Alaska State Museum conservator Ellen Carrlee stands in a raised bucket of a truck provided by Alaska Electric Light & Power as she inspects the Yaxté Totem Pole at the Auke Village Recreation Area. (Courtesy / Pete Schneider)

Alaska State Museum conservator Ellen Carrlee stands in a raised bucket of a truck provided by Alaska Electric Light & Power as she inspects the Yaxté Totem Pole at the Auke Village Recreation Area. (Courtesy / Pete Schneider)

Standing strong: Community effort helps inspect 80 year-old totem pole

“We couldn’t have done it without them”

A group effort helped a local totem pole continue to stand the test of time more than eight decades after it was raised.

The Yaxté Totem Pole — erected in 1941 at the Auke Village Recreation Area and carved by Tlingit master carver Frank St. Claire of Hoonah — was able to get a much-needed maintenance inspection after not having one formally by a conservator since 2017 when it needed to undergo extensive repairs.

The inspection was able to happen through a group effort between the U.S. Forest Service who coordinated the inspection, Alaska State Museum conservator Ellen Carrlee who conducted the inspection and Alaska Electric Light & Power, which provided the bucket truck and crew support.

We couldn’t have done it without them,” said Pete Schneider, recreation staff officer for the Forest Service.

Maintenance of the area falls to the Forest Service, but Schneider said the Forest Service knew of Carrlee’s expertise and, once asked, Schneider said she was more than willing to assist with the inspection.

Schneider said AEL&P also didn’t hesitate to help out when asked to borrow a bucket truck and also brought a crew to assist with the inspection.

Schneider said though still preliminary, the inspection seemed to show small damage likely due to woodpeckers, which is a common occurrence, but said Carrlee did not point to any major issues though a final report is still pending.

“It was really great to see such strong community support and effort,” Schneider said.

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.

More in News

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File
The Aurora Borealis glows over the Mendenhall Glacier in 2014.
Aurora Forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of March. 19

Hoonah’s Masters Bracket team poses for a group photo on Saturday after being crowned this year’s champs for the M bracket in the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at JDHS. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Hoonah crowned Gold Medal Masters Bracket champs

Hoonah’s Albert Hinchman named MVP.

President Joe Biden speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 23, 2023, celebrating the 13th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. Recent moves by President Joe Biden to pressure TikTok over its Chinese ownership and approve oil drilling in an untapped area of Alaska are testing the loyalty of young voters, a group that’s been largely in his corner. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Biden’s moves on Willow, TikTok test young voters

A potential TikTok ban and the Alaska drilling could weigh down reelection bid.

Students dance their way toward exiting the Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé gymnasium near the end of a performance held before a Gold Medal Basketball Tournament game between Juneau and Hydaburg. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Over $2,500 raised for Tlingit language and culture program during Gold Medal performance

A flurry of regionwide generosity generated the funds in a matter of minutes.

Legislative fiscal analysts Alexei Painter, right, and Conor Bell explain the state’s financial outlook during the next decade to the Senate Finance Committee on Friday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Legislators eye oil and sales taxes due to fiscal woes

Bills to collect more from North Slope producers, enact new sales taxes get hearings next week.

The FBI Anchorage Field Office is seeking information about this man in relation to a Wednesday bank robbery in Anchorage, the agency announced Thursday afternoon. Anyone with information regarding the bank robbery can contact the FBI Anchorage Field Office at 907-276-4441 or Tips can be submitted anonymously.  (FBI)
FBI seeks info in Anchorage bank robbery

The robbery took place at 1:24 p.m. on Wednesday.

Kevin Maier
Sustainable Alaska: Climate stories, climate futures

The UAS Sustainability Committee is hosting a series of public events in April…

Reps. Tom McKay, R-Anchorage, and Andi Story, D-Juneau, offering competing amendments to a bill increasing the per-student funding formula for public schools by $1,250 during a House Education Committee meeting Wednesday morning. McKay’s proposal to lower the increase to $150 was defeated. Story’s proposal to implement an increase during the next two years was approved, after her proposed amounts totalling about $1,500 were reduced to $800.
Battle lines for education funding boost get clearer

$800 increase over two years OKd by House committee, Senate proposing $1,348 two-year increase

C Bracket champions Filcom pose with their trophy. (left to right) Charlie Herrington, Alex Heumann, Tom Gizler, Adam Brown, Mike Lim, Andrew Malacas, Nino Bohulano, Ray Zimmer, Larry Cooper, Ronin Tagsip and Jason Haskell at the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament, Saturday, March 25, at Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé. (Klas Stolpe/For the Juneau Empire)
Juneau’s Filcom wins Gold Medal C Bracket Championship

Filcom caps undefeated tournament run with 73-49 win over Klukwan

Most Read