Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!
Misty Fjords National Monument lies within the Tongass National Forest. What exactly is a fjord, you may ask? According to Wikipedia, a fjord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by a glacier.
The U.S. Forest Service administers the monument and wilderness area. Tongass is the largest national forest in the USA, covering 17 million acres of Southeast Alaska. Misty Fjords takes up 2.3 million of those acres. Most of the monument holds a wilderness designation.
President Carter declared Misty Fiords a national monument in 1978 under the Antiquities Act. The state of Alaska fought the federal government over land rights. After much debate, Congress passed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Carter signed the bill in 1980, changing the designation to Misty Fjords National Monument. And a small portion of the monument was ceded back to the state’s commercial interests.
Historically, the Tlingit people occupied this region. Their history dates back almost 10,000 years.
Europeans first visited the fjords over 200 years ago. George Vancouver explored the Behm Canal area in 1793 and named formations and features.
John Muir likened the region to Yosemite Valley. Glaciers carved the cliffs and inlets 60 million years ago, creating a similar geology.
We visited Misty Fjords while on a cruise of the Inside Passage. From the port of Ketchikan, we boarded the St. Nona. Allen Marine Tours took us on a comprehensive tour of the monument. There are no roads to the monument. The only way to see it is by boat or plane.
We traveled the Behm Canal to New Eddystone Rock and Rudyerd Bay. The ship’s naturalist pointed out eagles, porpoises, geological formations and more. When we reached Rudyerd Bay, we were lucky enough to see a pod of orcas!
- Misty Fjords
- Behm Canal
- New Eddystone Rock
- Rudyerd Bay
Location: 40 miles east of Ketchikan, Alaska
Designation: National Monument
Date designated/established: December 5, 1978
Date of my visit: June 1, 2022