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. It 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 between the Pacific Ocean and the icier alpine zone in the Pacific temperate region. 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 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 includes Dall sheep, moose, caribou, Sitka black-tailed deer, mountain goats, and black 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).
Header photo courtesy Jack Bonney/Visit Anchorage