Oral History Interviews:

Ken Fanning

Ken Fanning grew up as a military brat. His family traveled the world. However, Ken knew that he had found a home when he reached Alaska as a young man.

Fanning held a variety of jobs during his first years in The Great Land. He worked as a commercial fisherman and assistant guide, and served as a receiving agent for one of the major taxidermists in the world. All of these experiences prepared Ken for his ultimate job as a hunting and fishing guide. He shares numerous tales (both humorous and harrowing) from this period of his life in Alaska's wilderness.

Fanning was a founding member of the Alaska Trappers Association. He served as the Editor of ATA's newsletter for the early years of the organization's existence. During this period, he trapped extensively throughout the Interior and operated a trapping supply business catering to the local clientele.

Ken also became involved in the political arena. He spent a couple of years in Washington, DC, fighting for the rights of consumptive users during the protracted battles surrounding the Alaska lands bill. He arranged for numerous key Congressmen to visit Alaska and experience the wilderness first-hand. In addition, the trips provided resident trappers and hunters an opportunity to present their arguments face-to-face. Fanning also served one term in the Alaska State Legislature.

Ken and his wife Jill now own and operate the Yakutat Lodge with their son Kip. The area's sensational fishing and bear hunting make this an attractive destination for outdoor enthusiasts from throughout the world. The lodge keeps the Fanning family busy. However, they are close to the wilderness that they love.

Fanning explains his "deep moral responsibility" to the fish and wildlife that have formed the basis for both his personal and professional life since he arrived in Alaska. He also clearly states the mutual commitment that he and Jill share for each other. Ken's self-deprecating sense of humor makes this interview highly entertaining for the listener.

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