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Harriman Expedition Retraced

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Expedition Log: July 24, 2001

Jonas Parker, Young Explorers Team

Wrangell Island

We awoke at 7 a.m., and shortly after breakfast the Clipper Odyssey docked in Wrangell, Alaska. Weather consisted of high overcast clouds with a light breeze. Directly following breakfast, the Clipper Odyssey called for disembarkation of the ship.

The community of Wrangell, population 2,550, sits at the mouth of the Stikine River. The town was founded by the Russian American Company in 1834 in order to prevent encroachment of the Hudson's Bay Company traders who were working their way down the Stikine River. In 1840, the Russians leased the area to the British for an annual payment of 2,000 otter skins. When the United States purchased Alaska in 1867, they renamed the area Fort Wrangell. This fort is the only military installation in North America to have flown three different flags -- Russian, British and U.S.

While in Wrangell, expedition members first visited Petroglyph Beach, one mile north of town is primarily in an intertidal zone. Scattered throughout this area are boulders etched with designs from Tlinget people dating back thousands of years. Designs included spirals, animal forms and abstract shapes.

After Petroglyph Beach, members traveled to Kiksetti Totem Park on Chief Shakes Island. There we visited a tribal house surrounded by totems and filled with Tlinget artifacts and historical displays.


Boats ashore

Fishing boats tossed ashore on rocky Petroglyph Beach. (Photo by National Ocean Service, NOAA).
Click image for a larger view.

Members then proceeded to downtown Wrangell and the Elks Hall for a welcoming reception and traditional Tlinget dancing. Community members and the vice- mayor welcomed the Harriman Expedition and gifts were exchanged. At the closing of the presentation, Tom Litwin (expedition leader) was presented with a key to the City of Wrangell.

At noon, members reboarded the Clipper Odyssey and sailed north towards Wrangell Narrows. Dr. Paul Alaback gave a presentation on economics, politics and logging in the Tongass National Forest. Following the presentation, the Clipper Odyssey sailed through Wrangell Narrows. The Narrows terminated at the community of Petersburg, where poor foggy weather obscured the view. That evening, expedition members convened in the dining room for Captain Mike Taylor's welcome dinner.

After dinner, the Clipper Odyssey continued on course for Tracy Arm and Juneau, Alaska.

(View the day's photos)


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For information on the Harriman Retraced Expedition e-mail: harriman2001@science.smith.edu

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