Juneau: Economy

views updated May 29 2018

Juneau: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Nearly half of Juneau's working population is employed by the federal, state, or local government. All state departments have offices in Juneau, including the Superior and District Courts. A large federal building houses the regional headquarters of several federal agencies. Those with the largest number of workers are the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Postal Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard. It is estimated that for each government worker, one private sector job is needed to supply the services required by the government workers.

Tourism is the largest private-sector employer. The number of non-Alaskan visitors to Juneau tops 800,000 each year, accounting for about half of the total Alaska visitor market. The majority of visitors travel between May 1 and October 1, though year-round travel is growing. During that time, the harbor is filled with cruise ships bringing tourists from the "Lower 48" and around the world.

Commercial fishing and fish processing are another important sector of the local economy. Salmon hatcheries and a cold storage facility operate in town, the latter processing two million pounds of salmon, halibut, black cod, and crab annually.

Transportation and trading are the other important sectors of the economy. Manufacturing jobs had been almost nonexistent but that area has become a focal point for government programs resulting in a growth spurt.

Kenneccott Greens Creek Mine, on Admiralty Island near the city, produces gold, silver, lead, and zinc, and is one of the largest silver mines in North America. In December 2004 an environmental impact study was completed allowing for the Kensington Gold Mine project to proceed. It is expected to create about 200 construction jobs for two years, then roughly 250 positions for its 10 to 15 years of operation.

The $900 million Regional Corporation Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) was enacted in 1971 to help compensate the native Alaskans for the lands taken from them when the United States purchased the Alaskan Territory from Russia in 1867. Two of Alaska's 13 regional native Alaskan corporations are located near Juneau. Sealaska, the ANCSA regional corporation for Southeast Alaska that serves 17,500 Tlingit and Haida shareholders, has its headquarters in Juneau. Goldbelt Inc., the urban native village corporation, is also located near Juneau and handles about 3,500 shareholders of primarily Alaska Native heritage. The two corporations are in the business of money management, producing timber, and studying diversification into the area of mineral rights. Juneau is also the home of Klukwan Forest Products, Inc., which holds 23,000 acres of forested land within the area's rainforest.

Items and goods produced: processed fish, ore, forest products

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

The Southeast Alaska Revolving Loan Fund (RLF), since its formation in 1997, has developed a capital pool of about $5 billion to assist area businesses in retaining and creating jobs. Entrepreneurs can go to the Business Assistance Center (BAC) for information, workshops, and a variety of other services.

State programs

The Governor's Office of International Trade provides assistance and information to firms interested in foreign trade and investment, organizes trade missions and promotions, and sponsors trade shows and seminars. The Office of Economic Development provides business assistance to new and existing Alaskan businesses and industry. Programs include business counseling, Made in Alaska, RAPIDS: Rural Alaska Project Identification and Delivery System, and the Alaska Economic Information System.

Job training programs

Business start up services are offered by the state of Alaska on a case-by-case basis.

Economic Development Information: Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development, Research & Analysis Section; telephone: (907)465-4508; fax (907)465-4506; email [email protected] Juneau Economic Development Council, 612 W. Willoughby Ave., Ste. A, Juneau, AK 99801-1732; telephone (907)463-3662; fax (907)463-3929; email [email protected]

Commercial Shipping

The Juneau airport includes a paved 8,456-foot runway and a seaplane landing area. Marine facilities include a seaplane landing area at Juneau Harbor, two deep draft docks, five small boat harbors, and a state ferry terminal. The Alaska Marine Highway System and cargo barges provide year-round services. Juneau's docks are used primarily for the cruise ships bringing tourists to Juneau.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Because so many are employed in government, Juneau's workforce is better educated than is the statewide workforce and per capita income is higher. However, dependence on one industry leaves Juneau vulnerable to severe economic distress when government falters. Ongoing efforts are being made to diversify Juneau's economy. The overall labor force demonstrated significant increases in all major categories. Manufacturing and financial industries have shown great successes, and construction and mining continues to grow with the Kensington Gold Mine starting production. Employment in the service sector should remain strong. Tourism is vibrant, and there has been a change in the characteristics of the typical visitor to Alaska. Many of the new travelers are younger, more independent, and interested in family, adventure, and environment-related activities.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Southeast Region labor force as of 2003.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 36,250

