Tongass National Forest: Ketchikan

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The Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in the USA, covering 17 million acres of Southeast Alaska. We stepped foot in sections of this forest in three different ports on our cruise up the Inside Passage.

Tongass contains one of the last remaining temperate rainforests in the world.  Yet forests make up only 60% of Tongass. The forest also encompasses wetlands, fjords, glaciers and mountains.

Theodore Roosevelt the Alexander Archipelago Forest Reserve in 1902 and Tongass National Forest in 1907.  The two joined in 1908 to create a huge reserve covering most of Southeast Alaska.

The indigenous people took the government to court for theft of their ancestral lands. In Tlingit and Haida Indians of Alaska v. United States, the court found that indeed the Tlingit and Haida had a rightful claim to the land. They settled the case in 1968 for $7.5 million. 

Ketchikan District

The Ketchikan Misty Fjords Ranger District encompasses about 3.25 million acres. It occupies the southeastern end of Tongass National Forest. It includes the glacier-sculpted Misty Fjords National Monument Wilderness.

The town of Ketchikan sits at the foot of the national forest’s Deer Mountain. The Forest Service also runs the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center in Ketchikan. The center interprets the natural and cultural history of the Tongass. The center was closed when we returned from our Misty Fjords tour.

Ketchikan posts

Location: East of Ketchikan, Alaska
Designation: National Monument
Date designated/established: December 5, 1978
Date of my visit: June 1, 2022

7 thoughts on “Tongass National Forest: Ketchikan

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