Friday, July 28, 2006

Sitka Considered "One Of The Twelve Best Places You've Never Heard Of"

Crap! I was just getting ready to hit the sack, when I surfed the KUTV website and found a reference to an article in discussing 12 Greatest Places You Never Heard Of. And guess what? Sitka, AK (downtown pictured at left, courtesy of was on the list. So I couldn't pass it up. Here's an excerpt from the story from KUTV Channel 2 in Salt Lake City:

St. George, Utah has been selected by Mother Earth News magazine as one of the '12 Great Places You've Never Heard Of' in the United States. Mother Earth News' August--September issue highlights 12 cities that aren't as well-known as those that frequently appear on lists of great places to live. The 12 selected by Mother Earth News are unique for their affordability, strong sense of community and emphasis on the environment, sustainability, alternative energy and local food.

Lynn Byczynski, the article's author, references mild winters, lovely red rock scenery, skiing, mountain biking and an abundance of golf courses as characteristics which make St. George a great place to live.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

"St. George is fast becoming a top tourism and retirement spot, thanks to its mild winters, lovely red rock scenery, skiing, mountain biking and an abundance of golf courses... Those interested in sustainable living will find a strong community of environmentalists working to preserve the spectacular and biologically diverse landscapes of the area."

The "12 Greatest Places You've Never Heard Of" are as follows (in order of desirability): Note: Mt Edgecumbe outside of Sitka during January 2006 pictured at left, courtesy of

1). St. George, Utah
2). Fairfield, Iowa
3). Athens, Ohio
4). Wimberley, Texas
5). Northfield, Minnesota
6). Sitka, Alaska
7). La Grande, Oregon
8). Grants Pass, Oregon
9). Grand Junction, Colorado
10).Decatur, Georgia
11).Blue Hill, Maine
12).Ithaca, New York

To see the complete article, visit Mother Earth News magazine online.

Here's the description of Sitka posted on Mother Earth News:

Sitka, Alaska

OK, so it’s expensive and remote. But it’s still one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Sitka is a coastal town in southeast Alaska with a mild maritime climate that will dispel any notions you may have about Alaska being completely frigid and snowy. In fact, the average winter low in Sitka is 30 degrees, much warmer than many continental towns on our list. And the average summer high is just 61 degrees, perfect for many outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking and whale watching. The scenery is spectacular, with spruce forests, snow-capped mountains and island-dappled waters as far as you can see.

As long as you’re dreaming of the best places to live, you might as well dream big.

Population: 8,986
County: Sitka Borough
Climate: rainy and mild
Cost of living index: 138
Median home price: $335,200
Alternative energy: no net metering; no local incentives
Don’t miss: Sitka National Historical Park, where you can learn about southeast Alaska’s native cultures and seaside forests.

From the Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time in which Porky's prank was #14: "The Eruption of Mount Edgecumbe" (pictured at left, courtesy of

In 1974 residents of Sitka, Alaska were alarmed when the long-dormant volcano neighboring them, Mount Edgecumbe, suddenly began to belch out billows of black smoke. People spilled out of their homes onto the streets to gaze up at the volcano, terrified that it was active again and might soon erupt. Luckily it turned out that man, not nature, was responsible for the smoke. A local practical joker named Porky Bickar had flown hundreds of old tires into the volcano's crater and then lit them on fire, all in a (successful) attempt to fool the city dwellers into believing that the volcano was stirring to life. According to local legend, when Mount St. Helens erupted six years later, a Sitka resident wrote to Bickar to tell him, "This time you've gone too far!"

Find out more about Sitka at Click here for live webcam.

Nice to see our state get some positive recognition. In case you're curious, Fairfield, IA has the least expensive single-family housing on the list, with an average price of $96,900. However, Iowa gets tornadoes much more frequently than we get earthquakes.

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