About Juneau, Alaska

           

 

 

Juneau, the capital city of Alaska, is located in the southeast panhandle of the state and has been Alaskaís capital since 1906 when the territorial capital moved from Sitka.  Our population in recent years has hovered between 30,000 and 32,000.

Juneau is accessible only by air and water, which leads some visitors to wonder if we are located on an island.  Most of the city and borough is located on the mainland but Douglas Island (the community of Douglas merged with Juneau in 1970) is across Gastineau Channel and connected by the Juneau-Douglas Bridge.  Our community is bounded by the waters of the inside passage on one side and on the other side by mountains and the Juneau Icefield.

The Tlingit people of the Auke tribe are indigenous to the Juneau area and in 1880; Chief Kowee helped Richard Harris and Joseph Juneau locate gold in the Silverbow Basin.  This discovery began the Alaska Gold Rush and led to the development of Harrisburg (later renamed Juneau).  By 1883 there were three gold mills in the area, the last of which closed in 1944.  Today, Sandy Beach on Douglas Island is made up of the mine tailings that remain from the Treadwell mine and mill, which was the largest gold mine in the world during its operation.

The City and Borough of Juneau, and nearly all of Southeast Alaska (excepting Glacier Bay National Park) are part of the Tongass National Forest, the largest temperate rainforest in existence today.  Locals are fond of saying; ĎIt rains here; thatís why we call it a rainforest!í  Juneau averages a little over 66 inches of rain a year and while some folks think thatís a whole lot of precipitation (Iím not even 66 inches tall), itís less than half of the rain that falls in Ketchikan, Alaska.  Of course, Juneau gets about 79 more inches of snow than Ketchikanís annual average of 37 inches, so maybe it balances out.

Juneau is a beautiful place to live and the geographic isolation and relatively low population are two of my favorite features.  I love the lush year-round greenery, the rain and the long summer days (over 18 hours of daylight at the summer solstice).  Iím also fond of the cozy darkness of winter (not quite six and a half hours of daylight at the winter solstice); though by January or February, Iím usually ready to skip a month and move directly into spring!

© Copyright 2012 - Marcy L. Peska        Site Map