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Mukluk Land: Alaska's newest junkyard-turned-theme park

Alaska Dispatch
There's a creepy doll mausoleum, a Santa Claus "rocket ship," a trampoline igloo and an outhouse collection. It's Alaska's newest theme park and you, too, can visit it for a fee and a drive to the Interior community of Tok. Courtesy: Mukluk Land

Mukluk Land, where reality TV meets Alaskan reality: Awe-inspiring mountains (seven ranges, actually), world-famous fishing, wildlife -- real wildlife with four legs roaming in both cities and villages -- and myriad First Peoples: there’s a lot Alaskans can boast that makes their state unique among the 50. But Alaska has more than its fair share of black eyes, too, like a certain self-styled bulldog with lipstick or a former oil-support services company man who peddled influence and cash to sitting lawmakers in exchange for their votes on oil tax policy. Now, Alaska offers another attraction to slack-jawed visitors; but is it a cultural treasure or national lampoon? That depends on the Alaskan, we suppose. Mukluk Land is located three miles west of the Interior Alaska community of Tok, a junkyard-cum-theme park that's pitching itself as Alaska's "most unique destination" and welcoming tourists with rusting snowmachines and a Santa Claus “rocket ship” on wheels. A creepy doll mausoleum. A trampoline igloo. An outhouse collection. And the world’s largest Mukluk, a boot made from sealskin. The amusement park was founded in 1985 by George and Beth Jacobs, who conduct tours and wipe the dust off the rust, Atlas Obscura reported. The couple also publish Tok’s newspaper, the Mukluk News. The park’s closed for the season but will reopen next June. 

Alaska's Dutch Harbor tops in fishing port, again: Dutch Harbor ranked as the nation's top fishing port for the 16th year in a row, according to an annual report that's compiled by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Last year, $752 million pounds of seafood were brought into Dutch Harbor; in fact, Alaska fishermen landed roughly 55 percent of all the seafood caught in the U.S. in 2012. Dutch Harbor is located off of Amaknak Island in Unalaska. 

No 'Sunday Night Football' for some in rural Alaska: Approximately 7,000 rural Alaska cable subscribers will lose access to Sunday Night Football, according to KTUU-TV Marketing Director Brad Hillwig, after Alaska’s principal cable provider, GCI, and Alaska's dominant television broadcaster failed to renegotiate a contract. The federal government’s recent approval for GCI to purchase three Alaska TV stations including Anchorage CBS affiliate KTVA-TV, makes GCI into a competitor with KTUU and other broadcasters for the lucrative local television advertising market. GCI's David Morris contacted Alaska Dispatch Saturday afternoon and said the black-out has nothing to do with the recent FCC-approved purchase, but was the result of KTUU having overlooked the sunset date on its current retransmission contracts with its one-time ally and newest news business adversary. In other words, the blackout would have happened despite the GCI-KTVA merger, according to Morris.

Youth outreach organizations lose federal funding: Alaska Youth Advocates and Covenant House will have less funding to work with this year due to the federal sequester. Both organizations are without the $200,000 grants that sustain a large portion of the each organization's street outreach -- critical components of the group's ability to engage and help high-risk teens living in Anchorage. In a press release Friday, both organization's said they hope the loss will only be limited to this year, and are looking at partnerships with other state and local organizations to make up the funding gap.