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Ketchikan's three big totem collections ... easy to get to.

Ketchikan's three big totem collections . . . easy to get to

If you're crusing to Ketchikan this summer,be sure to visit the area's powerful collections of Indian totem poles and other carvings.

They's grouped in three places: TotemBight State Historical Park, 10 miles north of town; Totem Heritage Center, 1/2 mile south; and a park in the Tlingit Indian village of Saxman, 3 miles south.

Bus or van tours to all three are timed tocruise ships' arrivals. But if you have a party of four or more, you can make arrangements for other times, or you can go on your own in a rental car or cab (about $30 for an hour's hire).

Totem Bight State Historical Park. At thisbayside replica of a coastal Indian village, 14 poles and carvings as well as a dimly lit clan house line a 1/4-mile trail at the edge of Tongass Narrown. Incorporating images of ravens, eagles, beaver, bear, and wolf, the carvings depict Haida and Tlingit legends. A free brochure, available at the park's ranger station, explains each one. Admission is free; the park is open from sunrise to sunset.

Totem Heritage Center. Here, just a 15-minutewalk from the boat dock, you can see 33 carvings from old Haida and Tlingit villages and listen to lectures on totem history and symbolism. The center, at 601 Deermount Street, is open 1 to 5 on Sundays, 9 to 5 other days, June through September--or by arrangement when cruise ships are in port. Admission is $1 (included in bus tour price).

Saxman Totem Park. Last spring inSaxman, two clans of Tlingits--the Ravens and the Eagles--raised a totem pole carved by renowned Tlingit artist Nathan Jackson. On the 2 1/2-hour bus tour, available June through September, you'll see more than 20 poles, and you can watch carving demonstrations at a totem workshop, jewelry-making by village elders, and traditional dancing by the Cape Fox Dancers.

Saxman's carvings--some more than acentury old--were collected from abandoned villages at Cape Fox and Fort Tongass, and burial grounds on Pennock and Cat islands. Massive raven and wolf figures guard the entrance stairs; others soar high, encircling the park. For new poles will be installed this spring; a clan house is to be finished in early June.

The park is always open; admission is free.Guided tours ($5) start at the visitor center next to the park, open 9 to 5 Mondays through Saturdays.

For information on bus and van tours tothe totem parks, write to Ketchikan Visitors Bureau, 131 Front St., Ketchikan 99901; (907) 225-6166.

Or get in touch with the tour firms directly.For tours including Totem Bight and Totem Heritage Center ($18 adults, $9 ages 12 and under), write or call Gray Line of Alaska, Box 5097, Ketchikan 99901, 225-5930; or Alaska Sightseeing, 303 Mission St., 225-2740. For tours including Saxman and Totem Heritage Center ($25 adults, $12.50 ages 12 and under), check with Royal Highway Tours, 255 76th St. S.E., Mercer Island, Wash.; (206) 441-8428.

Cruise ship passengers can usually buythe tour packages on board.

Photo: Big-beaked havengets a close-up look in recently enlarged Saxman Totem Park near Ketchikan. Behind the visitors, three carved bears shinny down an eagle-topped totem pole
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Alaska
Date:Aug 1, 1987
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