Sitka sits in the coastal regions of the lower Southeast of Alaska. The city is on the western coast of Baranof Island in the Alexander Archipelago, a cluster of volcanic islands. It is the only city in southeastern Alaska that lies on the Pacific Ocean. (Britannica) History laces itself deep into the fibers of this city. Between the lush stories you can explore the natural wonders this area has to offer.
The Tlingit people are indigenous to this area. A beacon of smoke emitting from Mount Edgecumbe around 10,000 years ago is said to have attracted the people to the area. In 1741 a Russian expedition came to explore the area and develop mapping of the coast. Aleksandr Baranov, the first Russian governor of Alaska, established Old Sitka with the development of Ft. St. Michael in 1799. In just a few short years the Tlingit people destroyed the base in an attempt to maintain and protect the land.
Novo Arkhangelsk founded Sitka in 1804. The access to trade and resources was the main source of attraction to the area. Influenza and a consistent pressure to obtain land from the natives would eventually and dramatically decline their presence in the city. In 1867 Russia transferred their ownership to the United States. Until Juneau was established in 1906, Sitka was the territorial capital. The population started to increase with the construction of a naval base during WWII.
Sitka today is a popular area to visit for a variety of reasons. The Tongass National Forest surrounds this city. The temperate rainforest supplies a delicate and vibrant ecosystem for native salmon to maintain their habitat. A mixture of Tlingit and Russian culture run together in the city and events. Additionally, Sitka is only accessible by boat or plane.
Mass humpback whale migrations pass by the shorelines of Sitka every summer. The weather hear consists of a coastal climate that is cool and wet, a temperate ecosystem. There are opportunities to spot wildlife and experience a variety of ecosystems. Registered historical sites line the streets here. The area still relies on fishing and seafood processing as a section of the economy.
What to Do, Where to Go
The Sitka Park Totem Park has a display of various totem poles from all over Alaska, including influences from the Tlingit. There are a couple animal rescue and recovery centers you can visit and support such as the Fortress of the Bear and the Alaska Raptor Centre. The first Russian Orthodox to be built in North America was established in Sitka. After a devastating fire decades ago, the church was rebuilt to what we know today.
The Sheldon Jackson Museum showcases both native and Russian cultures and their influence over the history of Sitka. The museum houses many artifacts and information pertinent to the area. On the land there are many shops and restaurants to find entertainment. The shores provide fishing, kayaking, and boat tours. Since this area is a temperate rainforest the diversity in flora and fauna is lush and the opportunities to connect with the wilderness are endless.