Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Project Jukebox Survey

Help us redesign the Project Jukebox website by taking a very short survey!

Carl Mulvihill, Interview 2

Carl Mulvihill was interviewed on October 5, 2018 by Karen Brewster at his home in Skagway, Alaska. In this interview, Carl talks about his observations of environmental and community change throughout his lifetime of living in Skagway, Alaska. He discusses changes in seasons, temperatures, and precipitation, changes in bird, fish and wildlife populations, and the melting of glaciers and warmer winters than when he was a boy. He also talks about invasive species, berries, gardening, increased presence of air pollution from cruise ships, pollution from ore and mineral transportation, and changes in environmental consciousness that have led to less ocean pollution and more efficient building construction and lower energy costs.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2018-14-03

Project: Observing Change in Alaska's National Parks
Date of Interview: Oct 5, 2018
Narrator(s): Carl Mulvihill
Interviewer(s): Karen Brewster
Transcriber: Ruth Sensenig
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
There is no slideshow for this person.

After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.


Personal background

Observations of changes in snowfall

Observations of changes in temperature, and affects on well water levels and glaciers

Observations about predictability, and changes in amount of snow

Observations of changes in vegetation and presence of invasive species

Observations of bird populations

Changes in winter temperatures and freezing and thawing, and use of the Skagway River for winter recreation

Traveling down the railroad tracks in a push car

Skiing in the mountains

Presence of wildlife in the mountains and in Dyea

Observations of changes in the Dyea flats and presence of trees

Observations of changes along the coastline and the dock and beach area of Skagway

Spending time outdoors, and hiking the Chilkoot Trail

Local trapping, hunting and fishing activity

Observations of changes in fish, and loss of the hooligan fishery

Observations of changes in the timing of seasons, especially as related to planting season

Observations of changes in the timing of first snowfall and presence of icy conditions

Observations of changes in the wind

Observations of changes in insect populations and timing of plants flowering

Berry picking and observations of changes in berries

Observations of changes in trees

Affects of air pollution from cruise ships

Observations of changes in items washed up on beaches and in ocean pollution

Changes in environmental consciousness

Observations of changes in rivers, glaciers, and flooding

Pollution from mineral and ore transported through town, and potential for future mineral based economy

Observations of changes in building construction, energy efficiency, and heating methods

Difference between the feeling of winter and summer temperatures

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


KAREN BREWSTER: And today is October 5, 2018, and I’m here with Carl Mulvihill at his home in Skagway, Alaska. And today we’re going to talk about, um, climate change for the Climate Change Klondike Bering Land Bridge project.

So Carl, thank you for finding time to talk to me. I know it’s a busy time of year. CARL MULVIHILL: Busy time of the year? KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. CARL MULVIHILL: That’s 365 days. KAREN BREWSTER: For you. CARL MULVIHILL: For me, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yes. CARL MULVIHILL: I’m always behind in my projects.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, it keeps, keeps things interesting, right? CARL MULVIHILL: It does, indeed. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

Well, we know you were interviewed, excuse me, already in 2010, I believe, where we went over your life here in Skagway and all that, so we don’t have to repeat all that.

But maybe you could just say when you first came to Skagway. Were you born here? CARL MULVIHILL: I was born here, so I don’t remember too much at that point. KAREN BREWSTER: And what year were you born? CARL MULVIHILL: 1936. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. And then you grew up here, went to school here. CARL MULVIHILL: That is correct.

KAREN BREWSTER: And worked on the White Pass Railroad for how long? CARL MULVIHILL: About seventeen years. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. Um, and that -- a lot of that was out on the line? CARL MULVIHILL: It was a variety of positions. I started working for the White Pass when I was in high school. They were very good about hiring kid -- boys at age sixteen to work on the -- what you called section crews, or the mains away crew. So we all grew up with White Pass, and for those of us who went on to college, we worked again with the summer, and White Pass was always good to hire us.

KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. Ok. Um, so as I said, this project sort of is about observations of change in the environment, not so much in the culture of the community, which I know changed a lot through time.

But do you remember, you know, when you first started in White Pass, and was there a lot of snow up there compared to now? Or have you seen a change in that? CARL MULVIHILL: Uh, the measurement of the snow is a very variable thing. Sometimes you have a mild year, there’s not so much snow, and other years there’s a tremendous amount of snow. There’s no real pattern to follow, just year by year.

KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. That’s surprising. CARL MULVIHILL: Why? KAREN BREWSTER: I don’t know. I guess I thought that, you know, there was maybe a trend, and if that trend has changed. But even when you were young, there were some big snow years and some low snow years? CARL MULVIHILL: That is correct, yeah.

Probably the biggest differences coming under climate were the winters are milder than they used to be. Uh, summers, again, are more variable. Sometimes you have a real good summer with lots of sunshine. Other summers where you have a lot of overcast skies and not much sunshine.

KAREN BREWSTER: And you said this summer that we just had in 2018 was a warm summer? CARL MULVIHILL: Yes, quite a warm summer. Uh, it got up in the upper 80’s. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. CARL MULVIHILL: For a couple days. Most of the time it seems be around the 70’s, so it's -- And we had a lot of sunshine. A very dry summer, this year. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

CARL MULVIHILL: Uh, some of the people who have homes on the hillside there, and they all have wells. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh. CARL MULVIHILL: And they’re complaining recently on the wells are running dry. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh my. CARL MULVIHILL: But they’re all in different pools that they -- perhaps their wells weren’t deep enough. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. CARL MULVIHILL: That could be many reasons, or because of the dryness, there’s no -- the wells -- or the pools weren’t replenished like they would normally from normal rain.

KAREN BREWSTER: So rainfall and runoff would fill the hole -- the pool that they’re pulling from? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Groundwater.

CARL MULVIHILL: And it’s a lot warmer. This year we had a glacier face broke off. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. CARL MULVIHILL: On the mountainside and fell down, of course. And that’s rather unusual. KAREN BREWSTER: And which mountain was that? CARL MULVIHILL: Mount Harding. KAREN BREWSTER: Mount Harding.

Have you ever seen that happen before? CARL MULVIHILL: Not noticed it, no. No, we notice the glaciers getting smaller, but nothing dramatic. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.

And so, you’ve had other warm, dry summers? CARL MULVIHILL: We have in the past, yeah. Like I say is, nothing is predictable. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. CARL MULVIHILL: We just enjoy it while we can.

KAREN BREWSTER: And, you know, one thing some people say about the changing climate in some places is that it has become less predictable, but it sounds like it’s always been unpredictable here. CARL MULVIHILL: From what I notice and remember, it’s always been unpredictable. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

And so when you worked on the rail line, like, how many feet of snow would you have in a winter that you had to keep clearing off the track? CARL MULVIHILL: Well, they have mechanized equipment. Uh, like down at the Park Service, they have a rotary snow plow. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. CARL MULVIHILL: That has a ten-foot wheel, and they would push that every day as needed. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. CARL MULVIHILL: To remove the snow.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so it was going through ten feet of snow? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah, or heavier. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.

