Isolated Alaska Town to Canada: Closing Border Not Cool

Outpost might need medics, Mounties after midnight
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2015 8:55 AM CDT
Hyder is the easternmost town in Alaska and has no road connection to the rest of the state.   (Wikipedia/Tdevries)

(Newser) – Canada has stopped keeping the border open 24 hours near the town Conde Nast Traveler once called "America's only de facto outpost of Canada," and the 100 or so residents of Hyder, Alaska, are pretty worried. There are no roads from Hyder to anywhere else in Alaska and the only emergency medical care is a couple of miles away in Stewart, British Columbia. "It's the only evacuation route if you have a tsunami or a flood," Ketchikan Rep. Dan Ortiz tells KTOO, describing the situation as unsafe. "And then, [of] course, in the middle of the night if you have an emergency medical issue you don’t have access to a hospital."

Canada, which starting locking the border gate from midnight to 8am this month as a cost-cutting move, says Alaskans can relax, the AP reports. A Canadian Border Services Agency spokeswoman says phone clearance procedures are in place and emergency responders will still have 24-hour access "in the event of a situation such as a medical emergency, natural disaster, or if there is risk to critical infrastructure." The nearest police to Hyder are the Mounties, according to Conde Nast's profile of the town, which also noted that all businesses there except the post office price things in Canadian dollars, the town takes Victoria Day and Boxing Day off, and even the area code is Canadian. (Alaskans are holding a lottery to guess when river ice will break up.)

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