Belying its personality these days as a quiet, offbeat Alaskan getaway, Tenakee was once populated by rough-hewn miners and cannery workers whose lawlessness required the presence of a U.S. marshal and construction of a jail. Before modern refrigeration and icing techniques aboard fishing boats, canneries by necessity were located close to fishing grounds at places like Tenakee and Pelican. They were sited near fresh-water streams for use of water for cleaning fish. A saltery for preserving fish located on Tenakee Inlet across from town was followed in 1916 by construction of a large, Superior Packing Company plant at the mouth of the inlet. It operated into the 1960s, last used for packing crab and shrimp. Two other canneries - Columbia Salmon Company and Salt Sea Fisheries - also operated on local shores. Totem Seafoods, the town’s last cannery, operated from 1949 to 1974. Its remnant buildings stand today on Tenakee Avenue. Although most cannery structures are gone, the trail extending east of Tenakee remains as a remnant of this era, when workers wouldn’t hesitate to hike four miles for a taste of town attractions.

Getting There

Coordinates
Latitude: 58.12894
Longitude: -135.461862