Alaska’s Chugach National Forest extends over almost 7 million acres in Southcentral Alaska and includes mountainous areas in Prince William Sound, the Kenai Peninsula and the Copper River Delta. With its vast expanse, the Chugach Forest’s wilderness is largely untouched by roads or trails and is home to many Alaska birds, mammals and marine species including a bald eagle population larger than the continental 48 states combined.
Created in 1907 from a larger forest reserve, the Chugach Forest is technically a sub-polar rainforest in the pacific temperate region lying between the Pacific Ccean and the icier alpine zone. The Kenai Peninsula section is home to over 200 colonies of seabirds, as well as between 3,000 and 5,000 bald eagles. The Copper River Delta portion of the forest is considered one of the most essential shorebird habitats in the world with over 20 million birds habituating there annually, including one quarter of the world’s migrating trumpeter swans and dusky Canada geese. Other Chugach wildlife include dall sheep, moose, caribou, Sitka black-tailed deer, mountain goats, black bears and grizzly bears. Marine life is abundant with humpback whales, sea lions and otters common in the waters surrounding Chugach shorelines as well as all five species of Pacific salmon (king salmon, red salmon, silver salmon, chum salmon and pink salmon).