Experience Alaska Tours
Experience Alaska Tours was started in 2003 as a business partnership between George Inlet Lodge owners, Carstens Jasper and Patricia Shaughnessey, and Great Alaska Lumber Jack Show owner, Rob Sheer. The company originally offered one tour, its Wilderness Exploration & Crab Feast. The original tour concept included having a local narrated boat tour including historical, cultural, and natural resource information, in addition to pulling local crab pots and learning about Dungeness crab. At the time, there were not Fish & Game regulations that allowed for tour participants to pull the crab pots without a sport fishing license, which would have been cost prohibitive. Experience Alaska Tours went through the State of Alaska Board of Fish process to have a Super Exclusive eco-tour regulation put into place, allowing for guests to pull the pots and experience the crab fishery first hand. The next season the company added a 20-minute flightseeing excursion to its offerings and operated the two tours through the 2007 season. In 2008, Rob Scheer sold his interest to George Inlet Investments, a local investment group including long-time Ketchikan resident and businessman, Kirk Thomas & his family. In 2009 the company added additional tours including a combination tour, partnering with the Rainforest Sanctuary and ACT and HAP Alaska to provide a crab meal in conjunction with a motor coach tour and the rainforest walk. The company has continued to grow, including the addition of tours on the north end of the island (Alaska Lodge Adventure & Seafeast at Silverking Lodge), additional combination tours (Saxman Totems & Crab Feast, Alaska Lumberjack Show & Crab Feast), and the replacement of its boat fleet to include two new 48 passenger tour boats. Experience Alaska Tours operates the bulk of its business from the George Inlet Lodge location. George Inlet Lodge is an old cannery bunkhouse that was floated over 70 miles on a log raft to its current Ketchikan location in the 1970’s. The lodge had been added to as tour needs have increased, but the main lodge still carries with it the original architecture and design.