And then last winter, what was the snow pack like? CARL MULVIHILL: I think it snowed three times last winter. In Skagway. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. CARL MULVIHILL: More, of course, up on the hillside. KAREN BREWSTER: But as much as there used to be? The ten feet? CARL MULVIHILL: No, it seems a lot less. It seemed to be less moisture the last few years, so we don’t get the snow pack we used to. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

What about a change in the vegetation? You say you’ve spent a lot of time up in the pass and above tree line. Have you noticed tree line moving? CARL MULVIHILL: No, I don’t spend that much time up on the pass. Usually I’m working down here someplace else. KAREN BREWSTER: Well, I meant, you did when you worked on the train. CARL MULVIHILL: Well. KAREN BREWSTER: No? CARL MULVIHILL: No. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. CARL MULVIHILL: Most of the time, I was -- winter time, I was in school. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, ok. CARL MULVIHILL: So you don’t notice the winter that much. Since then, of course, we have, like I say, heavy snow years and light snow years.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. I’ve just been wondering if there’s more trees moving up into the alpine areas. CARL MULVIHILL: I think this is in general, that’s probably true. Anywhere it’s warmer, they spread as they can. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. CARL MULVIHILL: As much as they can survive on the very limited soil on the mountainside.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. What about down here? Have you noticed changes? CARL MULVIHILL: No, I think they’re more aware now of some of the invasive species that have come in, and they try to eradicate that. But that’s a losing battle.

KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. Do you have examples of some of those species? CARL MULVIHILL: Probably the mountain ash. There’s one species that we call the Petersburg mountain ash, which is different than the native mountain ash here. The native mountain ash does not have the straight trunk and -- and branches. It’s more like an octopus. In other words, all the branches come out from the bottom. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. CARL MULVIHILL: In a, what do you want to call it? Well, like my fingers here. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

CARL MULVIHILL: And the mountain ash here is like these out here. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. CARL MULVIHILL: They’re straight. KAREN BREWSTER: So the one out here in front of your house is a native one, or that’s the Petersburg -- ? CARL MULVIHILL: No, that’s called the -- we call the Petersburg one. KAREN BREWSTER: So those Petersburg ones were brought in as ornamentals? CARL MULVIHILL: I don’t know how they came. Probably the birds.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you don’t -- you didn’t plant that tree then in front of your house? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, you did? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Well, where did you get it? CARL MULVIHILL: Well, another location in town they were tearing down their house, and these trees were next to them. So I took a backhoe, dug a hole here, went down and grabbed the tree out of the -- and just threw it in the hole, and it grew. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh. CARL MULVIHILL: Very simple.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, yes. It does -- you know, I don’t know if they were introduced as decorative around people’s homes. CARL MULVIHILL: I think that’s too planned. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. CARL MULVIHILL: I think more so that it just happened. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. CARL MULVIHILL: With the animals. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. CARL MULVIHILL: Or the winds.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Because there are a lot of the mountain ash in town. I don’t know which kind. I’ve just seen them with their berries. CARL MULVIHILL: The ones you see the most are the Petersburg style.

KAREN BREWSTER: And are they still doing all right with the warming temperatures? CARL MULVIHILL: Oh yeah, they’re doing fine. Everywhere you walk anymore, you find mountain ash growing. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, even out in the woods? CARL MULVIHILL: Oh yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So that Petersburg kind has migrated into the woods? CARL MULVIHILL: Everywhere. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. CARL MULVIHILL: Well, the birds pick up the seeds. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. CARL MULVIHILL: And they distribute it quite thoroughly. KAREN BREWSTER: Yes.

What other kinds of invasive species have you been seeing? CARL MULVIHILL: I can’t name them offhand, various flowers and other -- other plants like that. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. CARL MULVIHILL: I’m just more aware of the mountain ash. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. CARL MULVIHILL: The rest of them, I can’t remember the scientific name or --

KAREN BREWSTER: But are they more like weeds and shrubby kind of plants? Grassy? CARL MULVIHILL: Uh, they’re probably aggressive more like a weed. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.

And has -- are people in town doing anything to keep these various species from expanding? CARL MULVIHILL: They’re overwhelmed. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, really? CARL MULVIHILL: It’s a losing battle. KAREN BREWSTER: It’s too late? CARL MULVIHILL: Each year, one of the clubs sends out a brochure on all the invasive species. Supposed to go out and kill ‘em, but, uh, they’re probably fifty years too late on that.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yes, well that is the thing about invasive species. They’re pretty hardy. CARL MULVIHILL: That’s why they’re here. KAREN BREWSTER: That’s why they’re here. The warming temperatures has made it possible for them to take hold. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah.

And our transportation systems are much better than they were years ago. Now you have a ferry everywhere in Southeast. They can pick up the seeds in there as they drive through. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. CARL MULVIHILL: And drop them off as -- as the seed wants. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

And more people coming down the highway, maybe? CARL MULVIHILL: That is correct. KAREN BREWSTER: Before you had a highway, that limited access. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So. And now, you mentioned birds. Have you noticed different birds? CARL MULVIHILL: Not really. The bohemian waxwings usually come through in January, and they take the -- the berries off the mountain ash. They come in by the flock. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. CARL MULVIHILL: And stay around until the berries are gone, and then they move on to the next grove.

KAREN BREWSTER: And have they always done that? CARL MULVIHILL: Far as I know, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: You remember seeing them as a kid? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

And I’ve noticed a lot of crows in town. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. They are here. We prefer the ravens. KAREN BREWSTER: Yes. CARL MULVIHILL: They’re smarter, quieter, and not as many. KAREN BREWSTER: So the crows coming in, is that a more recent thing? CARL MULVIHILL: No, I think they’ve always been around. Seems like the flocks are getting bigger.

KAREN BREWSTER: So when you were a kid, did people feed crows? CARL MULVIHILL: Not that I know of. KAREN BREWSTER: People do it now? CARL MULVIHILL: Some do. We have the Stellar blue jays come and knock at our window all the time. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, yeah. CARL MULVIHILL: Looking for peanuts. KAREN BREWSTER: The Stellar jays? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. And they’re a regular species? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. They’re here year round. KAREN BREWSTER: They’re here year round.

And when you were a kid, same thing? CARL MULVIHILL: Probably. I wasn’t that interested in the birds that time. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. CARL MULVIHILL: I mean, you see ‘em all the time, you don’t check their backgrounds or where they came from or where they’re going to go.

KAREN BREWSTER: And I’m also using "as a kid" as a -- in a general -- I should say, "in your earlier days in Skagway." CARL MULVIHILL: Um-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: Not just as a kid, but -- CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: I use "as a kid" as a frame of reference. CARL MULVIHILL: Thank you.

KAREN BREWSTER: Because like, when you were a kid, did you go ice skating? Were the winters different here? CARL MULVIHILL: Winters were colder. And yes, we went ice skating. And all other winter sports. School, primarily basketball in the winter time. We had skating rinks. KAREN BREWSTER: And they stayed frozen? CARL MULVIHILL: Oh, yeah.

