300 Villages: Portage Creek

This week we travel to southwest Alaska where Chris Carr and his wife, Leona, are the entire year-round population of Portage Creek, a speck on the map about 30 air miles southeast of Dillingham. The Carrs run a general store and a bush guiding service.

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“My name is Chris Carr, I live in Portage Creek, Alaska with my wife. We run the Portage Creek General Store and Lodge and I’m a registered big game guide. Yeah, currently it’s just my wife and I that live here.

The main significance of Portage Creek in this day and age is the king salmon fish. We have the number one running king salmon run going up the Nushagak [River] right in front of the house.

The moose season, that’s kind of a rat race. We get hundreds and hundreds of people during the moose season. I tend to forget about that.

If the caribou come through we’ll see people from Dillingham come through. The price of living out here is way up there. Everything we make goes in to surviving the winter – basically fuel and food. I think gas in the town of Dillingham there is like $6.30 or so. People don’t travel as much as they used to. We’re pretty isolated, but we like it. We have lots of wildlife that roam through the yard, got a couple of cows, calves in the yard right now.

You know, we were kind of a vibrant village, oh, 10 years ago. We had a school, one classroom school – and it was pretty nice. The kids got a great education. But the kids grew up, and the village council moved to Anchorage and so…we got stranded.”

You know it’s peaceful, it’s quiet, lots of wildlife. We like it that way, you know, like I say, we’re not really into the rat race.”

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