Haines is located on the shores of the Lynn Canal on the Chilkat Peninsula between the Chilkoot and Chilkat Rivers. The town is bordered by the spectacular Chilkat Mountain Range on the west and the Coast Range on the east. The historic routes to the Klondike gold fields - the Chilkat, Chilkoot and White Pass - are to the north of the community.
Haines is 85 air miles north of the capital city of Juneau and about 600 air miles southeast of Anchorage and Fairbanks. It is connected by road to the interior of Alaska and the continental United States by the Alaska Canada (Alcan) Highway. See the Haines Map page on the Haines Community website.
Map © Dave Nanney
The Tlingit Indians were the original inhabitants of the Chilkat Valley. These Natives controlled the trade routes (trails) between the coast and the interior, which became some of today's roads. The village of Klukwan, 22 miles from Haines, is still the mother village for the Tlingit nation. Their culture and totemic art is seen throughout the community of Haines.
Sheldon Jackson, a Prebyterian missionary in Sitka, was asked by local Tlingits to build mission schools for each of the local villages. In 1879, Missionary S. Hall Young and Naturalist John Muir traveled to Yendustucky (the village near today's airport) where the site for a mission was chosen. The area was known as Dei Shu meaning "end of the trail". In 1881, the Chilkat Mission was estabalished by Eugene and Caroline Willard. It was later renamed Haines in honor of the Secretary of the Presbyterian Women's Executive Society of Home Missions, Mrs. F.E. Haines, who had raised funds for the mission.
Well known historical figure and entrepreneur, Jack Dalton, following a Tlingit trade route, established a freight trail to the gold fields of the interior during the mid 1890's. The Dalton Trail, as it became known, reached over the Chilkat Pass and followed the same general route you now drive on the Haines Highway.
At the beginning of the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1890's, Haines grew as a mining supply center. As the U.S.-Canada boundary dispute heated during the Klondike Gold Rush, Ft. William H. Seward was commissioned in 1898 as a U.S. military presence. Garrisoned in 1903, the army post became a major component of Haines economy, until it was deactivated after WW II. The fort was purchased by a group of veterans and today is a National Historic Landmark. The fort buildings are now lovely residences, hotels, bed & breakfasts and arts centers.
Haines enjoys a mild climate and some of the sunniest weather in Southeast Alaska due to the influence of interior weather patterns. Temperatures range from +50 to 70 degrees F in the summer and +10 to +35 degrees F in winter. Average annual precipitation is 52" and average annual snowfall is 133". See the Haines Community Website for detailed weather report.
In the 2004 census of the Haines Borough population was 2,245. (State Demographer estimate).
In recent history the Haines economy has been based on commercial fishing, timber, government, tourism and construction. Tourism is a growing industry in the area, as many independent travelers use the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry System and the Haines Highway to and from the interior of Alaska and the Continental United States.
Haines also promotes the scenic beauty of its surroundings, the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, its native heritage and outdoor recreation.
Local Government & Taxation
Until 2002, the first class City of Haines and 3rd class Haines Borough were separate municipalities. In the fall of 2002, residents voted to consolidate these governments and formed the Home Rule Haines Borough. This action consolidated the former City of Haines with the Service Area and the surrounding population centers in outlying areas that had no powers of planning and zoning. This transition and consolidation had been completed in spring of 2004. This document plan is designed to serve as a guide for citizens and civic decision-makers concerning land use, growth and development and enhancement of the quality of life for residents and to the community.
Haines Borough Local Tax Revenue
Sales Tax: 5.5%
Property Tax: 6.31 - 11.55 mils
Lodging Tax: 4%
Real property valuation: $176,587,348
P.O. Box 1209
Haines, AK 99827
907-766-2231 Ext. 22
The Haines Borough School District is operated by the Borough. There is an elementary, middle school and high school. Average class size is 20 to 25 students. Additionally, there is a school twenty-seven miles from the city at Mosquito Lake. This location has kindergarten through 4th grade.
In addition to the classroom teachers, there are certified staff members in special education, physical education, vocal and instrumental music, art, vocational education and computers. Haines High School students consistently score above the national average on standardized tests. A high percentage of graduates pursue some form of higher education and approximately 1% or less drop out of school. The High School building includes the main classroom building, vocational shops, gymnasium and swimming pool. Outdoor facilities include a track and field. The school facilities are also used for many community activities, adult education classes, sports and recreation.
