The community of Wrangell in Southeast Alaska is undergoing some major economic changes. Wrangell is transitioning from a town where most employment centered around a sawmill to one that’s more diversified into sectors such as tourism, fishing and recreation.Although there’s work still to be done, local officials say Wrangell is on the right track and they’re proud of some smart investments the city has made in marine services, harbor upgrades, convention and visitor services, and improvements to the downtown corridor.
A clan house restoration project is also getting close to completion along with the construction of a new carving shed, projects that are fostering “a real cultural reawakening,” said Tis Peterman, project development director for the Wrangell Cooperative Association, a federally recognized tribe.
As the economy has recovered the tone of public discourse in Wrangell has also improved, according to several Wrangell residents. People from diverse backgrounds are more inclined to work cooperatively.
“Wrangell has an exciting alignment of people working together to try to do some new and innovation things for the local economy. It’s not everyday that you get environmental organizers working side by side with Forest Service officials, forest products people and tourism business owners to make economic change happen,” said Karen Hardigg, who serves as a liaison between the Forest Service and conservation groups.
Read an article about what’s happening in Wrangell in the December 2012 issue of Alaska Business Monthly here.