I’m a huge fan of Alaska’s “First City”, whether it’s for fishing, for flying or just plain fun!
So, when I visited last week, I stopped in to see how Ward Cove is being revitalized.
Ward Cove , just five miles north of downtown Ketchikan, has been a hub of activity for 95 years for logging and fish processing.
“Ward Cove is all about the Tongass National Forest and how it continues to provide for the people of Southeast Alaska,” said John Binkley. Binkley is the developer of the new cruise ship dock, built on the site of the former Ketchikan Pulp Company.
I arrived in Ketchikan in the usual way: flying on Alaska Airlines, then catching the ferry over to the “Town Side” to pick up my car ($6 ea. way). But many, many visitors come to Ketchikan on cruise ships. If they’re sailing on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship, they’ll dock at Ward Cove instead of the downtown Ketchikan docks.
You can’t miss seeing the Tongass National Forest when you dock in Ward Cove. Trees surround the cove—and it’s a big part of any story about Ketchikan or Southeast Alaska.
“The forest sustained Alaska’s indigenous people for thousands of years,” said Binkley. “In modern times, the fishing and timber industries sustained the community.”
Now, the Tongass will continue to sustain the community as a natural treasure. And tourism is part of that effort.
In addition to the new cruise dock structure, the developers have remodeled the massive warehouse as an indoor welcome center. That’s especially helpful when it’s raining outside.
Visitors can meet up with their tour group to go zip-lining, flightseeing, kayaking or hiking. There’s a free downtown shuttle. Also on-site are several options for visitors to get out and see the area: “Sea cycles” or floating pedal-powered watercraft, e-bikes, u-drive Zodiacs, kayaking, etc.
Recently, Binkley purchased the decommissioned m/v Malaspina, an Alaska state ferry. It’s docked right next to the cruise ship dock. Binkley plans to open a museum on board and to provide hands-on training for maritime students. Also, many seasonal employees will be housed on board.
Ketchikan is beautiful in the summer. It’s the perfect “First City” to welcome visitors to the state…whether they’re flying or cruising.
Share this Post