|Remote property anyone?|
Hardly anything was known of Alaska's interior when it was sold by the Russians to the US in 1867. The American public at the time thought it was such a waste of money to spend $7.2 million dollars on something so remote, so vast and so unexplored. Yet after a few year's time, Alaska would prove itself to be a goldmine of natural wealth and incredible beauty. The Russians must now be regretting that sale.
Deep in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve (the largest national park in the US and part of UNESCO's World Heritage List) lies the two little towns of McCarthy and Kennicot. These are two communities that emerged as a result of mining. Lured by the feverish "gold rush", two prospectors found copper ore in August 1900 on a mountain ridge just above Kennicot. Copper was in high demand and so began those wild happy days.
|Christian faith for the less than 50 residents of McCarthy|
|Summer shuttle services are regularly scheduled between McCarthy & Kennicot|
When the Kennecot Mines was closed for good, it was left just the way it was since shipping equipments out were too expensive. Over the years, there were initial efforts to destroy the crumbling structures but this was never completed and most of what lies there now is what's left for visitors to see. In 1986, the area (including the buildings) was declared a National Historic Landmark. The National Park Service now oversee management and rehabilitation of remaining structures.
|McCarthy's Main Street|
On the other side, hugging Ruth Glacier's terminal moraine, McCarthy continues to survive as a sleepy town. Permanent residents are currently 46 people, ballooning only in the summer to about 200+ when temporary workers like guides, waiters, bartenders, - all catering to visitors of course - come in from different parts of continental US. Thanks to this tourism boom, both McCarthy and Kennicot has found another lucrative "copper mine".
|Before there were cars|
|Listening to a bartender's story at the Golden Saloon|
(Note: Trip was arranged by Get Up and Go!, a locally-owned adventure tour company based in Anchorage, Alaska)