If you count it all up, Sitka has more than 8 miles of city docks – the largest small boat harbor system in the entire state of Alaska. One thousand three hundred stalls. But that’s still not enough – there are more than 300 vessels waiting for slips.
2014 welcomes a completely refurbished ANB Harbor. Sitka Harbormaster Stan Eliason said everything was replaced – floats and fingers, electrical and water hookups, even the main pilings. The approx. $7.5 million project was funded through a 50/50 match with the state. ANB’s new configuration accommodates 94 vessels of various sizes, a few less than the old setup.
If you do thing often enough, it becomes habit. If you perform a service for enough people for enough time, you become infrastructure.
Skipper Dave Castle and his vessel, F/V Eyak, qualify as Baranof Island infrastructure. They are a vital link between Sitka and the few hardy people who live in Port Alexander, at the hatchery at Port Armstrong and at the government research station at Little Port Walter.
Once a week in winter and twice a week in summer, Castle delivers to these outposts food and all manner of supplies. What makes him infrastructure is that he also carries the U.S. mail.
In 1862, five years before the U.S. took possession of Sitka and Alaska, the government started printing the beautiful, color lithographic charts on heavy bond beige paper that were ultimately sold by private vendors, like Murray Pacific and Old Harbor Books. That era has come to an end.
Last year, the Federal Aviation Administration, which distributes both aeronautical and nautical navigation charts, announced that after April, 2014, they will no longer distribute the printed nautical charts (aeronautical charts will still be produced.) FAA took over chart distribution from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 1999.
Fishermen are a famously independent lot who sometimes get accused of letting their independence get in the way of their own long-term economic interests. Well, the more than 500 fishermen-owners of Seafood Producers Cooperative (S.P.C.) can tell their accusers a story that shoots that reputation down.
It’s a story that goes all the way back to the 1940’s, picks up in Sitka in the 1980’s and continues big time today. The fishermen-owners of S.P.C. produce eight million lbs. of catch annually, netting $44 million in gross sales revenues. With buying stations up and down the West Coast, S.P.C today is the oldest, largest and most successful fishermen’s cooperative in North America.
It might be appropriate that Mark Bartlett paints the Rockwell Lighthouse, because light is one of his main sources of creativity. “I’m always seeking light,” the 52-year-old Sitka-based artist said. “That’s what I’m looking for and where I start a painting.
“If I’m doing a mountain, for instance, I want some drama and the way the light is hitting the mountain is how I develop that drama.”
Bartlett’s subjects span Alaska – he explores the misty, defused light of Southeast and the sharper light of the Interior. A naturalist, he is nonetheless unafraid of taking some creative license.