|Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve
with Elston and Jackline Hill
Our week long stay in Haines was timed to coincide with the 16th Annual Alaska Bald Eagle Festival in Haines, Alaska.
This was not a crowded affair. Haines is a small town and the eagle festival is rather small as well. There is no national car
rental service, nor are there any national motel or restaurant chains. The Eagle Preserve is located 19 miles north of
Haines. We rented a Subaru from the Captain's Choice motel and spent most of our seven days along the banks of the
Chilkat River near mile point 19, the major eagle gather point.
Each November there is a gathering of eagles at the Chilkat River reputed to be the largest gathering of bald eagles on the
planet with an estimated gathering of 3,500 bald eagles. They are attracted to the Chilkat River by the last salmon
migration of the season. The salmon have learned that because of an up flow of warmer water in the vicinity of mile 19, this
is one of the last sections of river to freeze up, which results in the last fish migration of the season and a last feast of the
season for the eagles.
Those familiar with the Chilkat agreed that this was an unusually warm fall and that the number of eagles this year was
dramatically less than prior years. Normally, we were told, the river freezes upstream forcing all the eagles to gather in the
vicinity of Mile 19.Or, others told us, the salmon run had not been as good this year. All we know is that we were blown
away by the number of eagles we observed.
Click any of the links below to go to a page about this trip. The easiest way to see the whole trip is to click the first link and
then click the link at the bottom of each page to continue through the complete narrative.
This was a great trip, something we highly recommend.
Haines is a town with character, unlike the town of Skagway around the corner. The people are friendly. The lodging and
restaurants are quite reasonable.
We stayed at the Summer Inn B&B in Haines which was quite satisfactory. We also heard many nice comments about
Captain's Choice Motel.
In November, you should fly to Juneau and take the ferry to Haines as the small planes are very unreliable at this time of
year because of the weather.
The best part of the trip was traveling with my photo assistant.