've created is an attractive new destination expressly for cruisers that's man-made but not commercialized. You’ll enjoy shore excursions that focus on the outdoors. Within minutes of disembarking you can be off searching for brown bears or humpback whales, dropping a line for salmon or halibut, learning the art of filleting and barbequing fresh wild Alaska seafood, or getting a bird’s eye view of the area from a small fixed-wing plane or the world’s longest zip-line cable ride.
Unlike other ports that are sprawling and full of activities, this port is small and everything tends to be within walking distance. Up-market craft shops feature artisan crafts and locally made goods like woodland berry jam and confectionery. Local restaurants cater to the rustic feel of the area and offer a decent variety of fresh fish and hearty meals. There are clearly marked trails that traverse the seashores and into the forest. Buildings are constructed from sustainable local woods and were built by local Tlingit Indian workers in traditional style.
Despite the port development, Icy Strait Point and the village of Hoonah, have managed to remain rustic, unpretentious, and quiet.
Hoonah has a cool, temperate marine environment. Summer temperatures average 52 to 63 °F; winter temperatures hover around freezing. Precipitation averages 100 inches annually, with 71 inches of snowfall. Pack your rain gear, the weather tends to be mild but quite damp.
You’ll be tendered into the dock at Icy Strait Point Cannery. The immediate area is easily explored on foot and nowhere is further away than a 10 to 15 minute walk.
What time is it?
Hoonah has up to 19 hours of daylight during the summer months and as few as 6 hours during the winter. Hoonah is in the Alaska Time Zone which is one hour earlier than Pacific Time and four hours earlier than Eastern Time.
As part of the continental United States, English is universally spoken.
How to pay
U.S. currency is used and accepted, as are all major credit cards. Local sales tax is 6.0%
Where's the money?
ATM’s are available at the Alaska Pacific Bank Building located on Hill Street downtown and in the Tideland Tackle Building across from the inner harbor.
Staying in touch
The Post Office is located at White Alice Site Rd & Garteeni Hwy.
Internet Access is available in the following locations: the library at the Hoonah High School located at 366 Garteeni Highway, the Ace Hardware Breezeway located at 147 Front Street and the The Office Bar located at 151 Front Street.
Just in case
Hospital - Hoonah Medical Center, staffed with a Nurse Practitioner, is located at 568 Raven Drive and can be reached at (907)945-3235.
Police - For nonemergency business, call (907) 945-3655.
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