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 2,050

manufacturing: 1,850

trade, transportation, and utilities: 7,050

information: 500

financial activities: 1,250

professional and business services: 1,400

educational and health services: 3,450

leisure and hospitality: 3,550

other services: 1,150

government: 13,650

Average monthly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $2,611

Unemployment rate: 7.2% (January 2005)

Largest employment sectors and employers (2003)Number of employees
Federal, state, and local government17,105
Southeast Alaska Regional Health Corp.705

Cost of Living

The personal tax burden in Alaska is extremely low. Residents benefit from distributions from the Permanent Fund, a savings account established in 1976 by voters allowing residents to receive 50 percent of the state's royalty oil revenue. Senior citizens enjoy a $150,000 property tax exemption or a renter's rebate. The availability of vast natural resources insures utility costs somewhat lower than the national average. However, in Juneau, the overall costs are significantly higher than the U.S. average (about 30%).

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $390,000

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 134.5 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: None

State sales tax rate: None

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 5.0%

Property tax rate: varies; the highest mill level that will be levied in 2005 is 12.00. This includes the levy for general government, schools, fire, and debt service. Levy is per $1,000 of assessed valuation; assessment ratio = 100% for residential.

Economic Information: Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Research & Analysis Section, PO Box 25501, Juneau, AK 99802-5501; telephone (907)465-4500; fax (907)465-2101; email [email protected]

Juneau: Recreation

views updated Jun 27 2018

Juneau: Recreation


A good place for visitors to start exploring Juneau is at the Davis Log Cabin Visitor Center, which offers guides and maps. The Downtown Historic District of the city contains many buildings dating back to 1880 and has wider sidewalks reminiscent of the old boardwalks. The Governor's Mansion, built in 1912, is not open to the public on a regular basis but tours can be arranged by contacting the governor's office. Alaska's State Capitol Building, with columns fashioned from a quarry on Prince of Wales Island, houses both the governor's office and state legislative offices and is open for tours. From January through May visitors may watch floor sessions from the galleries. The House of Wickersham, built in 1898 and the former home of famous local judge, James Wickersham (18371939), contains historic memorabilia as well as a genuine Chickering grand piano circa late 1800s, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Juneau-Douglas City Museum includes various exhibits related to the areas's rich history and provides educational and public programs while concentrating on the city's mining history. Tours are available of the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, the oldest original Russian Orthodox church in the state, which was founded in 1893. The Shrine of St. Therese, a chapel located on an island north of Juneau that is connected to the city by a narrow path, has stations of the cross on a trail circumnavigating the chapel in the surrounding woods and can be visited year-round.

The Last Chance Basin Historic District, usually referred to as the Jualpa Mining Camp, features many old mine buildings and attractions for visitors such as gold panning and, in summer, an outdoor salmon bake. A 5,000-gallon aquarium full of local sea life is the highlight of the Macaulay Salmon Hatch-ery, which is located three miles from downtown. Green Angel Gardens is a botanical facility featuring a variety of local plants and a salmon stream located near a low, active volcano.

Nature is the star at Juneau, and the walk-up Mendenhall Glacier, located 13 miles from downtown, is a must-see experience. It features a visitor center, built in 1962, which describes the progression of the glacier and the icecap from which it descends; the visitor center also features a movie and self-guided walking tour map. The 1,500-square-mile Juneau Icefield, the birthplace of the Mendenhall Glacier and 37 others, is located just over the mountains behind the city and is the fifth largest in North America. Light plane charters and helicopters offer an up-close tour.

Many visitors enjoy taking walking tours of Juneau's four local harbors, where fishing boat captains are usually amenable to discussing the day's catch. Whalewatching and wildlife viewing charter boat tours are a popular visitor attraction; a variety of companies offer tours from in or around Juneau, and many guarantee sightings.

