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Alaska Icons: Totem Poles

The checklist is impressive: not many states can list the continent’s tallest mountain, one of the country’s longest rivers, Santa Claus’ home and America’s national symbol on their "must do and see" list. They all exist in Alaska, and you can see them all in one trip. From the Southeast Inside Passage to Fairbanks to the tip of the Kenai Peninsula, here are Alaska’s 15 most famous icons.

Totem Poles Beginning in Ketchikan and extending north throughout many of the Southeast Alaska Inside Passage communities, totemic art can be found in galleries and ancient totems tower among the trees and rest in museums.

Sitka is home to Sitka National Historic Park, which boasts a collection of totems near the visitor center and along the walking trail. The pieces, primarily from Prince of Wales Island, were on display at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition. Ketchikan has the Totem Heritage Center, which houses 33 totems retrieved from deserted Tlingit and Haida Villages. The Center is a national landmark and is the largest such collection in the United States. To get to either of these destinations, drive north to Prince Rupert, British Columbia and catch the Alaska state ferry, or take a cruise ship shore excursion.


Sitka is home to Sitka National Historic Park
Sitka is home to Sitka National Historic Park



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Source: Alaska TIA; magazineUSA.com & magazinUSA.com
Last modified: 20070909
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