Employment in Haines can best be described as seasonal with many jobs dependent on tourism, timber and fishing. The commercial fishermen operate gillnet boats, sometimes requiring an extra crewman. There is no cannery in Haines. The governments and particularly the school system employ a number of people, and the tourism and service sectors are growing. There is a thriving retail sector in Haines.
Generally wages in Haines are lower than comparable positions in Juneau, Anchorage or Seattle. A job service is not availabe in Haines, however, you may contact the Alaska Department of Labor at 907-465-4562 for more information.
SEARHC Haines Medical Clinic, a private non-profit corporation, operates the medical clinic with doctors and a staff of nurses. Patients may receive both primary care and emergency service. Juneau, AK; Seattle, WA; and Whitehorse, Canada offer facilities to those who require more intensive care.
Haines has two full-time dentists, an acupuncturist, a home health care provider, physcial therapist, pharmacy and an itinerant eye doctor. There is also a public health nurse and a state supported mental health clinic.
Rentals range from $500 to $1,200 per month. Rentals are usually full in the summer. Property is always on the market in Haines. Townsite lots cost between $12,000 and $60,000. View lots $50,000 to 250,000. Acreage outside of townsite area varies from $1100 per acre to $25,000 depending on location, view, topography and utilities. There is no homesteading in Haines.
There are 11 churches in the community of Haines. Ten are denominational and one is non-denominational.
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints -- Near Fort Seward, on Mud Bay Road at its intersection with Small Tracts Road.
Box 622, 766-2379
Haines Baptist Church -- Location: Downtown at the corner of 1st Avenue & Mission Street.
Box 1245, 766-2313
Haines Christian Center -- Assembly of God, downtown at the corner of 2nd Avenue North & Union Street.
Box 730, 766-2126
Haines Cornerstone Foursquare Gospel Church -- Meets downstairs in the Chilkat Center for the Arts in historic Fort Seward
Box 588, 766-3141 or 766-2327
Haines Presbyterian Church -- Downtown on the property of the original Haines Mission, at 228 First Avenue South.
Box 264, 766-2377
Klukwan Assembly of God Church -- At Klukwan Village, 22 Mile, Haines Highway.
Box 442, 767-5544
Port Chilkoot Bible Church -- Non-denominational, in historic Fort Seward at the corner of Fort Seward Drive & Portage Street.
Box 156, 766-2629
Sacred Heart Catholic Church -- Downtown at the corner of 3rd Avenue North & Dalton Street
Box 326, 766-2241
Saint Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church -- Meets in the lobby of the Chilkat Center for the Arts in historic Fort Seward
Box 1236, 766-3041
The Salvation Army -- Downtown at the corner of 5th Avenue North & Union Street.
Box 550, 766-2470
Seventh Day Adventist
Valley Community Church of the Nazarene -- 31.5 mile, Haines Highway. HC 60 Box 3151
Cost of Living
Average Lunch: $7.00 - $9.00 (not including tip & tax)
Cable TV Subscription: $41.36+ up./Month
Residential: $0.3721 Per KWH
Business: $0.3389 Per KWH + $15.00 flat rate customer charge
Home Heating Oil:
Grocery: Allow $300.00 per month/per adult
Ladies Hairstyle: $25.50
Men's Haircut: $17.50
Medical Clinic Office Call: $90.00 - $130.00
Propane: $3.35/Gal. Delivered
Taxes: 5.5% Sales Tax on all purchases (including food)
Telephone: $30.00/Mo. Base Residential Rate
Trash Collection: $50.00/Mo. Base Residential Rate (2 cans)
Water/Sewer: $65.10/Month Residential Rate
Haines has an indoor swimming pool, track, two ball diamonds and two gymnasiums. Additionally there are four public parks, including the 6,045 acre Chilkat State Park. The 48,000 acre Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve is 9 miles from Haines.
Numerous hiking trails and cross country ski trails of varying difficulty are available. Sportfishing, snowmobiling and dogsledding are also popular sports.
See the Events Page for a complete listing of this year's events.
Air: Haines is served by two air taxi firms providing multiple daily flights to and from Juneau by small plane from the Haines Airport runway. -- See Air Services
Road: The Haines Highway connects to the Alaska Canada Highway (Alcan) at Haines Junction, Yukon Territory, 150 miles northwest of Haines.
Water: Haines is the northern terminus of the Alaska Marine Highway System which provides year round passenger and vehicle service from Bellingham, Washington, Prince Rupert, B.C. and Juneau, Alaska. Additionally during the summer season, passenger-only fast ferries operate between Haines and Skagway, and Haines and Juneau.