Arts and Culture

The Alaska State Museum, established in 1900 when the state was a territory, offers more than 27,000 fine historical, cultural, and artistic collections under one roof. Juneau's gold rush history is captured at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum, which also contains a "Back to the Past" hands-on room for children, and a large relief map of Juneau's topography. Juneau has a very active artists' community, and there are many works of art located in public areas throughout downtown, including sculptures and totem poles.

Alaska's only professional theater company, Perseverance Theatre of Juneau, presents a variety of classic, comedic, and dramatic plays during its fall-winter-spring season that typically draws 20,000 annually. The Naa Kahidi Theater, supported by the Sealaska Heritage Foundation, performs ancient Tlingit legends via storytelling for special events. The Gold Nugget Revue presents comedic historical adventures of Juneau's history, along with cancan dancers and other entertainment.

Festivals and Holidays

April is the time for the annual Alaska Folk Festival, which has been running since the mid-1970s. Music lovers assemble for the 10-day Juneau Jazz & Classics Festival in May. August's Golden North Salmon Derby, a tradition since 1947, offers big prizes, including scholarships, for catching big fish.

Sports for the Participant

Juneau has five mountain peaks within reasonable day-trip distances, affording many hiking and climbing opportunities. Hiking trails lead from downtown to overlooks on 3,576-foot Mt. Juneau, 3,819-foot Mt. Roberts, and 3,337-foot Mt. Bradley (also known as Mt. Jumbo). The Mt. Roberts tramway travels from Juneau's waterfront to an elevation of nearly 2,000 feet. Guided tours, a restaurant, and theater are available at the upper terminal. The Juneau visitor's center offers free guides to more than two dozen trails to glaciers and historic gold mining ruins.

Fishing, sailing, kayaking, and river rafting are available on the protected waters of the Inside Passage. In summers, operators offer gentle river rafting, salmon watching, and gold panning. Picnics, camping, fishing, and beachcombing are popular on the area's beaches.

Mendenhall is the only golf course in Southeast Alaska, a par-three, nine-hole course built on private land behind the airport and only 10 miles from downtown. Winter downhill skiing and snowboarding are offered at Eaglecrest, 12 miles from the city's downtown, with alpine runs, Nordic trails, and a vertical drop of 1,400 feet. Helicopter ski packages are available from late November through early April.

Juneau also has a racquet club, indoor rock-climbing, several aerobic studios, yoga classes, and local Parks and Recreation Department seasonal sports programs that welcome visitors.

Shopping and Dining

Visitors will find galleries, shops, and restaurants throughout the downtown Juneau area. Specialty shops and gift shops offer hand-crafted work by local artists. Nugget Mall, the largest shopping destination, is within walking distance of the airport; its more than 35 stores feature Alaskan gifts and clothing and the mall has a visitor information center. Senate Shopping Mall houses eight eclectic shops from Native art to flyfishing supplies. Merchant's Wharf, an office and shop complex, is located at harborside. Gift shops and taverns line South Franklin Street. The Emporium Mall contains specialty shops and stores, as well as the Heritage Coffee Co., a sandwich and coffee shop on the main floor. Fantastic mountain views and a traditional steak and seafood menu are signatures of the historic Hangar on the Wharf restaurant.

The state's most famous bar, the lively Red Dog Saloon, provides local pictorial history, music, and excitement, especially when cruise ships are in port.

Visitor Information: Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau, One Sealaska Plz., Ste. 305, Juneau, AK 99801; telephone (907)586-1737; toll-free (800)587-2201; fax (907)586-1449; email [email protected]

Juneau: Education and Research

views updated May 14 2018

Juneau: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Juneau's schools offer special programs for secondary school students, including the Project of Assisted Learning, an alternative approach; the Entrepreneurship Program, with an emphasis on vocational education; and special education programs for children with special needs. Due to Juneau's geographic location, the schools also offer programs focusing on the sea.

The following is a summary of data regarding Juneau's public schools as of the 20032004 school year.

