Cheers to 40 Years


Cheers to 40 Years

By Waterfall Resort, Posted 4/26/2022

When you visit Waterfall Resort Alaska, there are 111 years of history. That’s why, the 2021 season of Sport Fishing TV (SFTV) premiered Waterfall Resort on the Discovery Channel, Amazon Prime, Pursuit Network and YouTube with the episode “Old Water.”

In the mid-1980s, we renovated the Waterfall Cannery, which was the biggest of its kind since 1911, into the popular resort it is today. This year, 2022, marks 40 years since the first visit of guests to the resort and 111 years since the original founding of the Alaska Fish Company. 

Waterfall cannery was originally placed on the remote area of Prince of Wales Island, west of Ketchikan on the Inside Passage, due to the highly fertile fishing grounds.  It was these very fishing grounds that helped establish Alaska’s economy. Located on 52 acres of the Tongass Rain Forest, the largest temperate rainforest in the world, the run-off has, in part, fed the fertile ocean waters that attract scores of king, silver, and pink salmon together with halibut and lingcod in the deeper areas.

In 1936, Waterfall Cannery produced 220,000 cases of silver salmon for the year setting a record for any single Alaska cannery. From 1939 to 1945, Waterfall Cannery also proudly supplied canned salmon to WWII Allied Forces.

There are many stories told and untold by the children of workers, the owner’s families and the fishermen who frequented the cannery’s port and who fished the same waters. On our social media, we often hear from these families. 

Over that 111 years, deer and bears have become quite used to people. A walk to our namesake waterfall will prove that. (Due to Fish and Game regulations, we ask that guests do not feed or get friendly with our wild friends.) Old structures, equipment and water ducts that would feed water to the old cannery from the falls provide interesting photo ops along the mile and a half walk.

When visiting our resort, we encourage you to view the Guest Lobby binders that are filled with stories of the cannery, its bears and owners together with historic photos and clippings. Babe’s (our year-around resort maintenance manager) wife, Wanda Wilks, helped compile the contents of the binder. She continues to maintain them with new content that families send us.

Alaska invariably delivers lifelong, inspiring experiences for everyone who visits. Plus, you’ll leave our historic resort with enough frozen salmon, halibut, snapper, lingcod and more to last for weeks if not all year. 

We hope you can join us fishing this 40th summer anniversary as Waterfall Resort Alaska!  In the very least, take a well-deserved, 20-minute break to enjoy watching Old Water.

Let's go fishing!