Haines, Alaska

Jul 11, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Bird


Situated between the Chilkat and Chilkoot river valleys, Haines is a town dwarfed by surrounding mountains. Glaciers spill out from alpine ridges, pulled into a slow downward crawl toward the rivers below. Winds build, running the length of Lynn Canal, then split and diverge, carrying with them the storms and moisture they brought from the south. 

We found Haines shrouded in the mist and rain typical of the region. Whitecaps lapped against the cobbled and rocky shores. Group by group, we began to explore all Haines had to offer—flying over the massive fjords and mountains, cycling along rugged coasts and salmon streams, hiking up ridges above the sea, trying our hand at fly fishing for trout and salmon, and floating down braided glacial rivers. 

The community of Haines manages to balance the main two, juxtaposed economies of Southeast Alaska—commercial fishing and tourism. It’s rare to see both industries working in tandem to bolster a small community and support the seasonal economy. Many small towns in Southeast Alaska rely exclusively on seasonal work, whether it comes in the form of pulling nets and lines full of thrashing, silvery salmon or from introducing their true coastal wilderness to visitors. 

Despite the mercurial weather, Haines always promises adventure and unique Alaskan experiences. Garbed in boots and raingear, we experienced life in a real Southeast Alaskan town.

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About the Author

Tamsen Peeples

Naturalist

Tamsen was born and raised among the wild woods and shorelines of Juneau, Alaska. The ocean and mountains became an integral part of all aspects of her life, and she has never been far from either. Growing up in Alaska gave her a deep love of exploring the natural world and piqued her scientific curiosity at a young age.

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