We are celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Taku Lodge this year!! Celebrating all of the people who have contributed to the history our special place has gathered over the many years. Heres to the friends, family, employees, visitors, bears, dogs, pilots and admirers. To the stories, engagements, weddings, babies and endless memories. And here is to the endless memories yet to be made!
In 1935 Mary Joyce successfully completed a 1,000 mile, three month solo sled dog trek from the Taku Lodge to Fairbanks that earned her a place in Alaskan history, and the Taku Lodge a designated place on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Mary Joyce was a southeast Alaska entrepreneur and adventurer during the 1930s until her death in 1976. Notably she owned and operated the Taku Lodge, became the first woman radio operator in the Territory of Alaska, was a hunting guide, pilot, flight attendant, nurse, nominated beauty pageant contestant, Juneau bar owner and Alaska Territorial Representative. Joyce was an actress, starring as Taku Mary in Orphans of the North, filmed in and around the lodge, and had a bit part in Sorrel and Sons when she was in Hollywood for Paramount. After her famous sled dog conquest she gave moonlight dog sled rides for celebrities at Sun Valley when that resort opened. Joyce also taught survival classes for the Defense Dept. in WWII and was a consultant for the building of the Alaska Highway, as she was one of the few who had traveled that route.
The induction took place on Thursday, February 28, at the Anchorage Loussac Library. Taku Lodge owner Michelle Ward, and Mary Joyce researcher, Mary Lou Gerbi, accepted the award in Mary Joyce’s honor. Mary Joyce was nominated by two of Juneau’s own outstanding women, Kathy Ruddy and Linda Rosenthal. The Mission of the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame is to honor, in perpetuity, women whose contributions have influenced the direction of their community or of Alaska in any field, including, but not limited to the arts, athletics, business, community service, conservation, education, government, health, the humanities, Alaska Native affairs, philanthropy, politics, theology and science.
Congratulations Mary Joyce! Your Alaskan spirit of adventure lives on with all of us here at Wings Airways & The Taku Lodge!
The Taku Glacier Lodge was built in 1923 when Alaska was only a Territory. The District of Alaska was organized into Alaska Territory on August 24, 1912. Governors continued to be appointed by the President of the United States. During World War II, parts of the Aleutian Islands were occupied by Imperial Japan from June 5, 1942, to June 28, 1943. In 1923 the United States saw not one, but two Presidents. Following President Hardings death in August, President Coolidge took the office.
Did you hear the earth was moving right under our feet? Literally! Last Friday we experienced a 7.5 magnitude earthquake with an centered a mere 200 miles south of us. Fortunately we are all safe and sound with no damage to people or property! Personal reports varied from nearly being thrown out of bed to no feeling of it at all. Southeast Earthquake 2013
Being rugged Alaskans we have always appreciated the quality of the Filson products, so you can imagine the pride we felt being included in their Gifts 2011 catalog! Filson Passage Luggage is highlighted by a photo of the Taku River taken from our own N337AK DeHavilland Otter. The yellow tipped wing is framing the photo.
Princess Cruises Announces Winners of 2011 Alaska Region Shore Excursion Awards
12th Annual C.R.U.I.S.E. Service Awards Recognize Top Local Tour Operators as Rated by Passengers
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (October 7, 2011) — Each year, Princess Cruises marks the end of the Alaska season with shipboard awards ceremonies celebrating the year’s favorite local tour operators. The line’s 12th annual C.R.U.I.S.E. service awards have just been handed out, honoring the best shore excursion experiences and guides in most ports on Alaska itineraries, based largely on passenger feedback throughout the season.
Award winners were chosen from the extensive line-up of Alaska and Pacific Northwest shore excursions offered to Princess passengers, and recognize the most popular tours, individual guides and dock representatives in many of the communities where Princess ships call. The awards highlight the important role played by local tour operators in each community as part of a passenger’s overall cruise experience. Winners are determined primarily by tour scores and comments made on passenger surveys.
“It’s always gratifying to recognize these local tour operators who go above and beyond to provide our passengers with unforgettable experiences in Alaska and British Columbia,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “We know that a passenger’s time in port and their activities while on land are a significant part of their cruise experience, especially in such an exciting place as Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.”
The C.R.U.I.S.E. (Courtesy, Respect, Unfailing in Service Excellence) program is the longest running customer service program in the cruise industry. The Alaska awards began in 2000 and cap off a season-long effort to recognize the role that Princess’ tour partners play in passengers’ cruise experiences. Tour Guide of the Season and Dock Representative of the Season award winners receive $100, a letter of commendation, a plaque, a tour of the ship and lunch onboard with their family. Operators of the Shore Excursion of the Season receive a plaque, a letter of commendation, a tour of the ship and lunch onboard for company officials.
