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Kake is an ancient settlement of the Tlingit People located on Kupreanof Island.The fishing and timber industries have been historic economic drivers in Kake.
Opening of Daylight
Located 100 miles south of Juneau on the northwest coast of Kupreanof Island and nestled in the Tongass National Forest lies the community of Kake. Kake comes from the Tlingit word “Keix” which means “opening of daylight” and is, in many ways, a traditional Tlingit town.
Home to one of the world’s largest totem poles, this beautiful beachfront village has been home to the Kake tribe of Tlingit Native Americans for thousands of years. Nearly 70% if the village’s residents are of Tlingit heritage and many Tlingit traditions remain the foundation of the community. Many residents of Kake continue to live off of the land through hunting, fishing, and gathering of the local vegetation.
Visitors can immerse themselves in a rich heritage that includes traditional dancing, storytelling, basket weaving, beading, and carving. Or visit the village’s 132-foot totem pole, one of the most iconic traditions of Kake. The totem pole was created in 1971 by a trained Native carver and raised according to the traditional ceremony. The totem pole is recorded as one of the largest in the world.
Some of the best times to visit Kake are during festivals or celebrations. The Fourth of July is an annual event that offers an unforgettable experience with its good food, fun, fireworks and parades. The celebrations also have a variety of vendors and family-friendly events.
The Kake Day festival occurs in January and celebrates the city’s legacy as the first Native Village to incorporate under federal law and the summer Dog Salmon Festival celebrates the bounty of Mother Nature.
Photo thanks to Cynthia Meyers
Kake is home to a variety of wildlife, such as black bears, eagles, whales, otters, Sitka black-tailed deer, wolves, beavers, porcupine, red squirrel, marten, moose, and nearly 300 species of birds. The wildlife can be spotted along the shore, from a boat, or along Hamilton Creek or Big John Bay.
Another popular stop is the Keku Cannery, a historic salmon-packing cannery that was an economic driver for the community in the early 20th century. In 1997 the Keku Cannery was listed as a National Historic Landmark as the best preserved Alaska salmon cannery in the Southeast. The cannery has original worker housing, boardwalks between buildings, and period machinery.
For the best bear watching on the island, head to Gunnuk Creek and stake out a location at Silver Spike Bridge. Here eagles and bears can be seen fishing and interacting in their natural habitat. Another great place for viewing is the bear viewing platform at the old Gunnuk Creek Fish Hatchery.
For some great whale watching opportunities head to Point White Junior and Long Beach. These locations are two of the best places in Kake to watch for whales as they feed and play. Make a day of it by packing a picnic lunch, just be sure to bring some binoculars along in order to spot whales offshore.
Kake Departure locations
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Explore the unseen side of Alaska. Discover the hidden gems of the Inside Passage
Unseen Alaska offers a unique experience whether you want to fish, explore a national forest, relax in hot springs, go kayaking, hike or pick fresh berries. These five community's streets aren’t cluttered with cars, but they are full of welcoming faces and warm places to enjoy the serene landscape.Visit Unseen Alaska