A view of historic downtown Skagway, Alaska; photo by Katlyn Fuentes.

Greetings from Skagway, Alaska!

Time feels like it’s been passing so quickly, I can hardly believe that I’ve already been in this beautiful town for a couple weeks. Time flies when you’re having fun, I suppose!

Katlyn Fuentes in Skagway, AK; Photo by K. Fuentes.

My arrival to Skagway, though naturally tiring given the length of travel, was an adventure in and of itself. After catching a flight from Seattle to Juneau, I boarded a smaller plane (seating only 5, including the pilot!) for a quick 45-minute flight to the city of Skagway. Anticipating the stereotypical SE Alaskan weather (re: cold and rainy), I was pleasantly surprised with a literal “warm welcome”: sunny, blue skies and temperatures in the mid to high sixties (Fahrenheit).

For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to visit Skagway, this remote city is found within the Inside Passage of southeast Alaska, nestled between lush, green forests and snowy mountains. Compared to my native city of Seattle, Skagway is incredibly small – the central area extending only 5 streets wide by 23 streets long. The locals are friendly, the scenery is amazing, and the city’s historic downtown (as well as areas outside of the city limits) is operated in part by Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (AKA: the reason I’m here!).

A view of Skagway’s waterfront; photo by Katlyn Fuentes.

My first week of work was a bit of a whirlwind, but overall a complete success! My time was spent touring Park Service buildings, exploring downtown, attending numerous trainings (including bear safety and awareness – which is very important in this area!), and jumping right into the fieldwork season. Within my first few days I was already conducting fieldwork for Coastal Bird Monitoring and Plant Phenology surveys, as well as assisting with the Park’s Archeology Erosion Monitoring project! Plus, I had the opportunity to help out with an archival project at the Park Museum’s cultural collection. So I’m happy to say I’ve been pretty busy!

Next week, I’ll be posting more about this park, including a brief history of the Klondike Goldrush! If you have any questions at all, make sure to comment below and I’ll do my best to either address them in the following blog posts or message you directly.

To tie you over until my next post, here are some fun facts about Alaska, followed by some pictures of Skagway and the surrounding area!

Fun Facts about Alaska:

  • The state of Alaska is nicknamed as “The Last Frontier”
  • With an area of 663,300 mi², Alaska is the largest state in the US – bigger than Texas, Montana, and California combined!!!
  • The state flower is the Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis alpestris)
  • The state tree is the Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis), named after the Tlingit tribe, Sitka.
  • The state mineral is gold!
  • The official state sport is: Dog Sled Mushing

Pictures from around town (click to make them bigger!):


Katlyn Fuentes

Katlyn is a recent graduate from the University of Washington in Seattle with a B.S in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and a minor in Anthropology. This summer she will be returning for her second session as a Mosaics in Science intern, working as a Biology Assistant with the National Park Service at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Skagway, Alaska. After completing this internship, she plans on pursuing a career that combines her passions for scientific communications and the conservation/management of Earth's natural resources.

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