Point Baker, Sumner Strait

Point Baker, Sumner Strait

by | Mar 1, 2019

Point Baker is an island on Sumner Strait, separated from the northwest tip of Prince of Wales Island by a narrow water passage. This channel is also the location of the small community of Point Baker, Alaska. The community is about 142 air miles (229 km) south of Juneau and 101 miles (163 km) northwest of Ketchikan and is accessible only by floatplane and boat.

Point Baker was named in 1793 by Captain George Vancouver, after the Second Lieutenant on his ship Discovery. At that time, a Tlingit fish camp was well established here and used for trade and subsistence fishing. A floating fish packer came to Point Baker to buy fish in 1919, and trade continued in this fashion until the 1930s when the U.S. Forest Service opened the area for homesites. During the 1920s and 1930s, up to 100 tents lined the harbor, occupied mostly by salmon hand trollers. The first store was built in 1941, and a post office opened in 1942. In 1955, Point Baker was withdrawn from the Tongass National Forest.

Today the Point Baker bar and store also serve as the fish buyer, and the main economic sector is still fishing. Most of the fishermen in Point Baker are salmon hand trollers although a few are power trollers and gillnetters. A landmark lawsuit by residents of Point Baker was brought against the U.S. Forest Service in 1975 to stop the planned clear-cutting on 400,000 acres (161,874 ha) on the north end of Prince of Wales Island. Read more here and here. Explore more of Point Baker here:

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