Total enrollment: 5,475

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 6

junior high/middle schools: 2

senior high schools: 1

Student/teacher ratio: 17.5:1

Teacher salaries

minimum: $34,606

maximum: $67,305

Funding per pupil: $6,497

Public Schools Information: Juneau School District, 10014 Crazy Horse Dr., Juneau, AK 99801; telephone (907)463-1700

Colleges and Universities

Enrolling 700 full-time and 2,000 part-time students, the University of Alaska Southeast's (UAS) Juneau location on the shores of the Inside Passage serves as the main campus, with two other administrative units of the University of Alaska statewide system (in Ketchikan and Sitka), and focuses on general liberal arts education. The university proper offers certificate, associate of arts, associate of applied science, baccalaureate, professional, and master's degree programs in the applied areas of business, fisheries, liberal arts, science, public administration, and teacher education. The university's two-year and certificate program in vocational and technical education supplies employees for local business and industry.

Libraries and Research Centers

The 18,000 square foot Juneau Public Library has a unique design built upon a parking garage in a beautiful waterfront location, with holdings of about 70,000 volumes. In March 2005 it began offering the Alaska Library Network Catalog (ALNCAT) which provides access to all state libraries' collections. The Juneau Public Library and its two branches are part of the Capital City Libraries consortium, a cooperative catalog and circulation system shared with the Alaska State Library since 1989, the University of Alaska Southeast Egan Library, the Juneau-Douglas High School Library, and the Alyeska Central School Library. Holders of library cards at one of these libraries may borrow from any of the others and have access to library resources from home.

Other libraries in the city include the Alaska State Libraries, Archives & Museums, which encompass legislative information, policy issues and Alaskan history; the U.S. Bureau of Mines Library (with a collection of more than 20,000 publications); the U.S. Forest Service Library; the Alaska Historical Library; and other state level governmental libraries.

Public Library Information: Juneau Public Libraries, 292 Marine Way, Juneau, AK 99801; telephone (907)586-5249

Juneau: History

views updated May 29 2018

Juneau: History

In the late 1800s when gold prospecting began in the Gastineau Channel region, the area was a fishing ground for local Tlingit Native Americans. A mining engineer from Sitka, George Pilz, offered a reward to any local native chief who could show him the site of gold-bearing ore. After Chief Kowee of the Auk Tlingit arrived in Sitka with ore samples from the Gastineau Channel, Pilz outfitted Joseph Juneau and Richard Harris for a trip to investigate the lode.

The prospectors reached the area in 1880, and although they found gold samples, they did not follow the gold to its source. After their return to Sitka, Pilz sent them out again. On the second trip Harris and Juneau climbed Snow Slide Gulch at the head of Gold Creek and observed the mother lode of Quartz Gulch, and Silver Bow Basin. They staked a 160-acre town site on the beach. By the next year more than 100 prospectors had arrived in the settlement, which was later named in honor of Joseph Juneau.

Within a few years, Juneau grew to a center for large-scale hard-rock mining, and tunnels and shafts wound through the surrounding hills. Two great mills were developed, the Alaska-Juneau at the south end of the city and the Alaska-Gastineau at Thane.

In May 1882 John Treadwell established the Alaska Mill & Mining Company with the construction of a five-stamp mill. The Treadwell Gold Mining Company produced more than $70 million of gold before it closed. Treadwell's production peaked in 1915, but a 1917 flooding of three of its mines after a cave-in spelled its demise. The Alaska-Gastineau closed in 1921 when operations became too expensive. The final big mill, Alaska-Juneau, folded in 1944 as a result of high prices and labor shortages due to World War II.

By the beginning of the twentieth century, Juneau had become a transportation and regional trading center. It assumed the title of Alaska's capital in 1906 following its transfer from Sitka. In 1931 the Federal and Territorial Building, now the State Capitol Building, was constructed. Juneau has remained the state capital despite attempts to move the capital elsewhere. In 2005 the city announced its desire to build a modern, $100 million facility to replace the aging Capitol Building. Today, governmentlocal, state or federalemploys one out of every two workers and tourism is the largest private-sector employer in Juneau. A federally recognized Native American tribe lives within the Juneau community.

With its vast natural wonders, temperate climate, and position as the capital city, Juneau has the foundation for a long-term prosperous community as can be seen in its population growth since 1980. The Juneau Economic Development Council has programs in place to create positive business conditions for new and existing companies.

