GEORGE INLET LODGE
George Inlet Lodge rests on the shores of the spectacular George Inlet waterway! This picturesque lodge is accessible by road 15 miles south of Ketchikan.
As a former cannery bunkhouse, it was built in the 1940s and primarily housed the upper echelon of commercial fishing employees–ship captains, managers, and owners. After the cannery’s closing in 1970, two local businessmen, in an epic undertaking, had the lodge jacked up from its foundation and lowered onto a log raft. Towed for over 90 miles, the log raft crossed the waters of the Inside Passage from Hidden Inlet, located in the Portland Canal.
It is nothing short of miraculous that the 40 x 70 foot, hundred-ton, the three-story structure survived the relocation intact. Since the pivotal year of 1974, the lodge initially operated as a sport fishing retreat. The rustic yet elegant atmosphere of the George Inlet Lodge will surely provide you with a memorable experience on your visit to Alaska.
GEORGE INLET PACKING CANNERY
Seafood is one of the most valuable resources in the state of Alaska . It was the salmon fishing that was the beginning of Ketchikan in 1887. After the fishing season, most inhabitants would leave and would not return until the next season.
It was the technique of canning that made the abundant Alaskan salmon available to the nation and the world since the fresh catch could not be taken directly to the market from such an isolated place. Opening in 1914, the George Inlet Cannery packed fish most years until 1927. In 1934, the main cannery was rebuilt adding a diesel engine, but closed during World War II.
After the war, it reopened and operated until 1958. Fishing remained the economy’s mainstay and this cannery was one of seven, that combined to produce almost two million cases of salmon each year. The cannery reopened in 1996 as a historic landmark , and is still used as warehouse and fisherman’s gear and net storage.
THE OLD MAHONEY MINE
Gold Fever brought the first miners to Ketchikan in hopes of “striking it rich” in a less crowded terrain. Although some gold was discovered, most of the mines produced less profitable finds…minerals. In 1904, Joe Mahoney, a Norwegian immigrant, prospected for gold near the shores of George Inlet. He discovered lead and zinc deposits and became the first to mill commercial production of zinc concentrates in Alaska. In 1942, the property was restaked and mined till 1949. In 1970, Lloyd Martin and William Basey started mining a lead-silver-zinc vein possibly on this property.
Because production of the mine is unknown, the question lingers, was one cent of profit turned for all their labored efforts? The mine has since closed leaving a visible old short mine shaft with its overhead stoop and rusty sawmill.
MAHONEY BIGHT & WATERFALL
Mahoney Falls is just one awesome stop on this adventure. The impressive falls offer excellent photo opportunities of the “breathtaking” Alaskan wilderness. Mahoney Bight is a natural salmon run and beginning in June throughout the summer, you can witness thousands of salmon as they run in and out of the bight with the tide. In 1954, when the salmon runs were extremely low, the United States Forest & Wildlife Service equipped a group of 45 enforcement officers to patrol a twelve mile stretch of water as stream guards to prevent illegal fishing. This action proved instrumental to the huge returns of salmon to Mahoney today.
Today the salmon runs have returned in full force and this natural spawning ground also produces a feeding ground for all kinds of Southeast Alaska wildlife…eagles, black bears, gulls, seals… which in turn attracts… killer whales and fishermen. The bight teems with pinks, chum, and sockeye salmon by the thousands.
Ketchikan is located in the middle of 17 million acres of Tongass National Forests. Timber crews once logged spruce and white pine using high-lead yarding to spar trees.
The logs were swung to the beach by skyline or moved by Caterpillar tractors on rough roads built into the woods. Only 3% (636,000 acres) of the Tongass National Forest was available for actual timber harvest over a one hundred year period. Since passing the roadless initiative, logging has been shut down in the Tongass National Forest.
Our premier Dungeness Crab spawning ground is a tidal estuary home to a wide array of shore birds and waterfowl as well as larger mammals. The island once operated as a fox farm, but eventually became a log storage ground in 1944. With predominant features of grass and mud flats, in 1960, the tidelands were leased and operated as an oyster farm. This Eco-system provides a perfect haven for abundant wildlife and towering forests.