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PUBLISHED: 2:57 PM on Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Zippin' into Native culture
Old cannery blossoms into tourist spot for Hoonah community
What was once a dilapidated cannery just outside Hoonah, is now a hot spot for tourism. The Icy Strait Point Cannery, which was long ago a productive salmon cannery, reopened in 2004, with a modern mission.

The cannery features shops, a mid-1930s cannery line display and a museum, showcasing the industry's past and a history of Southeast Alaska. However, the cannery isn't all that Icy Strait Point has to offer. With the location being adjacent to other cruise ship itineraries in the region, Icy Strait Point is now a regular cruise ship port of call.

An array of excursions are available, including remote bush explorations, wildlife searches and a ZipRider zip line, which is the longest in the world at 5,330 feet long and features a 1,300 foot vertical drop.

On a recent trip bringing about 250 people from Juneau to Icy Straight Point by catamaran, the majority of passengers ventured onto the zip line. Participants must be between 90 and 275 pounds and comfortable with heights. The adventure begins with a narrated bus ride through the village of Hoonah and up the mountainside. Participants then take a shot walk to the docking station where they are placed in a harness chair and put their feet on a gate. Once the gate is open, riders shoot down a cable up to 60 miles per hour, passing through a wooded area before the bottom drop and the rider hangs 300 feet above the ground. The 90 second ride offers views of Port Frederick and Icy Strait.

Juneau resident Jess Parks went to Icy Strait Point during Juneau Day and said she enjoyed the variety the location had to offer.

"I was really impressed with how much they have been able to make out of a decrepit fish cannery overlooking a patch of clearcut," Parks said. "The site is beautiful, the renovations very well done, and the excursions were fun. The zip line was the definite highlight of my day."

Besides fun excursions, Icy Strait Point offers a close look at Native culture with a trail providing a glimpse at Tlingit history and a cultural theater featuring dancing and storytelling.


Photos by Amanda Gragert
  Icy Strait Point's cannery has been remodeled to be the starting point for a day of various excursions offered.

Photos by Amanda Gragert
  Displays throughout the cannery show how the industry worked at the productive cannery.

Photos by Amanda Gragert
  A Native show features tribal dance and cultural legends at the Native Heritage Center Theatre. The Huna Tlingit perform and dance in colorful regalia, proudly sharing their history.

Photos by Karen Wright
  A bus ride through Hoonah takes participants to the remote area of the Spasski River Valley in search of brown bears, other animals, plants and points of interest. While live bear sightings are not guaranteed, the likelihood is good. What is certain is seeing this bear carved from a chainsaw on an old Spruce tree stump.

Photos by Karen Wright
  The Native Heritage Center Theatre features artwork such as carvings and totem poles.

Photos by Amanda Gragert
  The zip line cable ride is the world's longest ZipRider at 5,330 feet long, and includes a 1,300 foot vertical drop. Riders are secured in a harness before leaving the gate to view Icy Strait and Port Frederick.

Photos by Amanda Gragert

Photos by Amanda Gragert

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