Friday, June 26, 2009

The Tourists Are Coming!

Here's a shot of one of the tour boats that anchor out by the cannery. This is looking through the tunnel on the way out to Icy Strait Point. Everyone here has always called it Cannery Point, but once tourism took hold I guess the powers that be felt like it had to have a classier name or some such thing. Most of the locals still just call it Cannery Point though.
That's not all that's changed with the coming of tourism to Hoonah. On the days when the ships are in there is a steady stream of busses and large vans up and down the roads, as well as hundreds of people walking up and down the roads. The town has roughly 850 people, so when you throw in another 500- to 1,000, it makes an impact. Then to have six or eight large city busses running through a town that doesn't even have a stop light, it starts feeling kind of crowded. I'm not overly enamored with the whole tourism thing. My biggest complaint is that so many seemed to have left common courtesy and common sense at home when they left on vacation. I've watched people walk right up onto a neighbor's porch and pick up a lawn ornament to have a picture taken. We've had folks walk into our yard and check out the flowers and though there is a sidewalk to walk on, so many people walk in the streets that signs had to be posted to remind them to stay out of the way of cars.
The flip side of all this is, it has provided quite a few seasonal jobs. I don't know how good the pay is, but there are a number of locals who work at the cannery all summer, which is good, since commercial fishing is on the decline and logging is all but over for the area. From what I can gather, Hoonah is one of the favorite stops for many of the tourists. So far they haven't become what so many of the larger towns are- a giant shopping center. Hopefully we can find the balance between the need for jobs and the need to maintain what makes Hoonah a great place to live.