Southeast Alaska is the largest temperate rainforest in the world, The coast from Kodiak to Northern California has a cool, wet climate with enough rain to keep it green all year round. The Tongass National Forest, part of Alaska’s rainforest, is home to Icefields, glaciers, mountains, valleys, estuaries, islands, lakes, caves and over 5000 Alaskan Brown Bears. The state tree, Sitka spruce can live to be 700 years old and 200 foot tall, and an important element for many species to inhabit.
There are more than 1000 Islands that are part of the Tongass National Forest. The Island and Fjord landscape presents over 11,000 miles of shoreline. At 16.9 million acres, it is the largest National Forest in the US. Several Islands such as Admiralty and Prince of Wales are over 1 million acres in size, many are as small as one acre.
The Tlingit, Haidi and Tsimshain people have lived in Southeast Alaska since time immemorial. They traveled on foot and by canoe, and developed a vast trade network and lived well off the sea and land. Immigrants from all over the world have settled in here during the last 2 centuries and have developed commercial hunting, fishing, mining and Timber business. Tourism has also been part of Southeast Alaska and is a major industry today.
As we paddle on our journey from Skagway, Alaska to Vancouver we are constantly reminded of this unique environment that we are in. Not only from what presents to the eye, but also from the people that we meet that are living and working this part of the world and the Alaskan attitude and appreciation for their backyard and the sustainability of their industries.