is a city located in the Southeastern Panhandle
region of Alaska. With aproximately 15,000 people, it is the fourth largest city in the state, directly behind Juneau
. Ketchikan is located on Revillagegado Island (or Revilla as locals refer to it). Ketchikan is the first port that ships traveling Northwards can stop at, earning it the nickname "The First City".
Ketchikan lacks a road connection to somewhere else, so all incoming and outgoing traffic must go through either the airport (and Alaska Airlines), or by sea. Sea travel could mean anything from huge barges, the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system, or any private boat that wants to dock in one of the harbors. There is an underwater fiber optic cable connection that keeps Ketchikan connected to the Internet and phone lines.
Ketchikan is built almost entirely into the side of a very steep island. The city's depth is realistically only a few blocks, but it stretches for 12 miles end to end along the waterfront. The hills in the downtown residential areas are very steep.
About half of the population lives within the city limits, in houses crunched into the sides of the hills. Another large portion of the population lives along the North Tongass Highway, which stretches for a good 20 miles past city limits. Another large portion lives along South Tongass Highway, which stretches Southward for about 15 miles. Four miles South of the city lies Saxman, a small township, predominantly Alaskan Native(population of 700). Saxman is considered part of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, however. Located past a large set of hills behind Ketchikan (which can be driven over via the Schoenbar Bypass), lies Bear Valley, a very large subdivision.
Ketchikan's economy used to be based on three things; timber, fishing, and tourism. The recent closure of the pulp mill left the timber industry in Ketchikan nearly nonexistent. After having that near-miss with an economic crisis, the city concentrated more on it's tourism and fishing industry, and is currently doing fairly well economically. Ketchikan's tourism industry brings in thousands of tourists each year on huge cruise ships, from cruise lines such as Holland America, Princess, and several others. Residents occaisionally become irate when the tourists clog the one main highway that goes through town, but the residents have learned to live with it over the years.
Ketchikan is one of the rainiest spots in the Continental United States, as it is located in the Tongass National Forest, the largest rain forest, and the largest National Forest in North America.