Skagway AK

It's A Bit Like Polishing A Turd

Jan 18, 2018 by Brenda Wilbee
Downtown Skagway AKSKAGWAY ALASKA has a housing issue. This town of 900 year-round residents live in a  paradise hamlet just a few blocks wide and twenty blocks long. Snowy mountains rise straight up to the east and west. This narrow valley almost immediately begins to pinch down from four blocks wide to three to one to a tight squeeze that zig-zags up the Klondike Highway to the summit of White Pass and into the Canadian Yukon beyond. A town conceived, birthed, and sustained by the Gold Rush of 1897/98, it’s a tourist Mecca. Almos t1,000,000 people will pass through here before the summer’s end and it takes an influx of 1,500 “summer staffers” to man the plethora of jewelry stores and adventure getaways, everything from necklaces carved from woolly mammoth tusks to helicopter rides out to the glacier fields to 4-wheeling up to Yukon glaciers. Where do all us “summer staffers” reside for the five months of the “season?"