In the early years at the lodge, we had a 14-kilowatt generator to provide our electricity. The generator was housed in a small room off the original boathouse. The radiator fan faced outside toward the trees. Several times during the summer, I noticed our staff placing their wet boots and clothing items on a ledge in front of the radiator fan. On occasion, I asked the staff how effective the warm generator air was at drying their clothes. They consistently replied that the drying process was a little slow, but it worked.

The sea lions use the sun for drying.
The sea lions use the sun for drying.

With the growth Doc Warner’s and the addition of larger freezers, which required more electricity, we enlarged the generator room and installed a 115-kilowatt generator. During the planning phase for a building to house the larger generator, I suggested we position the generator so we could capture the exhaust heat from the radiator into an adjacent room. My thinking was that if clothing items could be dried sitting outside, it would be more effective in a closed, protected room. We were greatly surprised when we learned how much heat came into the room. We quickly enlarged the drying room, changed the configuration of how clothing items were hung, and ended up with the most popular room at the facility.

Enough hot air blows into the room to dry almost any item in about the same time it takes for the guests to go to the lodge dining room, eat dinner and then return to pick up their clothes. The drying room is also extremely popular with guests who get wet or cold while fishing and with those who are naturally cold blooded. Five minutes in the drying room, a person who is chilled feels warm and strong again. When people ask if we are considering changing to hydro power, we respond, “How could we survive without the drying room?” They respond, “Oh, don’t get rid of that room.” The drying room is here to stay!

Mark Warner
Mark H. Warner was raised in Juneau and he has been fishing the waters of Alaska for more than 30 years. He grew up working with his father developing Doc Warner’s from its earliest days. After getting his Ph.D. in Mechanical engineering, he went to work in the industry where he later completed an Executive MBA. Then in 2010, his father, Doc, offered Mark and his wife, Kristina, the opportunity to move back to Alaska and operate the lodge full-time. Today, Mark has over 25 years of experience with Doc Warner’s. His knowledge and experience teaching people about self-guided fishing in Alaska are now used to create lasting memories for Doc Warner’s guests.