Monday, July 2, 2012

Petersburg, AK

June 24- morning - We woke up in the ferry parking lot and marveled at just how well we had slept. We had our coffee and cereal, then moved our camper to the campground where we had reservations for the next night. We were staying at Twin Creek RV Park, a private campground which amounted to just a few very small RV slips just off the highway. Not much, but it would do for the night. A quick set up, then off we went to explore Petersburg.

Petersburg was established in 1897 by Peter Buschmann, a Norwegian in the fishing business. Buschmann took a look at Mitkof Island, with the ice of LeConte Glacier nearby, and decided that this would be the perfect spot to build a fish cannery. “We will never run out of ice" he said.  Icy Straits Packing Company was completed in 1900. As houses, docks, warehouses and other business sprang up, the city of Petersburg was incorporated in 1910.


Icy Straits changed hands several time, finally evolving into Petersburg Fisheries, now a subsidiary of Icicle Foods, a major seafood processing corporation based in Seattle. “Fishing was the economic force which drove the creation of Petersburg, and continues to be a driving force in today’s economy.” Today, Petersburg is a small community of about 3,000 people, with fishing and fish processing being the main industry.

So, Petersburg, named for Peter Bushman, is very Scandinavian/Norwegian in heritage (and has nothing to do with St. Petersburg in Russia, as I had thought).


The Norwegian influence is seen throughout Petersburg…….from the Sons of Norway Hall, built in 1912…..


To the rosemaling (a traditional Norwegian art form)  that decorates the buildings….to the people with their classically Norwegian looks.


We spent the morning walking around downtown Petersburg. Since it was Sunday, few shops were open, but we enjoyed strolling around the marina and docks……


Where commercial and sport fisherman tie up. Petersburg has 3 harbors or marinas, with a total of 700 boat stalls.


Just walking distance from the downtown is Eagles’ roost park, a small park set among a number of protected eagle nesting trees, and overlooking this view of the Wrangell narrows.

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And we saw eagles…….This trip, we have seen more eagles! They are flying about, everywhere! And landing in the tree tops. We have gotten to where we can recognize their distinctive ‘call’, and start looking up…..


They fly over us with those enormous wings! Look how they bend at a hinged ‘elbow’ as they gracefully flap……

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And they SOAR……So majestic!

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We caught this youngster having a bite to eat…..

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Before getting a bit ‘ruffled’ and deciding to take off…..

Speaking of grabbing a bite to eat……We stopped for lunch at Coastal Cold Storage, a seafood packing and supply company that also served breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Fred had the salmon burger – a grilled salmon fillet served on a ciabatta bread bun with lettuce and tomato – and I had the halibut beer bits burger - beer battered and fried halibut pieces, also served on a bun. Both were delicious!  Before leaving, we picked up a couple of salmon fillets to grill for dinner.

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