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New Eddystone Rock sits within Misty Fjords National Monument and the Tongass National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service administers the island with its towering basalt pillar.
President Carter declared Misty Fiords a national monument in 1978 under the Antiquities Act. Then the state of Alaska fought the federal government over land rights. Under the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, the designation changed to Misty Fjords National Monument. And it also reduced the monument’s size slightly.
Historically, the Tlingit people occupied this region. Their history dates back almost 10,000 years.
Europeans first visited the area over 200 years ago. George Vancouver surveyed the Behm Canal in 1793. He named the island after the Eddystone lighthouse, a similar formation off Plymouth, England.
His party landed on New Eddystone and encountered some of the Tlingit.
“We stopped to breakfast and whilst we were thus engaged, three small canoes, with about a dozen of the natives, landed and approached us unarmed, and with the utmost good humor accepted such presents as were offered to them, making signs in return, that they had brought nothing to dispose of, but inviting us in the most pressing manner to their habitations.”Captain Vancouver in his report to King George III
The island formed by volcanic activity at the end of the last ice age. As the thick ice covering melted, compression of the underlying crust reduced. The crust thrust upward, breaking the rock. New Eddystone volcano erupted approximately 15,000 years ago.
Location: East of Ketchikan, Alaska
Designation: National Monument
Date designated/established: December 5, 1978
Date of my visit: June 1, 2022