The Jilkaat Kwaan Cultural Heritage Center in Klukwan also serves as a visitor center for the Bald Eagle Preserve. The center installed a new fixture recently just in time for this week’s Eagle Festival. It’s a microphone stationed along the Chilkat River that picks up sounds of the abundant eagles and broadcasts them in the center’s lobby.
Lani Hotch is the cultural center’s executive director. She says the microphone installation capitalizes on the center’s location, right on the banks of the Chilkat River.
“It’s quite a spectacular view this morning, we’ve got some sunshine and snow-capped mountains, and the trees are frosty, and the water is all shiny, and there’s eagles and ravens and seagulls and we’ve even had a blue heron hanging about the past few weeks.”
Now, visitors can listen to the feeding eagles in addition to watching them.
“Well my thought was it gets really cold during Bald Eagle Festival. And it’s hard to stay out on the river bank indefinitely while it’s so cold out and enjoy the eagles. So we thought we’d pipe the sound in and people can enjoy the eagles from the comfort of a warm building and still hear the sounds of the river and the eagles.”
There are also new educational panels that explain eagle biology and behavior.
The cultural center is open this week for special tours and events during the Eagle Festival. On Friday, there is one more special guided tour with Hotch at 10 a.m. Self-guided tours begin at 11 a.m. And lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the neighboring hospitality house. Scott Ramsey will give a presentation called ‘Why the Eagles Congregate Here’ at 1 p.m.
For more information, visit jilkaatkwaanheritagecenter.org.