Quality of Life

Housing

Housing in Skagway is overwhelmed in the summer months due to the influx of seasonal business owners and their employees. This situation is partly due to the lack of large tracts of available land for residential development. In 2007, the City of Skagway received patent to 930 acres of its municipal entitlement lands. The priority tract for subdivision is the 405 acres from Dyea Point to the Taiya River Bridge.  A subdivision survey was completed in 2010 and it is expected that lots will slowly become available for sale over the course of several years.  The first tract of 8 lots went up for sale in 2010 with the last lot in this group being sold in 2014.

The quality of housing in Skagway is high and ranges from historic gold rush era homes to modern architecturally designed homes with magnificent mountain and fjord views. A city lot (100′ x 50′) is currently bringing in around $90,000.  Prices for single family homes are currently ranging between $220,000 – $500,000. For more information contact SDC or visit the Skagway News website and click on Classifieds.

Public Safety

The crime rate in Skagway is extremely low and its residents are free to live in a safe and secure environment. The community is a wonderful place to raise a family with little concern for criminal misconduct.

Summary of Police Activity – Skagway 2000-2004

2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
5 Year
Average
Arrests:
46
61
30
40
58
47.0
U/21 with Alcohol
6
6
6
11
23
10.4
Traffic Accidents
37
29
29
22
30
29.4
D.U.I.
8
17
9
11
16
12.2
Traffic Citations
154
176
218
536
412
299.2
Calls Received
4,156
6,359
7,612
13,131
9,495
8,151

Source: Skagway Police Department, 2001 to 2005 Annual Reports

Recreation

Skagway is at the start of the historic Chilkoot Trail which follows the footsteps of the gold rush stampeders and ends at Bennet Lake in British Columbia. The Trail (33 mi) is a favorite amongst both experienced and amateur hikers and is said to be the longest museum in the world. In addition to the Chilkoot Trail, Skagway has a world class trail system with a wide range of hiking trails and water routes with varying difficulty. Most of the trails in Skagway are accessible year round. These trails range from coastal strolls to strenuous alpine ascents up to 5,000 feet. A short car ride up the Klondike Highway will take the adventure bound to limitless hiking, canoeing and biking during the summer while in the winter months endless skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling opportunities abound.

For the sports enthusiast, Skagway provides many outlets for recreation.  The Elks Lodge Bowling Alley has two lanes open year round. There is also a very competitive bowling league during the winter. The summer soft ball league is a favorite pastime among seasonal and year round residents alike. Skagway hosts a 4th of July softball tournament, with visitors from Haines, Juneau, and Whitehorse. In turn, Whitehorse hosts a yearly tournament that is heavily attended by Skagway softball players.  In addition to softball, there are several foot and bike relay races throughout the year hosted by Skagway, Whitehorse and Haines.  These annual events have continued to grow in popularity and participation, bringing “drive in” and ferry visitors to Skagway from all over the world.

The Skagway Recreation Center provides multiple outlets for physical fitness. The Recreation Center houses a Gymnasium with full size basketball courts that may be used for volleyball, badminton, and tennis; as well as a 1700 square foot climbing wall. The Recreation Center is also equipped with a fully furnished weight room and cardio room. There is an outdoor skate park and basketball court, which is converted to an ice skating rink during winter months. Furthermore, the Recreation Center offers a wide variety of fitness class. Anyone is welcome to use the Recreation Center for a nominal fee, and memberships may be purchased. Class descriptions and times are published by the recreation center, and may be viewed on the Skagway Recreation Center web site at: www.skagwayrecreation.org.

In addition to hiking trails, Skagway contains numerous parks within the city. Following is a list of Skagway public parks and attractions:

  • Skagway Centennial Park
    1st and Broadway – Statue of Tlingit Packer, Rotary Snowplow #1, time capsule, monuments, orientation signs, native plants, and a covered waiting area with benches.
  • Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
    Skagway Historic District – Seven block corridor along historic Broadway Street containing many restored private and park-owned structures used by business.
  • National Park Service Visitor Center
    2nd and Broadway – houses many gold rush exhibits and railroad photos.
  • Mascot Saloon 
    3rd and Broadway – exhibit about city life in 1898 Moore House – 5th and Spring Street – homestead of first white settlers William and Bernard Moore.
  • Pullen Creek Park 
    Located between small boat harbor and the railroad depot. Fishing and picnicking. Used as fish-rearing stream managed by the Skagway School.
  • Mollie Walsh Park
    Located on 6th Avenue across from the Eagles Hall – a small play park great for kids.
  • Seven Pastures Ball Park Complex 
    2 softball fields, soccer field, BMX track, ATV trails, picnic area, and riverside viewing.

Opportunities are a plenty for fishing (salmon, grayling, pike, dolly varden), shrimping, hunting (goat, black bear) and berry picking (blueberries, salmonberries, raspberries). Skagway also has more fishing and hunting opportunities within a short drive, boat ride or flight away.

Arts and Culture

Gold rush history is a vital aspect of the Skagway community. The Historic District Commission diligently maintains strict appearance requirements for buildings in the historic district, giving the town a “historic” feel for the visitors. The McCabe Building (first stone building in Alaska) began as a boarding school for girls and currently serves as City Hall and Skagway Museum.  After a two year restoration project, the City celebrated its centennial at the building in 2000 and moved the Skagway Museum and Archives into the first floor, and the city offices into the second.

Another favorite attraction is the Arctic Brotherhood Hall. Located on Broadway and unmistakable with its driftwood face, this is Alaska’s most photographed building. Skagway also boasts many museums with various collections including:

Corrington Museum of Alaskan History – 5th and Broadway Skagway Museum and Archives (in the McCabe Building) – East end of 7th Avenue Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park – 2nd & Broadway

Skagway has a wide range of artistic opportunities as well. While Skagway is a small community, the residents are very supportive of artistic endeavors. The Skagway Museum and Archives host various Alaskan and Skagway artist year round. More information about the arts in Skagway can be found on the Made in Skagway page. Moreover, several Skagway organizations hold festivals and events all year for residents to express their creativity. A complete and updated list of Skagway Events is available at the Skagway Convention and Visitor Bureau web site: www.skagway.com

Movie theaters whist not in Skagway are only a short distance away in Whitehorse and Juneau and regularly show first run movies.