What happens to a town when a key industry collapses? Sometimes it dies. But sometimes it finds a way to reinvent itself.
Case in point: Ketchikan, Alaska, where the demise of the timber industry has led to a radical transformation. Many people who used to earn their livelihoods through timber have now turned to jobs in tourism. Ketchikan is expecting 1 million visitors this summer. They'll flow into town off as many as six giant cruise ships a day.
And if the tourists want a theatrical taste of the industry that used to fuel Ketchikan, they can go watch timber sports at the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, where burly competitors in flannel shirts and suspenders chop stumps, saw logs, and heave axes at a bullseye.
Souvenir and gift shops, as well as local tour operations, have replaced jobs at logging camps and pulp mills. The newer businesses provide seasonal retail work, but it's nowhere near as well paid as the old jobs. Follow the link in our bio to see more photos and the full story. (Credit: @elissanad | Elissa Nadworny/NPR)