The 2011 winners are:
Taku Glacier Lodge Flight & Feast, Wings Airways and Taku Lodge
Disney Cruise Line puts its own twist on popular Alaska shore excursion
…The 49th state offers plentiful opportunities to implement a Disney twist into traditional shore excursions, a process that began when Stauffer first met with tour operators last summer.
“We took a strong look at the tours being offered in Alaska,” explained Stauffer. “We always try to add a Disney differentiator to any experience, and we challenged the operators to create something unique for our guests.”
For instance, on my visit, we boarded a floatplane for a 30-minute flightseeing tour from Juneau that took us past jagged peaks and across yawning ice crevasses to Taku Glacier Lodge, one of the state’s first hunting and fishing lodges. Once there, I learned about the history of the 88-year-old lodge and of pioneer Mary Joyce, its former owner who embarked from Taku in 1935 on a 1,000-mile journey by dogsled. I also dined on some of the freshest salmon I’ve ever had — grilled with the lodge’s time-tested recipe. Finally, with an Alaskan Amber in hand, I took a moment to take in the setting from a rocking chair on the porch. Inaccessible by road, the rustic lodge sits along the Taku Inlet, one of Alaska’s richest salmon-spawning areas, surrounded by a forest and facing the foot of the spectacular Hole-in-the-Wall Glacier. While totally relaxed, I still managed to keep an eye out for wandering black bears who are often lured to Taku by the aroma of the salmon.
One might think it would be hard to improve on such an experience and, in fact, not everyone initially jumped at the opportunity to adapt such established products. But Stauffer asked the Taku Glacier Lodge owners, as well as Holly Johnson, president of Wings Airways, to find a way to give their already popular excursion the Disney treatment.
“We’ve always been one of Juneau’s highest-rated tours, and we prided ourselves on the fact that we had perfected it,” said Johnson. “But Larry asked us to think outside the box. And, we knew it needed to be more than a free T-shirt, so we started brainstorming.”
Johnson proposed integrating the Mary Joyce character into the tour as a living host, dressed in an antique fur parka, who would meet Disney Cruise Line guests at the lodge. The Alaskan pioneer passed away in 1976, but her story and adventures will live on in the new excursion through stories told next to a fireplace after the meal. The encounter is an exclusive that won’t be sold to passengers of other cruise lines.
“Working with Disney was an exercise in creativity — a really fun process,” said Johnson.
For complete article, please click here.
Winters on the Taku Lodge are a vast contrast to the summers, when our guests experience our special spot. As of today we have 30 inches of snow and the river has completely frozen over. By mid October we have winterized the Lodge and head back into Juneau, to return again in February. We allow winter to take over and turn our water runway into a snow/ice runway allowing access by ski plane, as opposed to float plane. Once out at the Lodge our transportation takes the form of snow machines, snow shoes and cross country skis. Welcome to the Taku Lodge winter wonderland. Photos by Evan Bixby.
Guests captured these 3 bears searching for ashes in the grill outside of the Taku Lodge. Wild bears are never given any fish or other food scraps, but will search the ashes from time to time.
We are proud to say that we ONLY serve Wild Alaska King Salmon at the Taku Glacier Lodge. Also known as Chinook, King Salmon are prized for their color, high oil content, firm texture and succulent flesh.
- Alaska King Salmon is the largest and least abundant of the species. The “King Crab” of the salmon species.
- Average weight is approximately 20 pounds and length ranges from 30 to 40 inches.
- Its high oil content makes it a prime candidate for grilling, broiling, sautéing, baking, poaching, steaming, and smoking.
Why are Wild Alaska King Salmon so prized?
Wild-caught Alaska salmon mature at a natural pace, and swim freely in the pristine waters off Alaska’s rugged 34,000-mile coastline.
- Superior Flavor
The superior flavor and texture is prized around the world. The flavor and color characteristics come from the seafood species feeding on their natural diet of marine organisms, and the texture comes from annual migrations in the cold North Pacific.
If you are looking for a meal that is nutritious, low in saturated fat, and high in the “good fats” — heart-healthy omega-3s, you can start with Alaska Seafood.
- Environmentally Responsible
Careful management based on conservation assure abundant stocks of salmon, halibut, sole, pollock, and shellfish, so Alaska seafood is an environmentally responsible choice.
- Alaska Families And Communities
The harvesting and processing of Alaska Seafood plays an important role in Alaska. The seafood industry is the state’s largest private sector employer. Each small salmon fishing vessel, for example, is a floating family business, contributing to state and local economies. Alaska’s commercial catch accounts for over half the nation’s commercial seafood harvest.
We only serve Wild Alaska King Salmon because you came all this way…you only deserve the very best!