Ketchikan, Revillagigedo Island

Ketchikan, Revillagigedo Island

by | Feb 1, 2019

Ketchikan is a community and port of entry on the north shore of Tongass Narrows, on the south coast of Revillagigedo Island, Alaska. The city was established when a cannery was built on Ketchikan Creek in 1887. The town became a major supply center during the Alaska Gold Rush in the late 1890s and the Ketchikan post office was established in 1892. The city was named for Ketchikan Creek that now flows through the town. The name “Ketchikan” comes from the Tlingit name for the creek, Kitschk-hin, the meaning of which is unclear. In modern Tlingit, this name is rendered as Kichx̱áan. Ketchikan is now a transportation hub for Southeast Alaska and a principal tourist destination that offers many onshore excursions including flightseeing trips to Misty Fjords.

Revillagigedo Island is about 50 miles (89 km) north-south and 35 miles (48 km) east-west. The island is separated from the Alaska mainland to the east by Behm Canal, from Prince of Wales Island to the west by Clarence Strait, and from Annette Island to the south by Revillagigedo Channel and Nichols Passage. The island is a traditional Tlingit territory, and by the 19th century was divided between the Saanyaa Ḵwáan and Taantʼa Ḵwáan people.

The first recorded European to sight the island was Spanish explorer Jacinto Caamaño in 1792. It was named the following year by Captain George Vancouver for Juan Vicente de Güemes, 2nd Count of Revillagigedo, then viceroy of New Spain (Mexico). The only cities on the island are Ketchikan and Saxman, although the community of Ward Cove and the historical community of Loring are also on the island. The principal island industries are fishing and fish processing, logging, and tourism. In addition to the cities, several logging communities are based on barges, which move about the waterways. These serve the unconnected system of logging roads that dot the island and have access to the waterfront. Read more here and here. Explore more of Ketchikan here:

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This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2019 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The colour scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

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