Our coldest winter was during the World War II. It dropped down to twenty-nine below Fahrenheit. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. CARL MULVIHILL: And last winter, probably didn’t get any colder than ten. KAREN BREWSTER: Above? CARL MULVIHILL: Above.

KAREN BREWSTER: And, yeah, so can you have a skating rink here now that stays frozen all winter? CARL MULVIHILL: They try to have skating rinks, but the kids are more interested in their electronic things, their little, uh, iPhones and everything. They don’t go outside and play anymore. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

And what about the river, the Skagway River? Did that used to freeze up? CARL MULVIHILL: Oh, yeah. It froze every year. It still does. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, it still does?

And can you use it for recreation? CARL MULVIHILL: Not anymore. We used to take sleds and go up as far as you could with a big piece of plywood and hold it and that was our sail. And the wind would blow us all the way down 'til you'd get to open water. Then you better stop. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. How did you stop? You take the plywood down? CARL MULVIHILL: Take the plywood down and put the brakes on. KAREN BREWSTER: Put your feet out? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So those were all those, like, Flexible Flyer metal runner kind of sleds? CARL MULVIHILL: Um-hm, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Was it you who talked about going down the rail tracks on some little thing, um -- CARL MULVIHILL: Push car. KAREN BREWSTER: Push car thing, when you were young? CARL MULVIHILL: Um, some people have, but no. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. I remember some story about some wild ride. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah, it would be. KAREN BREWSTER: On one of those.

CARL MULVIHILL: The railroad did not encourage use of their tracks when they weren’t using it. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. CARL MULVIHILL: It was too dangerous. KAREN BREWSTER: Well, as I say, the story I remember was a pretty scary -- it was somebody from here, who grew up here. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Who did that when they were a teenager or something. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. That’s a very steep grade, and you can go faster than you really want to. And with no brakes on a push car, it makes it very thrilling, shall we say. KAREN BREWSTER: I would think so. I think like a super bobsled run or something. CARL MULVIHILL: Um-hm. Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Um, yeah.

So when people did it, nobody got hurt? CARL MULVIHILL: No. Fortunately. KAREN BREWSTER: Fortunately. But it didn’t happen very often? CARL MULVIHILL: No. No. People learned quick. Do it once. Hear about it. No, we don't want to do it. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. But you never did it? CARL MULVIHILL: No.

KAREN BREWSTER: Um, did you ski? CARL MULVIHILL: I didn’t learn to ski until I went to college. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. And that was in Fairbanks? CARL MULVIHILL: No, that was in Tacoma, Washington. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, Tacoma. Ok. That seems -- there’s no snow down there. CARL MULVIHILL: On the mountain passes, there are. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, ok. CARL MULVIHILL: Snoqualmie.

But our trails here are not conducive to skiing, and we didn’t have access to the summit like they have now for skiing and snow machines. KAREN BREWSTER: Because the road wasn’t there? CARL MULVIHILL: Because of the road, right. KAREN BREWSTER: But did you -- the train -- the train ran in the winter back then, didn’t it? CARL MULVIHILL: The train -- the train ran every day. KAREN BREWSTER: But no way to hitch a ride? CARL MULVIHILL: Well, you could go up then, but you couldn’t come back. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, it only went one way? Per day? CARL MULVIHILL: One way to Whitehorse, and at the same time, one way southbound. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, I see. There wasn’t enough time in between to go skiing? CARL MULVIHILL: Not much.

KAREN BREWSTER: So when did you start skiing up there? Or did you start skiing up there? CARL MULVIHILL: After the road was built. KAREN BREWSTER: So that was what? CARL MULVIHILL: 1979. ’78-79.

KAREN BREWSTER: And are there maintained trails up there? CARL MULVIHILL: Just what people do with their snowmachines. They have an annual -- called Buckwheat Ski Classic. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. CARL MULVIHILL: And there they have the trails. Local people, volunteers, go up and make trails for the, uh, for the races. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. But other than that, it’s just go wherever you want? CARL MULVIHILL: On your own.

KAREN BREWSTER: Are there caribou or other animals up there? CARL MULVIHILL: Every once in awhile, we have moose’ll come down the valley. We call them a tourist moose 'cause they come down and find out there’s not that much feed for them, so they go back across into the areas where there is more feed. KAREN BREWSTER: Which is where? CARL MULVIHILL: Closer to the Log Cabin area or about thirty miles from here. Between that and Atlin and Whitehorse. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.

Yeah, somehow I thought up there in the mountains, there would be more caribou. CARL MULVIHILL: Nothing to eat. KAREN BREWSTER: There’s nothing to eat for them? CARL MULVIHILL: No. KAREN BREWSTER: There’s no lichen up there? CARL MULVIHILL: Lichen was all buried under several feet of snow. KAREN BREWSTER: Too snow -- because, yeah, they can break through, but it’s -- CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: -- too much snow. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: What about deer? Do you have deer around here? CARL MULVIHILL: Not here, no. But around Carcross there’s moose, caribou, primarily. And occasional deer, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: 'Cause I know, like, farther south, like Petersburg area and stuff, they have lots of deer. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: And in Sitka, but I didn’t know if this far up. CARL MULVIHILL: Not so much up here, no.

KAREN BREWSTER: And what about on the Dyea Flats? Are there moose out there? CARL MULVIHILL: No. KAREN BREWSTER: No? CARL MULVIHILL: Same -- same problem coming down. Not enough feed.

KAREN BREWSTER: Have you seen a change in the Dyea Flats area? Like, with trees or -- CARL MULVIHILL: Well, the trees are -- KAREN BREWSTER: The water or something? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah, the trees are encroaching more on the beaches now than they were originally. Again, that’s because of the warmer weather. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. CARL MULVIHILL: Longer seasons for them to grow.

KAREN BREWSTER: And nobody there cutting them down for firewood? CARL MULVIHILL: They are prohibited. All that is national park. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

And when it was a town site maybe that, you know, people cut them for firewood. CARL MULVIHILL: Again, the town site is protected right now. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. I know it is.

But I was wondering, too, about the coastal area, how that -- the coast line, has that changed in your lifetime here? CARL MULVIHILL: You mean, the ocean? KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. CARL MULVIHILL: And the bay? KAREN BREWSTER: The bay, and --

CARL MULVIHILL: Well, they claim it’s rising a, you know, a fraction of an inch every year. So I haven’t -- we haven’t really particularly noticed that much. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. CARL MULVIHILL: But that’s such a slow change, it’s easier to just accept it. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

Um, and that’s what I was thinking, if the tidal flats out in Dyea, if there’s been a change in where the water comes up and how far? But it sounds like it’s not anything noticeable? CARL MULVIHILL: Nothing noticeable, no. KAREN BREWSTER: Um, but there -- CARL MULVIHILL: And -- KAREN BREWSTER: Go ahead.

