Chugach National Forest Discourages Use of Some Areas Due to Recently Discovered Unstable Slope

Contact(s): Alicia King

Anchorage, AK – The USDA Forest Service joins the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and Alaska Department of Fish and Game in recommending people avoid certain areas of the Chugach National Forest until the hazards of an unstable mountain slope of Barry Glacier in Barry Arm can be adequately understood. The recently discovered unstable slope could lead to a landslide-generated tsunami within the area of Harriman Fiord and Barry Arm in Prince William Sound.

Beach sites in Harriman Fiord and Barry Arm are popular in Prince William Sound and are used by both the public and outfitter guides throughout the year. Due to the potential hazards, the Forest Service discourages public recreation in the Harriman Fiord and Barry Arm beach areas until more is learned about the scope of a slide and its impacts. While it’s not possible to predict a landslide with precision, the Chugach National Forest will work with agency partners including the U.S. Geological Survey, the federal agency responsible for monitoring the geology and geologic hazards on federal public land, the Alaska State Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, and other partners conducting research on a potential slide. As needed, the Forest Service will facilitate the permitting and installation of remote sensing equipment so researchers can learn more about the geology of the area, slide potential, possible impacts, and create better models to predict the potential size of a tsunami.

The attached map of the region shows the potential impacted areas, as well as zones of both high and lesser danger. The associated letter from a multi-institute working group of scientists provides additional details of the potential danger: