Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 94 – Rabid Grizzly Rest Area to Hyder Alaska

Today’s Miles: 265
Total Miles to Date: 7422
Miles Remaining: 2602

The road was in fairly good shape so we made it to Hyder, Alaska today.

There has been no cell phone or internet service over the entire route of the Cassiar Highway. We are now at Camp Run-A-Muck RV Park in Hyder. There is no cell phone service here either but the RV Park does have a WiFi Internet service but it is extremely slow.

Steward British Colombia is at the head of the Portland Canal on the AK-BC border. Hyder is 2.3 miles beyond Steward. The only land access to Hyder is through Canada via Canadian Highway 37A, a spur of the Cassiar Highway 37. One must pass through Steward to get to Hyder. There are no banks in Hyder so people and businesses in Hyder, bank in Steward. Therefore Hyder uses Canadian currency. There is a U.S. Post Office in Hyder.

A narrow saltwater fjord approximately 90 miles long forms a national boundary between Alaska and Canada. Prior to the coming of the white man, Nass River Indians new the head of the Portland Canal as “Skam-A-Kounst”, meaning safe place.

In 1896, Captain Gatland explored Portland Canal for the U. S. Corp of Army Engineers. The Stewart brothers arrived in 1902 and in 1905 Robert M. Steward, the first postmaster, named the town Steward. Hyder was first called Portland City. It was renamed Hyder, after Canadian mining engineer Frederick B. Hyder when the U. S. Postmaster told residents that there were already too many cities named Portland.

Gold and silver mining dominated the area and Hyder became an access and supply point for the mines while Stewart served as the center for the Canadian mining activity. Hyder’s economy today is mainly tourism with a little mining and forestry.

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