CARL MULVIHILL: And this fall of the year, in particular, a big southern storm will raise the water level quite a bit because of the wind factor. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. CARL MULVIHILL: Coming at high tide. And it’ll push a lot of your trees further up on the shoreline. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.

And what about the dock area here? Did it -- has it always been in the same spot, or this -- CARL MULVIHILL: There are more docks now than when I was a child, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: And have they filled in that? Was it -- CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: The -- the edge of town was higher up the -- CARL MULVIHILL: They have. When they dredged the harbor in 1968-69 for a big mineral transport coming through here. The whole harbor was dredged and filled for the, uh, where the warehouse now is and the uplands boat storage area. That was all beach time when I was growing up. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

CARL MULVIHILL: And now we have four docks down there with huge ships coming in. KAREN BREWSTER: And there’s not really a beach. CARL MULVIHILL: The beach is only over by the river now. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. CARL MULVIHILL: Everything else is now harbor or wharves.

KAREN BREWSTER: So when you were growing up, it was actually beach front? You could walk -- CARL MULVIHILL: All beach front, yes. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.

So they dredged it because the ships they needed for that mineral transport were bigger? CARL MULVIHILL: That is correct. Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: They needed a deeper spot? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah, they couldn’t come in on the tidal flats. They had to dredge down, I think, about forty-eight feet, in order to have the ships come in and not go on the ground at low tide.

KAREN BREWSTER: And then they took all that and filled in? CARL MULVIHILL: Filled everything in, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

So the old railroad depot that’s the Park Service offices now, did that used to be, like, tide line? CARL MULVIHILL: The tides would come up just about where the track is, just south of the old depot. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. Yeah, that’s a huge area. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So, um, when you were growing up, did you go play and wander around on that beach? CARL MULVIHILL: Oh, yeah. We made -- we made our own boats and acquired tar from various construction projects and tarred all the seams on our boats, and we’d go out and play in the water. Course, we couldn’t swim. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. CARL MULVIHILL: But that was our summer, summer fun.

KAREN BREWSTER: So what did you make the boats out of? CARL MULVIHILL: Uh, 2x12 planks and ship lap. KAREN BREWSTER: That you also acquired? CARL MULVIHILL: We acquired, yes. KAREN BREWSTER: And paddles? CARL MULVIHILL: We made our own paddles, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, fun.

So, yeah, I was wondering if you collected things off the beach and saw things -- ? CARL MULVIHILL: Wherever they were, lying unattended. KAREN BREWSTER: Yes, um. CARL MULVIHILL: But in those days, you made your own -- made your own fun. KAREN BREWSTER: That’s true. CARL MULVIHILL: Very little was provided for you. KAREN BREWSTER: Yep.

So you also spent time playing out in the woods and hiking and -- ? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah, we spent a lot of times out in the woods. KAREN BREWSTER: In the hills, yeah. CARL MULVIHILL: Camping almost every night in summer time and in the winter. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh yeah?

By snowshoes, or -- ? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. Go out on snowshoes and camp. Some places, we had a -- we considered a permanent camp with a canvas lean-to. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

Like, where would you guys go? CARL MULVIHILL: Anywhere on the hillside. Both sides. KAREN BREWSTER: The Dewey Lake side? This Face Mountain side? CARL MULVIHILL: Yes. Or Upper Lake. Now it’s -- wherever the -- the mood chased us, I guess you might say. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

And did you go up the Chilkoot at that time? CARL MULVIHILL: Uh, not until later. It was -- the trail was a little overgrown very much. And one year, the Youth Adult Authority came in and they brushed out the trail. KAREN BREWSTER: They were the, quote-unquote, “prisoners” that worked on it? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: And what year was that? That was in the -- CARL MULVIHILL: Late ‘50’s, early ‘60’s, probably. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.

So that was kind of the first time you spent out there? CARL MULVIHILL: On the Chilkoot Trail, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: And how many times have you done it since? CARL MULVIHILL: Probably, about three times, going both directions.

KAREN BREWSTER: And have you noticed anything different out there? CARL MULVIHILL: Since it’s been improved, no. I was -- We went over when it was semi-improved. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. CARL MULVIHILL: When you had to batter your way through the -- the brush.

KAREN BREWSTER: And there were a lot of artifacts lying around back then? CARL MULVIHILL: There were, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: And did local people collect those? CARL MULVIHILL: No. KAREN BREWSTER: No. Why not? CARL MULVIHILL: Had no use for it.

KAREN BREWSTER: What about trapping? Do people trap around here? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah, primarily for the smaller animals, like, I don’t -- was it, the weasel family. KAREN BREWSTER: Marten? Marten. CARL MULVIHILL: That’s the word I’m looking for. The marten. Thank you. But that’s about all. There’s rabbits that people go out and shoot. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. CARL MULVIHILL: But the only trapping is for the marten. KAREN BREWSTER: Marten.

But, um, in all your younger days, was it the same, or did people do more trapping back then? CARL MULVIHILL: About the same. There’s always one or two people who trapped. Not that many. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

And in what area? CARL MULVIHILL: Anywhere. KAREN BREWSTER: Anywhere? CARL MULVIHILL: Anywhere where the animals are. KAREN BREWSTER: Well, I don’t know where the animals are here. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: I don’t know exactly what marten like. CARL MULVIHILL: They’re like a weasel, about so long.

KAREN BREWSTER: What kind of habitat do they like to live in? CARL MULVIHILL: Ah, brush areas where they can eat. They eat primarily the voles and field mice. KAREN BREWSTER: Do they go for fish? CARL MULVIHILL: Not so much, no.

KAREN BREWSTER: So have you been a trapper? CARL MULVIHILL: No. KAREN BREWSTER: No. CARL MULVIHILL: I was always going to school or working. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Ok.

And hunting, did you do much hunting? CARL MULVIHILL: No. Again, I was going to school or working.

KAREN BREWSTER: Um, what about the fishing? Well, I was asking about what would wash up on the beach. Were there crab or fish? CARL MULVIHILL: Nothing washing up on the beach. People would have to go out with their boats to do the halibut and salmon. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

CARL MULVIHILL: And we always had crabs down there. Mussels. KAREN BREWSTER: And that’s still there or the -- ? CARL MULVIHILL: Still there.

KAREN BREWSTER: And it’s a reliable resource? CARL MULVIHILL: Well, the various times they’ll close a section or reduce the season for catching, let’s say, halibut or something, in order to build up the stocks again.

KAREN BREWSTER: Did there used to be -- there’s not much of a commercial fishing industry -- CARL MULVIHILL: No. KAREN BREWSTER: -- here in Skagway? CARL MULVIHILL: The fishing isn’t that big to support a commercial fisheries. The better fishing is south of Haines.

KAREN BREWSTER: So it’s -- it's never been a commercial fishing spot? CARL MULVIHILL: No.

