|a l a s k a j o u r n e y . c o m|
Location/Size: Between Stephens Passage and the Chatham Strait south of Juneau. 955,921 acres.
Main Activities: Bear viewing, wilderness exploration, coastal kayaking, freshwater canoeing and kayaking, fishing.
Gateway Towns/Getting There: Juneau/scheduled ferry or air from several points; Angoon/scheduled ferry from Juneau or Sitka, charter air, and boat; Kake/scheduled ferry from Juneau, charter air, and boat. Monument access by kayak, tour or charter boats, and floatplane; limited foot access from Angoon.
Facilities, Camping, Lodging: No facilities. Numerous backcountry cabins available (see headquarters for contact), primitive camping with some designated sites and shelters. Some private lodging at Angoon and Funter Bay.
Headquarters and Information: Headquarters, 8461 Old Dairy Road, Juneau, AK 99801 (10 miles north of town), 586-8790; Forest Service Information Center, 101 Egan Drive, Juneau, AK 99801, 586-8751, www.fs.fed.us/r10/chatham/anm.
Ninety percent of the thickly forested and rugged Admiralty Island is preserved in this 956,000-acre monument south of Juneau. All but two small sections of the monument are designated as the Kootznoowoo Wildernessone in the north where a road enters the Green Creek watershed, another surrounding the tiny village of Angoon on the islands west coast. The Kootznoowoo offers great opportunities for recreation and wilderness adventure, with two options that stand out from the rest.
The most famous place to view some of Admiralty Islands 1,500 brown bears is at Pack Creek on the west shore of Seymour Canal. Here, about 50 square miles of the Kootznoowoo Wilderness are closed to hunting and bears are easily viewed along three separate streams and the associated tide flats: Pack Creek, Swan Cove, and Windfall Harbor. The Stan Price State Wildlife Sanctuary, named for the pioneering researcher who studied area bears, gives special status to submerged and tidal lands near the mouth of Pack Creek. Prices cabin still stands, though it is closed to visitors. A 1-mile trail leads to a bear observatory along Pack Creek, open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. A couple of other observation points have been designated by the Forest Service.
You must obtain a $50 permit to visit Pack Creek. Contact the Forest Service Information Center for a permit application. On guided trips, permits are included in the price. Access is generally from Juneau via canoe, kayak, floatplane, or charter boat. All camping is a mile offshore on Windfall Island, so you will need a personal watercraft for site access. See the appendix for outfitters.
Cross-Admiralty Canoe Route
Canoers and stillwater kayakers can enjoy the finest freshwater route in the Southeast on this series of lakes, deep bays, and portage trails. The route connects Angoon on the islands west side with Mole Harbor on the Seymour Canal. Canoe rental is possible in Angoon (see the Appendix). Six backcountry cabins are available for rent and several open shelters are found at other key locations. The route is over 40 miles in length and takes four to six days to complete.
Easy access is available via a scheduled ferry to Angoon, floatplane or boat charter from Juneau, or by continuing the trip to include kayaking to or from Juneau (inquire about the portage from Oliver Inlet to the Seymour Canal). Get detailed information from the Forest Service Information Center or Admiralty National Monument Headquarters. They have a list of approved outfitters as well as information on hazards.
Independent explorations of Admiralty Island are possible via sea kayak, floatplane drop-off, and off-trail exploration. Scheduled ferry service can take you to gateway towns including Juneau, Angoon, and Kake. Prepare for wet, rain-forest conditions and expect bears.