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Hyder, Alaska

Hyder, Alaska
The border between Stewart, British Columbia and Hyder, as seen from the Canadian side.
The border between Stewart, British Columbia and Hyder, as seen from the Canadian side.
Location of Hyder, Alaska.
Location of Hyder, Alaska.
Country United States
State Alaska
 • Total 14.8 sq mi (38.4 km2)
 • Land 14.8 sq mi (38.4 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 118 ft (36 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 87
 • Density 5.9/sq mi (2.3/km2)
Time zone Official time: Alaska (AKST)[1]
  Unofficial time: PST[2]
 • Summer (DST) Official time: AKDT[1]
  Unofficial time: PDT[2] (UTC)
ZIP Code 99923
Area code(s) 250, 778, 236
FIPS code 02-34570
GNIS feature ID 1422711

Hyder is a census-designated place (CDP) in Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area, Alaska, United States. The population was 87 at the 2010 census.[3] Hyder has achieved fame as a point in Alaska accessible to automobile and motorbike travelers in Canada and the USA who want to say that they have been to Alaska. Hyder is also the easternmost town in Alaska.[4]


  • Geography 1
  • Demographics 2
  • Transportation 3
  • Local services 4
  • History 5
  • Destination Hyder 6
  • Local notoriety 7
  • Canadian and British Columbian influence on culture 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Hyder is located at (55.941442, -130.054504),[5] at the head of the Portland Canal, a 130-mile (210 km) long fjord which forms a portion of the border between the U.S. and Canada at the southeastern edge of the Alaska Panhandle. It sits about 2 miles (3.2 km) from Stewart, British Columbia by road, and 75 miles (121 km) from Ketchikan by air.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 14.8 square miles (38 km2), all land.


As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 97 people, 47 households, and 25 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 6.5 people per square mile (2.5/km²). There were 72 housing units at an average density of 4.9 per square mile (1.9/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 93 White, and 4 from two or more races. There was 1 Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 47 households out of which 9 had children under the age of 18 living with them, 24 were married couples living together, 1 had a female householder with no husband present, and 21 were non-families. 19 of all households were made up of individuals and 3 had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.06 and the average family size was 2.81.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 18 under 18, 11 from 18 to 24, 16 from 25 to 44, 45 from 45 to 64, and 7 who were 65 or older. The median age was 46 years. There were 44 females and 53 males, of them 34 females were age 18 and over, as were 45 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $11,719, and the median income for a family was $30,500. Males had a median income of $56,250 versus $13,750 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $11,491. There were 44.4% of families and 54.1% of the population living below the poverty line, including 81.0% under 18, and 50.0% over 64.


Stewart, British Columbia immediately borders Hyder and is accessible by road via International Street. NF-88 heads north and enters the outer extent of Stewart's municipal limits. There are few local roads, and no roads connect Hyder to any other Alaskan communities. The AMHS ferry that once connected Hyder to Ketchikan stopped running in the 1990s, leaving the Taquan Air floatplane that arrives twice a week with U.S. Mail at Hyder Seaplane Base as the only public transportation between Hyder and the rest of Alaska.[7][8]

Local services

There are few local services in town:

  • Hyder Water Works
  • US Forest Service Info Kiosk
  • Camp Run-A-Muck
  • Hyder Community Association – home to museum, information center, library
  • This N That Shop
  • Sealaska Inn
  • Boundary Gift store

Alaska State Troopers patrol the town, but are not located in town. The nearest policing is sometimes provided by stopovers by the Stewart Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Detachment from the Canadian side.[9] There is no fire or EMS services in town. When required they are provided by nearby Stewart:

  • District of Stewart Fire & Emergency Services Department – volunteer fire services

A Canada Border Services Agency customs post is located 100 yards from the town and used by all visitors and residents as it provides the only road connecting out of Hyder.


The Nisga'a, who lived around the Nass River, called the head of Portland Canal "Skam-A-Kounst," meaning safe place, probably because it served them as a retreat from the harassment of the Haidas on the coast. They traveled in the area seasonally to pick berries and hunt birds.

The area around the Portland Canal was explored in 1896 by Captain D.D. Gaillard of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In 1898, gold and silver lodes were discovered in the region, mainly on the Canadian side, in the upper Salmon River basin. The Stewart brothers, for whom the British Columbia town was named, arrived in 1902.

