Port of Craig
Review and History

The Port of Craig is located on the southwestern shores of Prince of Wales Island in Alaska, some six nautical miles (9 kilometers or 5.5 miles direct) southwest of the Port of Klawock. The Port of Craig is about half way between the Port of Sitka (161 nautical miles) and Prince Rupert Port (156 nautical miles) in Canada. In 2000, almost 1400 people called the Port of Craig home.

The Port of Craig's economy is largely based on fishing and related support businesses. The timber industry also contributes to the local economy through the sawmill. Residents engage in subsistence fishing and hunting, and tourism supports some jobs in the Port of Craig where charter fishing and fishing lodges cater to sports fishers and hunters.

Port History

The original town site for the Port of Craig was a temporary fishing camp where subsistence activities included the gathering of herring eggs. The Port of Craig got its name from Craig Miller who built a fish saltery in 1907 on Fish Egg Island with the help of Haida natives who lived on Prince of Wales Island.

The Haida people are an indigenous nation covering territories in both the United States and Canada. They were well known for their expert seamanship, their inclination towards war, and the practice of slavery. Known as ruthless warriors, they conducted raids as far south as Puget Sound and as far north as Sitka. Canadian anthropologist Diamond Jenness called them the "Indian Vikings of the North West Coast."

In 1922, the Port of Craig was incorporated as a second-class city in the then Alaska Territory. A cold storage plant and packing company were added on the site of the future Port of Craig.

Commercial fishing is largely responsible for the Port of Craig's growth. It became a relatively large community when new settlers arrived in the 1930s to harvest pink salmon. Unfortunately, the populations of salmon were so depleted by the 1950s that the local fishing industry collapsed.

A big sawmill was constructed in the Port of Craig in 1972, offering year-round opportunities for employment. Since then, the commercial fishing industry and fish processing have rallied to make major contributions to the local economy.

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