Historical Information: Juneau-Douglas City Museum, 155S. Seward St., Juneau, AK 99801; telephone (907)586-3572; email marypat[email protected]

Juneau: Population Profile

views updated May 17 2018

Juneau: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents (City is considered a Metropolitan Area)

1980: 19,528

1990: 26,751

2000: 30,711

Percent change, 19902000: 14.8%

U.S. rank in 1980: Not reported

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: Not reported

City Residents

1980: 19,528

1990: 26,751

2000: 30,711

2003 estimate: 31,187

Percent change, 19902000: 14.8%

U.S. rank in 1980: Not reported

U.S. rank in 1990: 1,013th

U.S. rank in 2000: 989th (State rank: 2nd)

Density: 11.3 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 22,969

Black or African American: 248

American Indian and Alaska Native: 3,496

Asian: 1,438

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 116

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 1,040

Other: 323

Percent of residents born in state: 38.0% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 2,003

Population 5 to 9 years old: 2,339

Population 10 to 14 years old: 2,541

Population 15 to 19 years old: 2,321

Population 20 to 24 years old: 1,686

Population 25 to 34 years old: 4,286

Population 35 to 44 years old: 5,781

Population 45 to 54 years old: 5,514

Population 55 to 59 years old: 1,456

Population 60 to 64 years old: 916

Population 65 to 74 years old: 1,084

Population 75 to 84 years old: 615

Population 85 years and older: 169 Median age: 35.3 years

Births (2003)

Total number: 400

Deaths (20002002)

Total number: 428 (of which, 12 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $26,719

Median household income: $62,034

Total households: 11,534

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 404

$10,000 to $14,999: 407

$15,000 to $24,999: 974

$25,000 to $34,999: 1,111

$35,000 to $49,999: 1,653

$50,000 to $74,999: 2,525

$75,000 to $99,999: 2,183

$100,000 to $149,999: 1,625

$150,000 to $199,999: 390

$200,000 or more: 262

Percent of families below poverty level: 3.7% (29.2% of which were female householder families with related children under 5)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: Not reported


views updated May 29 2018


Juneau: Introduction
Juneau: Geography and Climate
Juneau: History
Juneau: Population Profile
Juneau: Municipal Government
Juneau: Economy
Juneau: Education and Research
Juneau: Health Care
Juneau: Recreation
Juneau: Convention Facilities
Juneau: Transportation
Juneau: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1880, incorporated, 1970

Head Official: Mayor Bruce Botelho (NP) (since 2003)

City Population

1980: 19,528

1990: 26,751

2000: 30,711

2003 estimate: 31,187

Percent change, 19902000: 14.8%

U.S. rank in 1980: Not reported

U.S. rank in 1990: 1,013th

U.S. rank in 2000: 989th (State rank: 2nd)

Metropolitan Area Population (City is considered a Metropolitan Area)

1980: 19,528

1990: 26,751

2000: 30,711

Percent change, 19902000: 14.8%

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: Not reported

Area: 3,255 square miles (2000; Borough)

Elevation: Ranges from sea level to 3,800 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 41.9° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 91.32 inches

Major Economic Sectors: Government, services

Unemployment rate: 7.2% (January 2005)

Per Capita Income: $26,719 (1999)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: Not reported

Major Colleges and Universities: University of Alaska Southeast

Daily Newspaper: Juneau Empire

Juneau: Communications

views updated Jun 11 2018

Juneau: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

Juneau Empire is the city's daily newspaper and Inside Passage, the official newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Juneau, is produced biweekly from September through May and monthly from June to August.

Television and Radio

ABC and PBS television stations are based in Juneau. Cable television is available, and there are five AM and FM radio stations broadcasting news, adult contemporary music, public radio, and album-oriented rock.