Hyder was established in 1907 as Portland City, after the canal.[4] In 1914, when the US Post Office Department told residents that there were many U.S. communities named Portland, it was renamed Hyder, after Frederick Hyder, a Canadian mining engineer who envisioned a bright future for the area. Hyder was the only practical point of access to the silver mines in Canada; the community became the port, supply point, and post office for miners by 1917. Hyder's boom years were the 1920s, when the Riverside Mine on the U.S. side extracted gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, and tungsten. The mine operated from 1924 to 1950.

In 1948, the abandoned part of Hyder, which was built on pilings, was destroyed by fire. By 1956 all significant mining had ceased, except for the Granduc Mine on the Canadian side, which operated until 1984. Currently, Westmin Resources Ltd. operates the only remaining mine in the area, a gold-and-silver mine on the Canadian side.

Destination Hyder

Hyder is accessible by highway from Stewart, which connects with the British Columbia highway system. Hyder became popular with long distance motorcycle riders in 1998 when author Ron Ayres set a record of riding to the contiguous 48 states in six days. Ayres went on to add to the 48 state record by continuing on to Hyder, Alaska to establish a new 49-state record of 7 days, 0 hours and 20 minutes. Ayres named the new long distance ride the "48 Plus" and the 49-state ride has become very popular with members of the long distance motorcycle riding Iron Butt Association.

Hyder is also the location of the annual Hyder Seek gathering of long-distance motorcyclists who travel from all over North America each Memorial Day weekend.

Local notoriety

Hyder has some notoriety as the place where people become "Hyderized."[10][11] Two of the town's bars issue certifications to patrons of being "Hyderized" if the patron consumes a shot of 151 proof (75.5% alcohol) Everclear.

Canadian and British Columbian influence on culture

Hyder is notable for being the only place in Alaska not to use the 907 area code, instead using British Columbia's 250. Tourists also find that Hyder uses the Pacific Time Zone (most of the rest of Alaska uses the Alaska Time Zone [UTC−9].), both American and Canadian currency are accepted (except the U.S. Post Office, which accepts only American currency), observes American and Canadian holidays,[12] and calling the police means an RCMP "mountie" will respond. Electricity comes from Canada, as the local electric utility is British Columbia's BC Hydro.[3] Hyder and Stewart share a mutual international Chamber of Commerce.[13]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Hyder, Alaska current local time and time zone". Retrieved 2012-02-05. Hyder, Alaska is in the Alaska Time Zone 
  2. ^ a b "Stewart, British Columbia current local time and time zone". Retrieved 2012-02-05. Stewart, British Columbia is in the Pacific Time Zone 
  3. ^ a b "Alaska Division of Community and Regional Affairs. Alaska Community Database Community Information Summaries (CIS). Hyder.". State of Alaska. Retrieved 2012-01-21. During the Prohibition era, a small community called 'Hyder, BC' was created just across the Canadian border to serve as a legal speakeasy to the Hyder mining community, even housing its own Canadian Customs office. 
  4. ^ a b Geological Survey Professional Paper. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1967. p. 440. Retrieved 2013-05-25. ...was established in 1907 and named "Portland City" because of its location. When the post office was established in 1915, the U.S. Post Office Dept. rejected this name. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  6. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  7. ^ Paul Whitfield (April 26, 2004). Rough guide to Alaska. Rough Guides. p. 97.  
  8. ^ "Taquan Air's Inside Passage Flight Schedule: Summer 2011". Taquan Air. Retrieved 2011-02-24. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Hyderized And Confused". Forbes. 
  11. ^ Steffens, Daneet (June 21, 2002). "Travelogue –". Entertainment Weekly. 
  12. ^ Lauren Birch, Superintendent (April 21, 2010). "10B2 letter to coastal mtn sd.pdf". Thorne Bay, Alaska:  
  13. ^ "Stewart BC & Hyder AK International Chamber of Commerce". Retrieved 2012-04-01. 

External links

  • Community Information for Hyder Alaska
  • Fish Creek Wildlife Observation Site
  • (requires Javascript)  
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