South Baran of Wilderness
Located in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska.
Location: The 319,568-acre South Baranof Wilderness is located in the southern portion of Baranof Island. It is bounded by the open ocean of the Gulf of Alaska and Chatham Strait on the east.
Access: South Baranof Wilderness is accessible by boat or float plane. Numerous sheltered bays and fiords provide safe anchorages for small boats. The nearest communities are Sitka, 50 miles to the north, and Port Alexander, 20 miles to the south.
Description: High mountains rise sharply from sea level to 4,000 feet in less than 2 miles from the beach. The highest point in the area is Mt. Ada, elevation 4,528 feet. Much of the higher elevations are covered with permanent icefields and numerous active glaciers. Many of the valleys were filled with glaciers until recently, thus they have the typical U-shaped cross section. Many of the valleys display amphitheater-like cirques at their sources, hanging valleys along their sides near the coast. Most of the valleys empty into the heads of deep fiords that extend several miles inland from the coast.
Rainfall in portions of the area is among the highest in southeast Alaska. A weather station at Little Port Walter on the east coast of Baranof Island, immediately south of the Wilderness, has recorded yearly precipitation over 200 inches, mostly in the form of rain. Storms from September through December may have winds exceeding 200 miles per hour.
A wide variety of wildlife may be found in the area. The more common species include Sitka black-tail deer, brown bears, hair seals, and furbearers such as mink, martens, and land otters. Bird life includes bald eagles and a variety of song birds, shore birds, and marine birds. Many species of waterfowl migrate along the coastline and a few species nest in the estuarine and stream course wetlands.
Some of Baranof Island's major steelhead producing lakes and streams are found in the Wilderness. Coho, sockeye, pink and chum salmon, cutthroat and rainbow trout, and Dolly Varden char occur in some of the lakes and streams. The notable shellfish and marine fish species are Dungeness and Tanner crab, shrimp, herring, and halibut.
Facilities: Five Forest Service cabins are maintained at Avoss, Davidoff, North Platnikof, Gar, and Rezanof Lakes.
For further information contact: Sitka Ranger District - Tongass National Forest
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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