KAREN BREWSTER: But do people still do a lot of personal fishing? CARL MULVIHILL: Oh, yes. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. Nothing better than fresh fish. KAREN BREWSTER: I agree.

Um, do you know if the timing has changed of when the fish are coming or leaving? CARL MULVIHILL: Not really. Usually in the fall of the year, there’s -- the fish come up to spawn. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. CARL MULVIHILL: And they do a lot of spawning in Pullen Creek, alongside the railroad track. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, ok.

That’s the salmon, huh? CARL MULVIHILL: Um-hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I just didn’t know if you’d heard if like, "Oh yeah, they're -- they usually come in September, and now they’re coming in October." CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah.

We miss the hooligan runs. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, you used to have hooligan runs? CARL MULVIHILL: We used to have hooligan, yeah. And they’ve dropped down. Very seldom you’ll see hooligan on a river. There’s still some in Dyea, but not the runs that we used to have.

KAREN BREWSTER: And what time of year is the big hooligan run? CARL MULVIHILL: We get one in the spring, and then one, uh, toward the end of summer. August or so.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, let’s see, in the spring they’d be going upriver to spawn? No? CARL MULVIHILL: Well, I don’t know why they were going up river, but they always came up in springtime. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

CARL MULVIHILL: And you’d catch some and have one good feast, spring tonic type thing. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. CARL MULVIHILL: And then the rest of the fish would go in your gardens. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

CARL MULVIHILL: They’re real good fertilizer, as long as you get ‘em deep enough so the cats can’t get in. KAREN BREWSTER: Ah-ha. Yeah, that would be bad.

And then in the end of summer, are the hooligans running back out to the ocean? CARL MULVIHILL: No, they come back up to do what they didn’t do in the spring, I guess. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. So they don’t spend -- CARL MULVIHILL: It’s a different, probably a different, um -- KAREN BREWSTER: Population? CARL MULVIHILL: Population of -- of hooligan.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I don’t know their cycle and where they go to winter. Do they winter out in the ocean? CARL MULVIHILL: Out in the ocean, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.

Well, it’s interesting. I wonder why they’re not coming around anymore? CARL MULVIHILL: Probably the climate change. Your water’s warmer. This is adversely affecting all the fish. They like cold water. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. CARL MULVIHILL: And that’s what we like them best, when they come in the cold water. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

Well, that’s what I was wondering about, the fishing. If there’s been a change in what people are catching or the health of the fish. Are they noticing they look different? CARL MULVIHILL: I don’t think they mention that too much. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

Because I know in other parts of Alaska, every once in awhile they’ll say, "Oh, the salmon are looking -- " they find them with different coloration on their skin. CARL MULVIHILL: Um-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: And they get concerned there’s something going on. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Um. But you have -- nobody’s talked about that here? CARL MULVIHILL: No, there hasn’t been that many, really, to notice. If you catch a fish and bring it home, and that’s dinner tonight. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Yeah.

Um, and then as I say, freeze-up and break-up, now I don’t know that -- those terms apply down here the same way they do farther north. CARL MULVIHILL: Not as dramatic, no. KAREN BREWSTER: Um, but maybe in relation to gardening, when, you know, it’s -- the soil’s warm enough you can start planting. There’s always sort of that date, well, first, you know -- last frost, first frost.

CARL MULVIHILL: You know, you can -- Most people start tilling their garden in May, first part of May. Dig it up and let it warm up. Then you plant your potatoes and other root vegetables, primarily. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

And then, about when do you take ‘em out? CARL MULVIHILL: September. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. So by now, everybody’s gardens would be -- CARL MULVIHILL: Everybody’s dug up their gardens. KAREN BREWSTER: Even though it seems so warm. It’s in the 40’s. CARL MULVIHILL: Well, you don’t know how long that’s going to be. KAREN BREWSTER: I see. Ok.

So I was wondering, if those -- those timing, if that’s changed. Like, you know, has it always been the beginning of May, or did it used to be later that you’d have to wait to have thawed ground?

CARL MULVIHILL: There again, it’s variable because of your climate. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. CARL MULVIHILL: Soon as it warms up enough to warm up the soil, then you get the gardening habit. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. But there's nothing, you know --

CARL MULVIHILL: People, you know, start all their vegetables and other things -- other seeds in the house. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. CARL MULVIHILL: Waiting for the warm enough to transplant them. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

And -- and so it’s sort of been the same, it -- beginning of May to mid-September? CARL MULVIHILL: Um-hm. Yeah. Everything’s done by the weather. KAREN BREWSTER: I know, that’s why we’re talking about it.

Like, if the weather changes, how do people change their behavior? Or do they? CARL MULVIHILL: Well, yeah. Sometimes your season’s longer now than it used to be.

Uh, when I was a kid, you used to have your first frost around Labor Day. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. CARL MULVIHILL: Now, it’s not until November.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I was going to say, have you had a frost down here yet? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. Last week. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. CARL MULVIHILL: On the -- on the roofs.

KAREN BREWSTER: Because I assume it frosts down here before it frosts on the hillsides? CARL MULVIHILL: No, it starts up high and works its way down, so. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. So it --

Yeah, 'cause there is some termination dust snow on the tops of the mountains. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah, that arrived last night. KAREN BREWSTER: Huh. CARL MULVIHILL: A bit of frosting on the mountains. KAREN BREWSTER: Yes. Well, it tells us the seasons are changing.

CARL MULVIHILL: Usually, the first snow fall downtown or on the valley floor is around Halloween. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, ok.

And when you were younger, the same? Or was it earlier? CARL MULVIHILL: I think it probably earlier. I started noticing it when I built the house here, so we had to govern ourselves accordingly.

Trying to get the roof done before Halloween, before the snows come. KAREN BREWSTER: And did you succeed? CARL MULVIHILL: Yep. Long days, but that’s all right. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

And so that’s -- do you still -- you still will get a first snow around Halloween? CARL MULVIHILL: It's a little bit later now, because we don’t get much snow. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

CARL MULVIHILL: Probably, the first snowfall last year was in December, January. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. And does it stay around, or it melts pretty quickly? CARL MULVIHILL: It melts too quick or it turns to ice.

KAREN BREWSTER: That was my next question was, does it get really icy now? CARL MULVIHILL: It did last winter, so you wore your creepers longer than you would want to. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

And in earlier times, you didn’t have to wear creepers at all? CARL MULVIHILL: I don’t think they had creepers. KAREN BREWSTER: No, probably not.

But I was -- if it was always so icy or not. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah, it can be sheet ice, but the city’s real good about putting gravels on the crosswalks. KAREN BREWSTER: Well, that’s good.

Well, and as you said, and when you were younger, it got cold and stayed cold. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: And that tends to prevent that icing. CARL MULVIHILL: Um-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: Freeze-thaw thing.

CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. Snows one day, and warms up and rains the next. KAREN BREWSTER: That’s what’s happening now? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: That doesn’t sound very pleasant. CARL MULVIHILL: You make do with it. Enjoy it while you can. KAREN BREWSTER: That’s right. You get used to it, I guess. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. What about wind? CARL MULVIHILL: We do have a lotta wind. That’s what the term "Skagway" apparently means in the Tlingit language. With the mountains the way they are, there’s a valley, so the winds come from the south or the north. Winter time, the winds are cold.

KAREN BREWSTER: Because it’s coming off the mountain, the glaciers? CARL MULVIHILL: It comes down through the pass. When the south wind blows in the wintertime, that’s warmer weather. That’s when you get your ice and snow.

KAREN BREWSTER: So do the big snow storms come in from the north or from the south? CARL MULVIHILL: From the north. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

And are those winds still the same, consistent all through your life it’s been that way? CARL MULVIHILL: Pretty much. Up to fifty, sixty miles an hour is nothing unusual. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

CARL MULVIHILL: Figured houses are built a bit more solid, and you make sure your shingles are very secure so the wind doesn’t blow it off. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

And so that north/south predominant directions, that’s been consistent? Or do you -- Are you getting winds-- ? CARL MULVIHILL: It’s always been that way. KAREN BREWSTER: And it's still -- CARL MULVIHILL: Because of the mountains. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

So that -- that hasn’t changed? CARL MULVIHILL: No, the mountains haven’t changed that much. KAREN BREWSTER: No. That’s in geologic time that we can’t talk about. CARL MULVIHILL: Right. KAREN BREWSTER: We don’t get to see that. CARL MULVIHILL: It acts like a funnel.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. And, um, have you noticed a difference in times when you get big wind events? Like, you’re getting more windy days or fewer windy days? Whatever counts as windy. I don't know how you define windy. CARL MULVIHILL: Well, some days you'd -- been blowing so long, you don’t know it’s out there. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

Yeah, like, since I’ve been here the last couple of days, it’s been calm. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah, it has been.

KAREN BREWSTER: And is that now a typical thing, or that's unusual for this year? CARL MULVIHILL: No, it’s typical.

This is the white sox weather. KAREN BREWSTER: The white sox weather? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah, the no-see-ums that -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yes. CARL MULVIHILL: -- that come. And very friendly around here.

KAREN BREWSTER: And they like it when there’s no wind. CARL MULVIHILL: They prefer it. That way they have their choice of where to go rather than what the wind blows them.

KAREN BREWSTER: That would explain why when I was outside yesterday, there were all these little bugs. CARL MULVIHILL: Um-hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: That’s actually a good question, whether there’s more or a change in the no-see-ums or mosquito populations around here. CARL MULVIHILL: They’ve always been here.

KAREN BREWSTER: And you don’t notice -- well, you know, in any place, some years there’s more, some years there’s less. Probably depending on the precipitation. CARL MULVIHILL: Well, yeah, and the variability of the pools for the mosquitoes to hatch their eggs with. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

So, are you getting earlier springs? Like -- CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah, I think so. KAREN BREWSTER: So warmer springs, which gives the mosquitoes a better chance to breed and -- CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah, and grow a little bit.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. And the flowers come out a little sooner. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. Yeah, the tulips pop up in March now.

KAREN BREWSTER: When did they used to pop up? CARL MULVIHILL: April.

KAREN BREWSTER: But you still plant the bulbs in the fall? CARL MULVIHILL: You don’t have to plant ‘em. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, they just keep coming up? CARL MULVIHILL: You plant them once, and they keep on growing every year. KAREN BREWSTER: That’s nice. CARL MULVIHILL: Oh, yeah.

Unless you’re a gardener, and then you have to go out and play with them. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, but you’re not? CARL MULVIHILL: I put my tulips in many years ago, and that’s it. That’s how I like to do the gardening. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Yeah, that’s amazing that they keep coming up. I kinda thought that you had to take them out and replant them. CARL MULVIHILL: Some rosebushes you have to. But the tulips and the crocuses, very reliable.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, and the roses you have around here are Sitka rose? CARL MULVIHILL: Primarily, Sitka, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: That’s the wild -- it’s considered a wild rose, or is it -- CARL MULVIHILL: Ah. KAREN BREWSTER: Not? CARL MULVIHILL: No, we do have wild roses. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, ok.

CARL MULVIHILL: Hm, there’s a white wild rose and a red wild rose at the footbridge, both sides. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. That’s the footbridge down at the mouth of the river? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. Um-hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: But the -- so the Sitka rose is planted by people’s houses and things? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. And once you plant them, you don’t have to -- well, you have to trim them, of course, but they grow every year. You don't have to dig them up -- KAREN BREWSTER: No. CARL MULVIHILL: -- and bring them inside. KAREN BREWSTER: They -- they're hardy? CARL MULVIHILL: Very hardy.

KAREN BREWSTER: Have you noticed any differences in them, with their flowering or -- CARL MULVIHILL: No. KAREN BREWSTER: No? CARL MULVIHILL: I just appreciate them.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, they're beautiful. I've noticed some-- in town I noticed one the -- yesterday with really big buds on it. CARL MULVIHILL: Hm-mm. KAREN BREWSTER: Or the rose hips. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: That compared to what I'm used to seeing in the north, they were huge. CARL MULVIHILL: Hm-mm. Ok. Longer season to grow.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, yeah. And I don't know if people use them here? CARL MULVIHILL: Some people collect the hips, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

Other things -- I mean, speaking of rose hips makes me think of berry picking. Do you go berry -- have you done berry picking? CARL MULVIHILL: Oh, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: I assume people do berry picking around here. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: What kind of berries? CARL MULVIHILL: Well, there’s blueberries, blackberries, um, serviceberries.

We just went down, did a lot of picking, oh, three weeks ago, I guess. And my wife converted them all to jams. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. That’s the best way. CARL MULVIHILL: Blueberries on the hillside and along the railroad track. Ideal for pies.

KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. Now those are highbush blueberries? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Not like the -- the tundra -- CARL MULVIHILL: Well, there’s some lowbush. KAREN BREWSTER: Not the tundra kind? CARL MULVIHILL: No.

KAREN BREWSTER: And highbush cranberries? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah? People pick those?

CARL MULVIHILL: And some gooseberries in town, but they’re not wild. KAREN BREWSTER: No.

Serviceberry, I don’t know what that is. CARL MULVIHILL: It’s a -- kind of a blackberry. There’s not too much flavor to them, but they make a good fill. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. CARL MULVIHILL: For your blackberries or the currants. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

Are the blackberries you’re talking about, are they like blackberries like black raspberries, or are they the little like crowberry? CARL MULVIHILL: More like crowberries. KAREN BREWSTER: Crowberry, ok. Yeah.

And then, do you ever get salmonberries here? CARL MULVIHILL: On the -- Yeah. They’ll grow wild, though. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. CARL MULVIHILL: Not in town. You have to go out and look for them.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. Are they in the woods or -- ? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Those are good.

