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Location/Climate: 80 miles northeast of Ketchikan at the head of Portland Creek. 78"/yr. precip., 25°F 57°F.
Population: Hyder138 (1 percent native); Stewart2,300.
Travel Attractions: Misty Fiords National Monument access, Portland Canal, mining roads and ruins, hiking, alpine access, glacier access, river running, kayaking.
Getting There: Vehicle access via B.C. Highway 37A, from Cassiar Highway; weekly ferry service from Ketchikan; charter and regular small-plane air service.
Information: Stewart Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 306, Stewart, B.C. VOT 1WO, (604) 636-9224, www.stewartbchyderak.homestead.com/homepage.html; Stewart Museum, 6th Street at Columbia, (604) 636-2568; Hyder Community Association, P.O. Box 149, Hyder, AK 99923, (604) 636-9148.Located at the head of the 70-mile-long Portland Canal, the towns of Stewart and Hyder are accessible by A.M.H.S. ferry or by the beautiful, 41-mile B.C. Highway 37A, which connects to the Cassiar Highway at Meziadin Junction. The ferry route passes along the Alaska-Canada border with the designated wilderness of Misty Fiords National Monument to the east and the similarly wild country of British Columbia to the west.
Stewart is the real town of the two with a population of about 2,300, while Hyder, with its 138 official residents, bills itself as "the friendliest ghost town in Alaska." Canadian currency is the standard on both sides of the border. Police, phone, and school services for both towns are based in Canada. There is no border station between the two towns, which are separated by about 2 miles of roadway. Hyder is located on the Salmon River near the point of land where the Salmon meets the Bear River at the head of the Portland Canal. Stewart lies a bit to the north on the shores of the Bear.
Both towns exist because of mining. Hyder sprouted as a supply point for miners working lodes discovered on Canadas upper Salmon River in the late 1890s. More veins were located in the region and Hyder grew through the boom years of the 1920s. Until it closed in 1948, the Premier Mine was the largest gold mine in the country. Large-scale mining continued until 1984, but has ceased in the region for the present. Stewart now serves mainly as a timber processing and shipping point, while Hyder depends largely on tourism.
While in the area, consider a visit to Bear River Glacier, 23 miles from Stewart on Highway 37A. The road takes you close to a berg-dotted lake at the foot of this outstanding river of ice. Four miles north of Hyder by road, Fish Creek offers fishing for record chum salmon and good bear-viewing possibilities.
In town, you can enjoy the mining-heritage exhibits and get area information at the Stewart Museum. Call the Stewart Forest Service office for information on area trails, (604) 636-2663. See the appendix for outfitters and tour providers.
Where to Stay and Eat in Hyder and Stewart
Bitter Creek Cafe, 5th Avenue, Stewart, (250) 636-2166. Salads, pasta, seafood, pizza, Mexican.
Kathy's Korner B&B, 503 Main Street, Hyder, (250) 636-2393, firstname.lastname@example.org, $50 to $75 (U.S.)
Rainy Mountain Bakery & Deli, Stewart, (250) 636-2777. Deli, coffeeshop, courtyard.
Sealaska Inn & Camp Run-A-Muck, Hyder, (888) 393-1199, (250) 636-9006, www.sealaskainn.com, email@example.com. Motel, campground (some sites with water and electric). $25 to $45 motel, $8 to $22 camping.