Media Information: Juneau Empire, Morris Communications Corp., 3100 Channel Dr., Juneau, AK 99801; telephone (907)586-3740; (907)586-9097

Juneau Online

Alaska Communications Systems. Available www.acs alaska.com

Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Research & Analysis Section. Available almis.labor.state.ak.us

Alaska State Library. Available www.library.state.ak.us

Alaska State Museum. Available www.museums.state.ak.us/asmhome.html

City of Juneau Home Page. Available www.juneau.org

Juneau Borough Schools. Available www.jsd.k12.ak.us

Juneau Chamber of Commerce. Available www.juneau chamber.com

Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau. Available www.traveljuneau.com or www.juneau.com

Juneau Economic Development Council. Available www.jedc.org

Juneau Empire. Available www.juneauempire.com

Juneau Public Library. Available www.juneau.org/library/index.php

State of Alaska. Available www.state.ak.us

Selected Bibliography

Alaska Natural History Association. Juneau Trails: Guide to the Trails of Juneau, Alaska, telephone Forest Service Information Center at (907)586-8751

Discover Southeast Alaska with Pack and Paddle, published by The Mountaineers of Seattle, telephone (800)284-8554

Raban, Jonathan. Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings (New York: Pantheon Books, 1999)

Juneau: Geography and Climate

views updated May 23 2018

Juneau: Geography and Climate

The city of Juneau is located on the mainland of southeastern Alaska's Panhandle on the narrow southeastern strip bordering the Canadian province of British Columbia, approximately 1,000 miles northwest of Seattle, Washington. Most of the city lies on the mainland of Alaska, although Douglas Island, which is connected by a bridge, is also part of Juneau. The Gastineau Channel separates the island from the main part of the city, which is surrounded by the Tongass National Forest. The city climbs the tree-lined slopes of Mount Roberts and Mount Juneau, which rise from the water's edge to more than 3,500 feet.

The city has a mild, rainy climate with a year-round ice-free harbor. The Pacific Ocean currents temper the weather, and average summer temperatures are in the 60s with many days reaching into the high 70s or low 80s. Juneau's winters are comparable to those of Minneapolis or Chicago.

Area: 3,255 square miles (Borough, 2000)

Elevation: Ranges from sea level to 3,800 feet

Average Temperatures: January, 23.0° F; July, 56.0° F; annual average, 41.9° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 91.32 inches

Juneau: Transportation

views updated May 21 2018

Juneau: Transportation

Approaching the City

Juneau International Airport covers 80,000 square feet of land and is serviced daily by Alaska Airlines. The city is about a two-hour flight north from Seattle, or approximately a 90-minute flight southeast from Anchorage. In 2005 a study was in process to determine the specific renovations needed to modernize the aging facility. Juneau has no direct road and rail links. The Alaska Marine Highway ferry system provides car and passenger connections into Juneau from other southeast communities, as well as Bellingham, Washington (a two and one-half day trip) and Prince Rupert, British Columbia (a 24-hour trip). The ferries have staterooms, observation decks, cocktail lounges, and heated solariums. A variety of regional air taxi services and chartered flights are available to nearby attractions and smaller towns. Barge lines serve Juneau from Seattle several times per week. Power boats, sailboats, and kayaks are also available to rent for trips to the Inside Passage.

Traveling in the City

Egan Drive is one of the major streets in Juneau, running from one end of town to the other and following the shoreline of the Gastineau Channel. The downtown area is divided into a grid with Main Street crossing the numbered streets and passing the Capitol building and other major sites. Bus service is provided by the Capitol Transit line with 16 buses in its fleet. Buses and vans meet every ferry from mid-April to the end of September, providing inexpensive service to downtown and the airport. Local air taxi operators fly both wheel and float planes.

Juneau: Introduction

views updated May 21 2018

Juneau: Introduction

The city and borough of Juneau is one of Alaska's most popular tourist destinations and one of the state's most important ports. Juneau is unique in that it is accessible only by air and sea. Annually, more than 800,000 cruise-ship passengers visit the city between May and September. Many are surprised to find a vibrant community with professional theater, museums, art galleries, and historical sites in a small-town atmosphere. The area has a temperate climate with weather on par with that of Seattle. Juneau had been one of the world's major gold mining areas until the 1940s when costs outstripped the value of the gold; however, the industry has had a resurgence with a significant project having gained approval in 2005. The city's economy relies heavily on the government workers who make up the majority of the work force, along with fishermen, loggers, and miners. Nearby Glacier Bay, Admiralty Island, and the Juneau Icefield offer spectacular scenery, and sightseeing flights are available year-round.