Kuiu Wilderness and Tebenkof Bay Wilderness

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Kuiu Wilderness
IUCN category Ib (wilderness area)
Port Malmesbury, Kuiu Wilderness, Alaska.jpg
Overlooking Port Malmesbury in the Kuiu Wilderness on Kuiu Island, Alaska.
Map showing the location of Kuiu Wilderness
Map showing the location of Kuiu Wilderness
Location Unorganized Borough, Alaska, USA
Nearest city Kake, Alaska
Coordinates 56°17′18″N 134°04′59″W / 56.28833°N 134.08306°W / 56.28833; -134.08306Coordinates: 56°17′18″N 134°04′59″W / 56.28833°N 134.08306°W / 56.28833; -134.08306[1]
Area 60,581 acres (245.16 km2)
Established November 28, 1990
Governing body U.S. Forest Service
Tebenkof Bay Wilderness
IUCN category Ib (wilderness area)
Location Unorganized Borough, Alaska, USA
Nearest city Kake, Alaska
Area 66,812 acres (270.38 km2)
Established December 2, 1980
Governing body U.S. Forest Service

The Kuiu Wilderness and Tebenkof Bay Wilderness are federally designated wilderness areas within the Tongass National Forest, located on Kuiu Island, Petersburg Census Area, Alaska. The 60,581-acre Kuiu and 66,812-acre Tebenkof Bay wildernesses are managed by the United States Forest Service as a single area — creating a 200-square-mile wilderness preserve covering the heart of the island.[2][3] Together, the two areas protect old-growth temperate rainforests rising from coastal estuaries to subalpine meadows more than 2,000 feet in elevation, with a high point atop 3,355-foot Kuiu Mountain.[2][4]

Tebenkof Bay Wilderness was created by Congress and signed into law on December 2, 1980 as a provision of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.[5][6] The Kuiu was created by Congress and signed into law on November 28, 1990 as part of the Tongass Timber Reform Act.[5]

Ecology and history[edit]

The landscape of Kuiu Island has much in common with other areas of the Alexander Archipelago — heavily-glaciated mountains alternating with narrow, deep fjords. Within the wilderness areas can be found a variety of ecological communities, including muskeg, Pacific temperate rain forest dominated by Sitka spruce and western hemlock, and alpine tundra zones as low as 2,000 feet above sea level.[2] Prior to European colonization, significant populations of Tlingit native people lived on the island, particularly in Tebenkof Bay.[2]

Recreation[edit]

The Bay of Pillars Shelter in the Kuiu Wilderness.

Access to the wilderness is possible only by boat or floatplane, with the most convenient Alaska Marine Highway ferry terminal being in Kake.[2] One rustic camping shelter is available on a first-come, first-served basis, located near the shoreline of the Bay of Pillars.[7] The shelter was built in 1997, but was designed to be reminiscent of those constructed in the 1930s by Civilian Conservation Corps crews working in Southeast Alaska.[8]

The two wilderness areas are a popular destination for kayaking and canoeing, offering experienced backcountry paddlers a mix of peaceful, sheltered waterways and difficult, open-ocean traverses. Several portages are available when seas are particularly treacherous.[9][4][2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kuiu Wilderness, Geographic Names Information System, United States Geological Survey.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Wilderness Areas of the Petersburg Ranger District, Tongass National Forest, United States Forest Service.
  3. ^ Kuiu Island Wilderness Areas, Cape Decision Lighthouse Society
  4. ^ a b Kuiu Wilderness, Wilderness.net
  5. ^ a b What Can I Do In Wilderness? Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act and Wilderness on National Forests in Alaska, United States Forest Service.
  6. ^ Tebenkof Bay Wilderness, Wilderness.net
  7. ^ Bay of Pillars Shelter, Tongass National Forest, United States Forest Service.
  8. ^ Bay of Pillars Shelter, Petersburg Ranger District, Tongass National Forest, United States Forest Service.
  9. ^ Kuiu Island/Tebenkof Bay Canoe/Kayak Routes, Leaflet R10-RG-3, Tongass National Forest, United States Forest Service

External links[edit]