About the Area

A squirrel with a cone in its mouth

The Alaska region of the USDA Forest Service encompasses two of the nation’s largest national forests, the Chugach and Tongass, located in south-central and southeast Alaska. From the Chugach National Forest and the famous Russian River of the Kenai Peninsula to the Tongass National Forest, which covers a large portion of Southeast Alaska, surrounding the famous Inside Passage, the Alaska Region offers amazing diversity and the most beautiful, famous, and stunning forests in the nation.

The Alaska Region is a land of extremes. In this land, massive Sitka spruce create cathedral-like forests. Frigid blue glaciers grind their way relentlessly through mountains. Humpback whales frolic in the waters encircling the forests. Brown bears wander the forest. The beauty and bounty of the national forests in Alaska draw attention from around the nation and around the world.

The men and women of the Alaska Region work with the public to manage more than 22 million acres in Southcentral and Southeast Alaska. Vast watersheds filled with rivers, salmon streams, and glaciers are found here. The Alaska Region of the Forest Service is a leader in protecting the land’s bounty while providing a place for people to work and play.

A rainbow on Mendenhall Lake as seen from the Mendenhall Lake Campground in November 2019.

The Tongass National Forest stretches the 500-mile length of the Alaska Panhandle and encompasses more than 80 percent of the land. It’s home to the cities of Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Petersburg, and other communities located in this vast temperate rain forest.

The Chugach National Forest makes a 210-mile arc around Prince William Sound. Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, is an access point to the Chugach NF. The Chugach NF is home to Seward, Cordova, Valdez and other communities.

Tiny but mighty pinecone at Grandview Whistle Stop. Grandview Valley, Glacier Ranger District, CNF

Local communities and tribes depend on national forest resources for daily living, including employment in the fishing and wood products industries, among others. Many residents make use of the fish, blueberries, deer, salmon, wood products, and other resources on the forests. 

National and international visitors join local residents in exploring the rivers and trails that stretch from sea level to the alpine. Guided tours and cruises enable visitors to enjoy the wildlife and scenery, while independent travelers make their own opportunities for excellent fishing, kayaking, and camping experiences.

Alaska’s beauty and bounty, and the role of the Forest Service in managing the land, receive much national attention. Communities balance the use of and extraction of natural resources while conserving and protecting them. 


How we are organized

  • Regional Office, located in Juneau: Regional Forester and staff, program directors and regional specialists work out of the regional office. 
  • Forest Supervisor Offices, in Ketchikan and Anchorage: Forest Supervisor, program managers and shared specialists and services work out of forest supervisor’s offices. 
  • Ranger Districts: There are ranger district offices in Yakutat, Juneau, Hoonah, Sitka, Petersburg, Wrangell, Ketchikan, Craig, Thorne Bay, Glacier, Cordova and Seward. Ranger Districts are individually managed portions of each forest with offices often in smaller communities. District Ranger and staff, field workers and summer employees typically work out of ranger districts.
  • Admiralty National Monument: Similar to a Ranger District office, Admiralty has it's own headquarters located in Juneau.


Quick facts about Alaska's national forests

Alaska contains 17 percent of all U.S. Forest Service lands and contains two of the largest national forests in the nation. The Tongass National Forest stretches over the 500-mile-long Southeast Alaska Panhandle and covers over 80 percent of that land. The Chugach National Forest makes a 210-mile arc around Prince William Sound.

In all, we manage 21.9 million acres- but it doesn’t stop there…
On the Chugach and Tongass National Rorests are

  • 21,956,250 total acres
  • 5,754,000 acres of Wilderness
  • 7,200,000 acres of wetlands
  • 2,100,000 acres of Wilderness study area
  • 57,000 miles of streams
  • 12,600 miles anadramous fish streams
  • 400,000 acres of lakes
  • 231 public recreation cabins & shelters
  • 1,170 miles trails
  • 3,644 miles of roads
  • 1,219 special use permits
  • 63 mines with operating plans

Chugach National Forest Facts

  • Established in 1907
  • Headquarters (Supervisor's Office) in Anchorage
  • 5.3 million acres
  • Northern most U.S. national forest
  • Approximately 210 miles east to west, 120 miles north to south
  • 40 public recreation cabins
  • Approximately 200 miles of trails
  • Contains the 41 mile long Columbia Glacier
  • Only national forest with Dall sheep
  • Home of the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center
  • Contains the Copper River Delta, habitat for over 20 million birds a year
  • Surrounds world famous Prince William Sound

Tongass National Forest Facts

  • Established in 1907
  • Headquarters (Supervisor's Office) in Ketchikan
  • Nearly 17 million acres
  • Single largest U.S. national forest 
  • Largest national forest in the U.S.
  • Originally managed as 3 areas: Ketchikan, Stikine, Chatham
  • Stretches nearly 500 miles north to south
  • 145 public recreation cabins
  • Nearly 600 miles of trails
  • Approximately 11,000 miles of saltwater shoreline
  • More than 1000 islands
  • Contains Prince of Wales Island, 3rd largest island in U.S.
  • Contains two national monuments: Admiralty Island and Misty Fjords
  • Includes 5.8 million acres of designated wilderness


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