My wife and I visited Haines some years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. We now live in Juneau and took some folks who were visiting us on a ferry trip to Haines last week for a day tour.
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We were surprised at how "dead" the town was. The six of us and a young family of four from Juneau seemed to be the only people touring Haines that day. We were the only tourists in the museums and gift shops we visited and the only tourists in the restaurant where we had lunch.
I can't tell you why Haines' tourism appears to be down, but I think the price of the shuttle from the ferry terminal to town is part of the problem. My group of 10 was charged $20 a piece cash only for the four-mile trip to town from the ferry terminal.
I recall, the last time I visited Haines I paid $5 for a ride to town.
Haines was once a nice town to visit by ferry, and could be again, if the ride to town were affordable.