And again, noticing any differences in berry productivity or locations? CARL MULVIHILL: Again, it depends on the year. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. CARL MULVIHILL: There’s lotta moisture, lotta rain, or is it dry? That makes a big difference. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

Or are they coming up in different -- are you finding blueberries in places where they never used to grow? CARL MULVIHILL: Of course. Yeah, the berries -- the bears and the birds help spread ‘em. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

Yeah, but there’s also, maybe they used to get spread, but the climate didn’t let them take root or something, and now they can? I don’t know. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah, that’s a bit more difficult.

You know, if they’re in a good area where there’s enough soil to support them, they’ll grow better, of course. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

CARL MULVIHILL: But it always amazes me, on the evergreen trees or some of the other trees, they’ll find a small crack in the rock and somehow get hold, and began to grow. But you try to plant them, they won’t work.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, you need a big rock in your yard to plant them on. CARL MULVIHILL: Um-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: You can have like a big living bonsai garden. Um, yeah, it is amazing that -- what the evergreens can grow off of.

What species do you have here, Sitka spruce? CARL MULVIHILL: Um, cottonwood -- black cottonwood, Sitka spruce, birch, both the paper kind and the brown. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. CARL MULVIHILL: Uh --

KAREN BREWSTER: Hem -- hemlock? CARL MULVIHILL: Hemlock.

I’m trying to think of the evergreen that has the, uh, other soft leaves. KAREN BREWSTER: Cedar? No? Cedar? CARL MULVIHILL: Cedar? Not so much. KAREN BREWSTER: The yellow cedar? CARL MULVIHILL: No. That’s more down south where there’s more -- more rain.

KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh. And even growing up, you didn’t really have much yellow cedar here? CARL MULVIHILL: No.

KAREN BREWSTER: Because I was wondering if maybe it got logged out or something? CARL MULVIHILL: No. KAREN BREWSTER: No?

'Cause I’m assuming there was a lot of logging around here at one point. CARL MULVIHILL: Well, the early days, yeah. That’s what all the cabins are built of. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. CARL MULVIHILL: Primarily of the cottonwood groves. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, ok.

So again, any changes in those birch and cottonwoods and evergreens? Have you noticed any differences? CARL MULVIHILL: Not particularly, no.

KAREN BREWSTER: They all seem to be healthy and fine? CARL MULVIHILL: Pretty much.

KAREN BREWSTER: Are they growing in different places than they used to? CARL MULVIHILL: No. Well, probably further up than they used to. KAREN BREWSTER: You mean the cottonwoods? CARL MULVIHILL: Cottonwoods, alder, and those, yeah.

We’ve seen some change in the health of some of the trees down at the dock area because of the emissions from the cruise ships. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.

CARL MULVIHILL: You know, the cruise ships have been, uh, cleaning their exhaust with scrubbers and various changes in the fuel. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. CARL MULVIHILL: And there’s be more changes as time goes on.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, so is the community of Skagway responding in any way to those issues of pollution? CARL MULVIHILL: Complaining about ‘em, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: But they can’t do anything to --

CARL MULVIHILL: Well, it’s kind of a trade-off. Now, we need the tourists to support your sales tax revenues, which in turn supports your -- the economy and all the improvements. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. Yeah.

CARL MULVIHILL: So we -- we like to see the sales tax people walking up the streets.

KAREN BREWSTER: So they’re not tourists, they’re sales tax people. CARL MULVIHILL: Hm-mm. Walking sales tax.

KAREN BREWSTER: Um, something else I was just -- Oh, yeah, I asked about things that wash up on the beach, I was wondering if -- CARL MULVIHILL: Well, there’s changes there. There’s less crap, bottles and stuff mos -- washing -- KAREN BREWSTER: There’s less? CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

CARL MULVIHILL: When I was a kid, there used to be a lot of bottles, a lot of garbage out there. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. CARL MULVIHILL: And now there’s much less. That’s a big improvement. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

Yeah, 'cause the big thing people talk about is all this plastic out in the ocean. That’s what I was wondering, is if you’re seeing that around here? CARL MULVIHILL: You see some, but not to the extent -- KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. CARL MULVIHILL: -- that you used to have. KAREN BREWSTER: Well, that’s good.

CARL MULVIHILL: Because all the ships used to just dump the garbage off the -- off the fantail. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

CARL MULVIHILL: I mean, now they’re prohibited. So we’re gaining, a little bit. KAREN BREWSTER: Well, that's good.

Yeah, and, you know, all the plastic and stuff that gets talked about now, out in the ocean, those big -- CARL MULVIHILL: Miles of -- KAREN BREWSTER: Miles and miles of it. It’s not going to come up into the bay here? CARL MULVIHILL: No. KAREN BREWSTER: Whatever was washing up was a more localized thing? CARL MULVIHILL: Mm-mm. That’s correct. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Hm. Cool.

Other things? CARL MULVIHILL: Uh, I think people are more conscious of their community and cleaning up.

You don’t have all the beer bottles, the beer cans, and everything scattered all around the -- And it seems to get better and better every year.

At one time, for instance, our dump was at -- on the beach. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. CARL MULVIHILL: Alongside the river.

And they’d burn it, so you’d have all sorts of smoke. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

CARL MULVIHILL: The pilots and airplanes didn’t like it because they couldn’t see where they’re going, or didn’t like to go through the smoke.

So we have an incinerator now to control the burning. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

CARL MULVIHILL: So there’s -- I think people are more conscious of their environment now than they used to be.

KAREN BREWSTER: And what about flooding? I mean, we know river channels change all the time. CARL MULVIHILL: Constantly. KAREN BREWSTER: That’s what they do. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So I can’t really say if the river has changed in your lifetime. But has there been a difference in -- like in -- more -- has there been more flooding, less flooding?

CARL MULVIHILL: No. Less flooding, because the glaciers have melted more. You don’t have that much melt coming down anymore.

You can still get the occasional flood. We had a fairly substantial one in 1967, and there’ve been a few since then that were beginning to threaten our dike system. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. CARL MULVIHILL: But never enough to breach it yet.

KAREN BREWSTER: And has -- did people respond by adapting, making a new dike system or -- ? CARL MULVIHILL: Yes. KAREN BREWSTER: -- changing the infrastructure? CARL MULVIHILL: Pretty much, yeah.

Again, in order to do your dike system, you have to go through the Corps of Engineers, and they have to approve it and do the work. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

But if it’s to save your town? CARL MULVIHILL: You don’t have enough value here for a big project.

What they say, "It has to be a big city with millions of dollars in potential loss." KAREN BREWSTER: Mm-hm.

But, yeah, you were saying that the glaciers are -- you know, have receded, so they’re not putting out as much water. But on the other hand, the warmer temperatures makes what is there melt more, so you’d think there’d be more water.

CARL MULVIHILL: But your glaciers are smaller, even though they’re melting -- What’s there is melting faster. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, but there’s less there? CARL MULVIHILL: Yes.

KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. So that ’67 flood, did that come up to here, your house? CARL MULVIHILL: No, no. KAREN BREWSTER: No? CARL MULVIHILL: No.

