Small Alaska Town Overrun with Tourists
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Residents of Talkeetna, Alaska, say tourists are crowding their small town and destroying the appeal of the mountain community, Alaska Dispatch News reported.
The hamlet of just 700 year-round residents has hosted about 300,000 tourists this summer, and long-time locals say the influx of visitors is more than they’ve ever seen, the newspaper reported.
While some businesses are thrilled about the deluge of visitors, many residents are frustrated with the tourists, who pay no attention to traffic, posing safety hazards for all in the area, according to the Alaska Dispatch.
Since the late 1990s, Talkeetna has been a stopover for cruise ship passengers traveling to and from Denali National Park, the newspaper said. Cruise companies, such as Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, bring buses and shuttles full of travelers - sometimes hundreds of people - to Talkeetna every day.
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Frontier Gifts owner Lauren Kane told the Dispatch that as many as 500 people get off buses in a parking lot at one time, and they walk all over the road. There is no marked crossing to direct them to the other side of the street, where traffic sometimes moves at 45 mph.
The Talkeetna Community Council is working with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough to come up with solutions, according to the Dispatch.
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