Anan Wildlife Observatory Site

Area Status: Open
This area is Open
 

Anan Wildlife Viewing Area

The Anan Wildlife Observatory is located 30 miles southeast of the town of Wrangell. Anan Creek has one of the largest runs of pink salmon in Southeast Alaska, which supports the high density of black and brown bears. The facilities consist of a covered viewing shelter, decks, photo blind, and outhouses. You can now take a virtual tip to the site via the Anan NatureWatch Story Map.

Planning your trip - Anan is a world class bear viewing site that is growing in popularity, so planning your visit is essential. From July 5 through August 25, permits are required to visit. Access is by boat or floatplane only. Visitors arrive either with a personal boat/floatplane or use a guide service.

Obtaining a permitThe process of obtaining a permit has changed in 2021.

Guided Trips: Most Anan visitors use an authorized guiding company. These companies provide transportation and permits. You can download this guide list with contact information: Authorized GUIDING companies 

To help you plan your trip, the Anan Calendar website shows the calendar for Anan operation from July 5-August 25. It displays each authorized guide company and their available permits for each day. Contact an authorized guide directly to arrange permit and passage to Anan Wildlife Observatory.

Non-Guided Trips: For individuals who have their own boat/floatplane to arrive at Anan, there are 12 private permits available for purchase for each day on recreation.gov. For 2021, only persons who will not use any type of commercial service at Anan (those arriving with their own means of transportation and visiting without any hired escort) should purchase permits on recreation.gov. (Prior to 2021, individuals could purchase permits on recreation.gov and then find an outfitter and guide company to bring them to Anan. This is no longer allowed.) This is a significant change in operations, so if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Wrangell Ranger District at 907-874-2323.

The 12 private daily permits for the season become available on recreation.gov on February 1st at 8 am (AKST). Four permits for each day will also be made available through weekly lotteries held during the peak season. Lottery requests will only be accepted in person at the Wrangell Ranger District front desk. Permits are not required outside of the July 5th -August 25th peak season.

Safety: You will be met at the trailhead by Forest Service personnel during the peak viewing season. They check permits and will brief you on trail conditions and safety. Unguided visitors walk the trail on their own – be sure to know the essentials of traveling in bear country: The Essentials for Traveling in Alaska's Bear Country

Caution: The wet environment of SE Alaska creates very slippery and muddy trail conditions. The trail and conditions can be arduous. There are sections of the trail that have loose gravel, mud, and uneven ground. There are over 300 stairs from the Anan trailhead to the observatory deck. In addition, the photo blind, which is located at the bear observatory, is accessed through a stairway that is equivalent to 3 stories high.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: 8AM to 6PM July 5 through August 25
Reservations:
Authorized Guiding companies (60 permits/day)
Reservations may be made through recreation.gov (12 permits/day)
Rentals & Guides:
Fees $10/permit
Open Season: July 5 - August 25
Usage: Heavy
Closest Towns: Wrangell
Water: No
Restroom: Outhouses, 1 at Trailhead, 1 at Deck
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

Directions:

Mainland, 31 miles SE from Wrangell at Anan Bay across Ernest Sound from SE corner of Wrangell Island


General Notes:

History

Anan Creek is an area of rich history. The Stikine Tlingit clans had summer fish camps here and used Anan Creek’s large salmon spawning run to catch and preserve salmon for their winter food supply. Anan was unique because the large amount of salmon available made it possible to have several clans sharing one fish camp.

The abundance of salmon also drew non-native people to Anan Creek. In 1901, Pilot Fish Packing Company set up a large fish trap at the mouth of Anan that allowed few fish to make it up the creek. This lack of escapement was very destructive to the Anan salmon population. Commercial fish traps were outlawed shortly after Alaska became a state in 1959.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities


Nature Viewing

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Areas & Activities

Location

 
  Area/Length : 
0.5 miles

  Latitude : 
56.188056

  Longitude : 
-131.885

 

Bear Country Image

Bears of Alaska


Use of Recreation Fees in Alaska

Use of Recreation Fees in Alaska Link opens in a Pdf Document

 



https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/tongass/recarea/?recid=79154