EXPECT DELAYS – Lines of traffic move slowly down Sawmill Creek Road today as a repaving project progresses near the Indian River bridge. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Fisherman, Longtime Alaskan Steven Garnick Dies at Age 69

Steven Garnick

Commercial fisherman, rock hound, husband and father Steven Garnick died Monday evening from complications of Hodgkin lymphoma at the age of 69. He was at home in Sitka with his family around him.
Although born in Colorado in 1949, his family moved to Alaska in 1958 and he was Alaskan to his core.
Learning to trap, tan hides, track, garden, hunt and fish, Garnick eventually bought his first commercial fishing boat, finding his true passion.
Fresh out of Vietnam, and with a desire to live off the land, he fixed up and moved in to a historic cabin in Dyea Valley, where he delivered his first daughter. He then took his small family on a canoe trip down the Tanana River and later became the Echo Ranch caretaker in Berner’s Bay, where he delivered his son.
He moved to Port Alexander in 1976 where he eventually homesteaded and built a small cabin out of driftwood. There, he delivered his three younger children.
Friends call Garnick part of the soul of Port Alexander. His antidisestablishmentarianism fit right in with the community who was more like his family. One of his favorite pastimes was to sit on the dock getting the fishing report and talking with his friends.
Garnick was a quiet and gruff man, but a prankster and animated storyteller to those who knew him best.
Over the years, fishing the Huntress, Garnick became a highliner on many PA drags. Known as the hawg hunter, he was often found hugging the shoreline in his grey/blue boat, hoping people couldn’t see him.
“He just wanted to find a hole with some fish and work it however he wanted,” his wife, Robin, said. “When you are with the fleet, you have to share....He claimed he didn’t like to be around people, but for someone who was such a loner, he sure had a lot of friends.”
The Garnick family will be hosting an open house in Sitka on Christmas Eve; family members may be contacted for details. Public celebrations of life will follow this summer in Sitka and Port Alexander.
In addition to his wife Robin, Garnick is survived by his son, Whiterabbit “Josh”; daughters Ptarmica (Luke McConnel), Harmony, Sunnianne (Michael Dunn) and Coral; mother, Viona; brother Wayne (Shannon); grandchildren Gage, Breezy and Seidon; niece Heather (Tony Maggi) and nephews Jeremy (Hollin) and Justin (Tina).
He was preceded in death by his father, Lloyd; brother, Keith (Jackie); and nephew, Ryan.

August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:


On March 30 the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

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– The Sitka Sentinel Staff


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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 8-7-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 11:20 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 53

Total statewide – 3,536

Total (cumulative) deaths – 25

Active cases in Sitka – 20 (14 resident; 6 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 15 (11 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 141.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

* These numbers reflect State of Alaska data. Local cases may not immediately appear on DHSS site, or are reported on patient’s town of residence rather than Sitka’s statistics. 




August 2000

High prices for chum salmon, low pink returns, and record numbers of fish in Deep Inlet have turned the Sitka fishing grounds into Route 66 this summer. “Overall it’s been a fantastic season so far,” said Steve Reifenstuhl, operations manager for the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association.

August 1970

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Ireney, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, will head a gathering of Orthodox prelates from North American and abroad in ceremonies canonizing the first American Orthodox saints, Father Herman of Alaska. A group of Sitkans will fly to Kodiak for the event.