Oral History Interviews:
Dick Hamlin grew up in Ketchikan and loved the outdoor lifestyle. He hunted, fished and trapped from an early age. Hunting mountain goats was one of his favorite activities. Dick still remembers one day when he got out of school in the late afternoon, almost ran up the nearby mountains, and shot a goat before supper time. He freely admits that the physical demands of that type of hunting are now well beyond his capability.
Dick and his brother worked their way through college catching king salmon with rod and reel adjacent to the area fish traps. The fish were sold to local markets. They also scrounged logs which broke free from "rafts" being towed to lumber mills in the area. The salvaged logs were either sold back to the mills or used for private construction projects. Both of these endeavors could be quite lucrative, but were physically demanding.
Dick became a pilot and bought his own plane at an early age. He has flown surveys for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for the past 35 years. He also used the plane in his personal hunting, trapping and fishing expeditions. When Dick was actively trapping wolves, he could jump in his plane after school, check his entire line, and be back home before darkness descended.
Dick graduated from college with a teaching degree and returned to his hometown. He taught in the Ketchikan school district for 20+ years. During the course of his teaching career, Dick observed an increasing number of kids who lacked the motivation to work hard in school. He was frustrated by these situations and challenged himself to stimulate these students. Dick often used field trips to introduce his students to the natural world. Occasionally students (both boys and girls) responded to the "call of the wild." Dick took special pride in the kids who turned their lives around.