KRTTKarn Round Trip Timeout
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Far more remote than the Kantishna Roadhouse is Koyukuk River Tribal Tours (KRTT), which diff'ers from other Native tourism businesses in many ways--among them ownership.
KRTT is owned by the Hudotl'eekkaakk'e Tribe [dba Hughes Village Council]," says Edwin Bifelt, business manager of KRTT.
"KRTT offers guests a short glimpse into life in rural Alaska and an Alaska Native community from those that live in the community.
KRTT's services include both unguided tours and small-group, all-inclusive guided river camping tours of three days, two nights and six days, five nights.
The off-the-grid base for KRTT is 200 miles from Fairbanks and accessible only by plane, operating nearly year-round with summer/fall tours from June to October and winter/spring tours from February to May.
A few months ago I was fortunate enough to participate in a tour of Hughes, a small Interior village north of Fairbanks where community leaders worked for more than a year to conceptualize and launch their own tourism company called Koyukuk River Tribal Tours (KRTT).
The continued success of the Alaska Native regional corporations, villages, and communities can also be attributed to their creativity (as in the case of KRTT), utilization of shareholders as a resource, business-line diversification, and in some cases, knowing when to pullback.
We believe if we are able to partner with travel agencies and other industry participants, the tour can become sustainable in the long term." KRTT ( guests choose from either a three- or six-day immersive, guided river and camping tour designed to introduce visitors to the Koyukon Athabascan way of life through exploration, storytelling, and time spent with locals.
As we wonder at the view, Bifelt and Beetus set up our tents and Thelma Nicholia, city administrator for Hughes (also a KRTT board member) and family members prepare our first dinner of the trip: barbecued ribs and macaroni and cheese.
When winter hits, KRTT tour groups will have the opportunity to enjoy sled dog excursions helmed by Beetus.
Though we stop here, the road we take eventually ends up at an old mine that KRTT hopes to eventually make part of the tour package.