Destination: Prince of Wales Island
6 Reasons We Love Prince of Wales Island.
1. Experience the Spirit and Reality of Responsible Tourism on Prince of Wales Island: The local people lead the way here, this economy is quickly changing from unsustainable natural resource exploitation to resource conservation and nature and indigenous culture tourism.
2. Explore a (Temperate) Rainforest! Prince of Wales Island is in the heart of the planet’s largest temperate rainforest.
3. Wild Earth, Air, and Sea: One of the few places left in the United States where you can still see plentiful salmon in the streams. The grey wolves fish here, black bears too (no grizzlies on the island), and so do bald eagles and river otters. Off shore watch for whales, seals, ocean birds and more!
4. Meet the Ancestors: Almost 10,000 years ago the Tlingit people lived on the island. The Haida people, still there today, followed. Discover a living ancient culture.
5. And Ancestor Trees: Hike among trees as old as 800 years in one of the planet’s last old-growth forests. The people themselves voted to save these ancients - come and see why.
6. Welcome to the Family: Just about everything on the island is family owned and run; when you are here, you are part of the family! Warm welcomes, (and kitchenettes) abound.
Who: Adults, Children 10 and over, multi-generational families.
What: Temperate rain-forest, wildlife (some predators) and birds
Activities: Hiking, kayaking, camping, drive tours, boat tours
When: May through October
Where: Prince of Wales Island, Alaska
Why Responsible: Island economy transitioning from natural resource exploitation to nature tourism
How Long: Week, 10 days, longer.
The Alexander Archipelago - The Gateway to Alaska!
Where else can you watch the sun both rise and set over open water? Where can you experience humpback whales breaching and dolphins leaping, and then see a black bear, an eagle, and perhaps even a wild gray wolf fish for spawning salmon - all on the same day?
Where can you hug an 800-year old tree and explore a 10,000-year old culture? Where do the locals welcome you and your family into their own?
Where else but Prince of Wales Island, Alaska - the largest jewel in the mosaic of over 1,100 islands and submerged mountains that create Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago, the Gateway to Alaska!
Explore a Temperate Rainforest
Prince of Wales Island sits in the middle of the largest temperate rainforest in the world. Tongass National Forest also happens to be one of earth’s last old-growth forests (forest ecosystems that have not been changed unnaturally for 100 - 150 years are often given this designation).
Tongass continues across the bay from the mainland covering the island with centuries-old Sitka spruce, hemlock, and cedar trees, some of which have reached six to twelve feet (1.8 - 3.7 m). in diameter. The climate and unique ecosystem of saltwater inlets, glacier melt streams, waterfalls, and mountains, with its rare air, land, and sea wildlife, all surrounded by the Pacific Ocean creates a lush almost primordial world.
The island, transitioning from unsustainable old-growth logging and commercial fishing to nature tourism, is mostly undiscovered – expect a warm welcome but no crowds, no lines, and no traffic.
Bring the family!
This is an excellent multi-generation vacation destination. Nature experience opportunities run the gamut from accessible raised boardwalks through the rainforest and wildlife viewing platforms to rugged trails for extreme backpackers. The logging industry with its extensive old-growth logging and clear cutting has left scars - but also a mesh of logging roads ideal for walking and biking, or enjoy the island from a comfortable vehicle on the scenic highway. Explore the waters from a kayak, canoe, or let a local captain take you out on his boat. Stay in a cozy family owned inn or camp rough in a tent or forestry cabin. All business here - inns, shops, guides, restaurants - is local, as is the catch of the day.
And Do Not Forget the Wildlife!
The island is home to the threatened Alexander Archipelago wolf, a unique swimming, fishing, gray wolf subspecies. In fact, the wolves are not the only avid fisherfolk on the island; salmon fishing black bears are fun to watch from the boardwalks at the island's salmon runs, and the aerial ballets of eagles and ospreys competing for the best catch can be awe inspiring.
Enjoy the exuberance of feasting resident and migrating whale species without ever leaving the shore line, however you will not want to miss the porpoises, seal, and sea lions, and then there are the puffins and auks nesting on the small rocky islands a short boat ride away. Prince of Wales Island is a wonderland of earth, air, and sea wildlife species!
There is a host of possibilities for children (most locals recommend 10-years and older) and their parents and grandparents.
For More on Prince of Wales Island
To Luke and Others on Prince of Wales Island who prefer to remain nameless
but whose enthusiasm and love for their wonderful home is surpassed only by their generosity.
The to U.S Forestry Service at Prince of Wales Island
for their time, help, and enthusiasm for this very special place.
JFimages01, photography. Follow him on Facebook