The Sitka National Historical Park is a genuine treat for all the family. A
beautiful and pristine expanse of nature, the park dates back to the beginning
of the twentieth century, when it was inaugurated as a place of historical importance
in order to commemorate the 1804 Battle of Sitka, fought between a Russian-American
alliance and the native Tlingit population. Sitka National Historical Park thus
signifies an important moment in Sitka’s past, but this is also much more than
a historically significant slab of land. The park is also known as the Sitka
Totem Park thanks to its impressive collection of Native American totems.
When you arrive at the Sitka National Historical Park, the area’s natural beauty
is immediately obvious. This 113-acre park is nestled deep in a rain forest
that features verdant flora, with Sitka spruce and Western hemlock particularly
common. The park is consequently home to an array of animal wildlife, and nature-lovers
are in their element here when trying to spot the birds and mammals that live
here. In terms of wildlife, the park is also known for its shoreline. Here,
waterfowl and shorebirds can be found between spring and autumn, before they
migrate away to different climes for the winter. The waters just off the shore
are also dense with salmon. (Sitka
in general is known for the many sportfishing opportunities it offers visitors.)
Visitors to the park are able to traverse its rugged landscape thanks to the paths and marked trails provided. One particularly popular trail leads walkers around the park’s many totem polls. Carved by the Haida and Tlingit people, these totems prove a magnificent sight. If you want to find out more about the totems, the Southeast Alaska Cultural Center adjoins Sitka Totem Park; it takes visitors through the process of making a totem and explains the cultural significance of these impressive monuments.
Another excellent tourist site, the Russian Bishop’s House, is situated just half a mile from the Sitka Totem Park. This majestic example of authentic colonial Russian architecture is a rare thing indeed; there are only three other buildings from the period of Russian invasion in Alaska left today. The house, which functioned as a church, a school, and a residency in its time, is a large, rectangular edifice that today holds an array of exhibitions dedicated to the legacy of the Russian American era. Listed on the U.S. Register of Historic Places, it’s been well-maintained over the years, with numerous renovations both small and large keeping the house in the excellent shape it’s to be found in today.
The Sitka Totem Park is a popular destination for vacationers who are visiting Sitka on a cruise. Companies such as the Holland America Line run a route along this part of the Alaskan coast, also stopping at cities such as Juneau and Ketchikan, and among the three cities there are numerous shore excursions for passengers to try, whether they're interested in history or nature.