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Alaska Cruises Skagway, Alaska (SKAG-way)
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Current Population: 968 (2010)
Borough Located In: Municipality of Skagway Borough
Taxes: 3% Sales October-March 5% Sales April-September, 8% Bed

Location and Climate
Skagway is located 90 miles northeast of Juneau at the northernmost end of Lynn Canal, at the head of Taiya Inlet. It lies 108 road miles south of Whitehorse, just west of the Canadian border at British Columbia. It lies at approximately 59.458330° North Latitude and 135.313890° West Longitude (Sec. 11, T028S, R059E, Copper River Meridian). The area encompasses 452.4 sq. miles of land and 11.9 sq. miles of water.

Skagway experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. Average summer temperatures range from 45 to 67; winter temperatures average 18 to 37. Within the shadow of the mountains, Skagway receives less rain than is typical of Southeast Alaska, averaging 26 inches of precipitation per year, and 39 inches of snow.

History, Culture and Demographics
Skagway was originally known by the Tlingits as Skagua, meaning "windy place"; it was used by the Chilkoots and Chilkats for hunting and fishing. In 1896, gold was discovered 600 miles away in the Yukon; Skagway acted as the starting-off point for prospectors. In 1897 a post office, a church, and a newspaper were founded in Skagway, and its population rose to 10,000. In 1900, Skagway became the first incorporated city in Alaska, beating Juneau by a day. The Bank of Alaska opened in Skagway in 1916. The first tourism boom began in the mid-1920s. During WWII, Skagway stationed as many as 3,000 troops, who worked to construct the Alcan Highway. There was a major flood of the Skagway River in 1967 that breached area dikes. The Klondike Highway to Dawson City opened in 1979. In 1994, the city dock collapsed and sent a tidal wave across the bay; the dock was rebuilt within the year. The city was dissolved in 2007 and became the first first-class borough in Alaska that same year.

A federally-recognized tribe is located in the community -- the Skaqway Village. Skagway is predominantly a tourist community, with historical Tlingit influences. Downtown buildings have been colorfully restored to reflect the history of the gold rush through the Chilkoot Pass.

According to Census 2010, there were 590 housing units in the community and 410 were occupied. Its population was 3.7 percent American Indian or Alaska Native; 91 percent white; 0.5 percent Asian; 0.1 percent Pacific Islander; 4.2 percent of the local residents had multi-racial backgrounds. Additionally, 2.3 percent of the population was of Hispanic decent.

Economy and Transportation
The tourist industry flourishes in Skagway, as a port of call for cruise ships and a transfer site for rail and interior bus tours. Approximately 1 million cruise ship passengers, RV traffic, and numerous State ferry travelers visit Skagway each year. The Klondike Gold Rush Historical Park and White Pass and Yukon Railroad are major attractions. An Economic Impact Study conducted by the City of Skagway in 1999 found that 51% of the owners of visitor-related businesses are not year-round residents. Trans-shipment of lead/zinc ore, fuel and freight occurs via the Port and Klondike Hwy. to and from Canada. Four residents hold commercial fishing permits.

The Klondike Highway and Alaska Highway provide a connection through British Columbia and the Yukon Territory, Canada, to the lower 48 states or north to Interior Alaska. Skagway is accessed by air, road, water, and rail services. The State owns the 3,550' long by 75' wide paved runway and a seaplane base at the boat harbor, with scheduled air taxis. Skagway receives regular State ferry and barge services. A breakwater, ferry terminal, cruise ship dock, small boat harbor, boat launch, and boat haul-out are available. The White Pass and Yukon Route Company owns two deep draft docks for cargo loading and storage. Freight arrives by barge, ferry and truck.

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Did You Know?
City Of Anchorage. In 1915 President Woodrow Wilson authorized funds for the construction of the Alaska Railroad. Ship Creek Landing was selected as the headquarters of this effort. A Tent City sprang up in the wilderness at the mouth of Ship Creek, and soon swelled to a population of over 2,000. On July 9, 1915, the Anchorage townsite auction was held, and over 600 lots were sold. Although the area had been known by various names, in this same year the U.S. Post Office Department formalized the use of the name Anchorage, and despite some protests the name stuck.
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