Pete Jackson, Alaskan entrepreneur and explorer

Pete Jackson, a fur trader and one of the few whitemen to have crossed Valdez Glacier before 1898, capitalized on his wilderness skills by establishing a private mail route from Valdez to Copper Center.

In the spring, when the gold rushers were spread out along the Valdez Glacier and Klutina River, Jackson used the Valdez Glacier route. But as the prospectors moved down the Klutina to the Copper Center area, Jackson looked for a shorter, ice-free route between Valdez and Copper Center.

Unfortunately, Jackson was a man of the wilderness not of words. He left no written account of his adventures. However, Will Crary notes in his diary on June 28th, 1898 that Jackson arrived at Lake Klutina with the mail and two pack horses having come by the eastern trail, "about half way up the ridge, said to lead to Valdez."


Jackson probably followed the trail Cleave and his party had made on the ridge above Keystone Canyon a week or so earlier then headed north over Thompson Pass. We don't know the route he followed from there to Klutina Lake, but most importantly -- he established that it could be done.

In the end, it was an all-Alaskan man -- a fur trader, prospector, mail carrier, fox farmer, wilderness guide -- who pioneered the first route through the Chugach mountains to interior Alaska. Pete Jackson, a man whom history has forgotten.

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