We kept it in the riverbed. And areas that were beginning to breach, we had crews out dumping rocks and everything to control it.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, so it never affected town? CARL MULVIHILL: No.

KAREN BREWSTER: What about in the earlier days? CARL MULVIHILL: Never has.

KAREN BREWSTER: There were never floods that washed out parts of town? CARL MULVIHILL: No. KAREN BREWSTER: Huh. CARL MULVIHILL: Fortunately. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

CARL MULVIHILL: But they controlled them with finger dams, which kinda pushes the water back out into the center. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, ok. CARL MULVIHILL: Away from the sides where it would erode.

KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. And then the Dyea and Taiya Rivers -- CARL MULVIHILL: Same problem. But less -- less diking over there.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, there’s fewer people there to be impacted. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Um, yeah, somewhere I heard about something recently with the, um, one of those rivers that flooded -- CARL MULVIHILL: Well, some of the small creeks had a lot of rain, and they flooded parts of the trail, but nothing really serious. KAREN BREWSTER: And that’s --

CARL MULVIHILL: Depends if you're a workman whether they’re serious or not, but in general, not that serious. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

And, as you say, it probably has happened before. CARL MULVIHILL: And it’ll happen again.

KAREN BREWSTER: Right, well that's as I say, rivers are constantly moving. That’s what they do. CARL MULVIHILL: Yep.

KAREN BREWSTER: And, uh, it’s up to us to move with them, I guess. CARL MULVIHILL: Try to outguess what the river wants to do, and we usually are on the losing end of that. KAREN BREWSTER: Yes, that’s true.

Um, during the days when they were transporting all those minerals and ore and asbestos, did you -- were you aware of any pollution and -- or -- ? Did people even think about that back then?

CARL MULVIHILL: Ok. The asbestos was all brought in in covered containers, so you didn’t see too much of that.

Some of the early ore hauls, they weren’t as contained as they were later on. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

CARL MULVIHILL: And for awhile there, the ore terminal, the conveyor belt from the warehouse itself to the ship was open, so the wind could blow some of the dust up the streets. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

CARL MULVIHILL: And there was a little clean-up here in various spots.

KAREN BREWSTER: Were there any long-term health effects for people? CARL MULVIHILL: Not knowingly.

KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. Because as, you know, you said, nowadays people are more aware of some of these things, and those kinds of things -- CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah, the --

Well, when we grew up, we ate lead-based paint on our cribs. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, true.

CARL MULVIHILL: Probably not that much, but you always have that danger. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

So hopefully we learn from the past, we hope, right? CARL MULVIHILL: Sometimes we do, in spite of ourselves. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

So what do you think is going to happen in the future with the changing temperatures? CARL MULVIHILL: Hm. I haven’t checked my crystal ball recently. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, I thought you might have. Since --

CARL MULVIHILL: We hope men (or metal?) will skip coming through here, because that's -- that gives us a few more places of employment.

If we can get a better year-round economy, would be ideal. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

CARL MULVIHILL: Rather than so much overwhelming in summertime and not enough in the wintertime.

KAREN BREWSTER: Hm-mm. So are there possibilities for that? CARL MULVIHILL: There’s always possibilities.

Primarily the minerals in the Yukon. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

Are they viable still? CARL MULVIHILL: Depends on the market. World wide market. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

So, and it’s lead and zinc still up there? Or something else? CARL MULVIHILL: Say again?

KAREN BREWSTER: Lead and zinc? CARL MULVIHILL: Uh, copper. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, copper. Okay.

CARL MULVIHILL: Copper’s coming down now. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Oh, they're currently -- ? CARL MULVIHILL: Every -- every day, there’s several, uh, trucks with copper on it. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

There is a demand for copper. CARL MULVIHILL: Definitely. Yeah.

One, they -- one ship just took out 10,000 tons, what is it, last weekend? KAREN BREWSTER: Wow, that’s a lot of copper. CARL MULVIHILL: Lot of copper.

KAREN BREWSTER: All right. Well, I think we’ve covered it. I don’t know, as I say, anything else you want to mention that --

CARL MULVIHILL: No, as long as you keep asking the questions that I can respond.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, I was hoping you would have something in mind that you’d thought of on your own. CARL MULVIHILL: Oh, I probably answered those already. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.

CARL MULVIHILL: You know, trying to figure out what you wanted to hear about in our environment.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, as I say, what I’ve been asking. How different things have changed. Is the -- CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: -- the animal populations, the birds, the weather, the --

CARL MULVIHILL: Well, probably another one would be heating for the homes. In the early days, when the railroad was running coal-burning steam engines, most people had coal-burning stoves here. Or wood-burning. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

CARL MULVIHILL: And gradually in the ‘30’s, they began to go to oil, which was cleaner. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. CARL MULVIHILL: And easier to handle.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so, yeah, you’d see a definite change in the visibility, in the air quality? CARL MULVIHILL: I don’t think we ever had the problem with visibility because of our winds. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, right.

CARL MULVIHILL: A lot of people still burn wood. Again, with the -- 'cause our winds, we don’t have the inversion that other cities have, like Fairbanks or Juneau. Where they prohibit burning of that fuel from time to time.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, and as I said, this project, one of the big questions is climate change. Is there a change going on, and if so, in what arenas and -- ?

CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. Some buildings around now are beginning to burn -- or use electricity.

The buildings are more efficient, the burning or the furnaces are more efficient, so --

At one time, electricity was very expensive, so you couldn’t afford to have electric -- KAREN BREWSTER: Right. CARL MULVIHILL: -- electric heat.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, and now it’s warmer, you don’t need to heat -- You don't -- The difference between inside and outside isn’t as extreme.

CARL MULVIHILL: When it’s cold, it’s still cold. KAREN BREWSTER: That’s true.

CARL MULVIHILL: One thing I’ve never understood is, in the summertime, sixty, sixty-five is warm. Shirt sleeve weather. Wintertime, when it’s that cold, you put on a coat.

Now why is -- the temperature hasn’t changed, so why do you have to change your clothing?

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, is it moisture content in the air? Because a damp fifty is different than a dry fifty. CARL MULVIHILL: I don’t know.

KAREN BREWSTER: Or, well, it’s just what we get used to. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah. Something to think about.

KAREN BREWSTER: No, I think about it all the time. In the -- in the fall, why forty it's cold, but in the spring, forty is warm. CARL MULVIHILL: Um-hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, it’s just relative to what it’s been. CARL MULVIHILL: Yeah.

And we didn’t change the thermometer. KAREN BREWSTER: No. We've changed our internal system. CARL MULVIHILL: Yep. KAREN BREWSTER: Well? CARL MULVIHILL: Ok.

KAREN BREWSTER: Are we -- we’re good? CARL MULVIHILL: I think so. KAREN BREWSTER: All right.

CARL MULVIHILL: When you go, I’ll think of all sorts of things. KAREN BREWSTER: Well -- CARL MULVIHILL: I promise.