In 1977 the Beautification of Ketchikan began as a small operation with one part time gardener attending to 50 hanging baskets and several large planter boxes in the downtown area. It has grown over the years to now include 100 hanging baskets for the Adopt-A-Basket Program through the Parks and Recreation Department, a small green house, and over 20 landscaped areas with lawns and gardens.
Approximately 8,000-10,000 annuals and perennials are grown each year for the baskets and gardens. All spent plant material, weeds, lawn clippings, and wood ships are used to manufacture compost (approximately 50-70 cubic years each season), which is then used to replenish soil in existing areas.
The two largest and most intense gardens are Whale Park and around the traffic tunnel located in downtown Ketchikan. The largest park areas are Alder Park on the west end and City Park located near downtown, both of which have extensive lawns and picnic facilities
The Beautification program was extended to the Ketchikan International Airport, the Mike Smithers Pool grounds, and the Gateway Recreation Center. The Gateway Recreation Center has lawns and plant areas, and hosts several hanging baskets.
Maintenance & Pest Management
The gardeners practice integrated pest management techniques and avoid the use of pesticides.
Current staff includes two full time employees that split their duties with winter snow removal and maintenance of the parks in the dormant seasons.