Recreation

Family camping and exploring an island near Meyers Chuck, Alaska

The Tongass National Forest consists of glimmering rain forests, glaciers and icefields, spectacular scenery, mountains, waterways, and thousands of islands separated by straits and channels offering outstanding recreation opportunities, some very different from anything you'll experience in National Forests in the lower 48 states. Over 400 species of terrestrial and marine wildlife, fish, and shellfish abound. Some species, such as the bald eagle and the brown bear, are endangered in other parts of the United States, but thrive here.

You can camp in a campground or in a cabin. You can hike through dense forest, alpine meadow, or on a wooden boardwalk trail through peat bogs called muskegs. You can explore world-class caves or enjoy salt water fjords and unending waterways by canoe or kayak, your own motor or sail boat, charter boat, ferry, or cruise ship. You can watch bears, eagles, whales, and countless other wild animals in their natural settings. You can visit glaciers by land or sea. And of course, you can fish, in fresh or salt water environments, everything from herring to trout, salmon to halibut. For a truely Alaskan experience, visit the Tongass.

2020 Sustainable Cabin Strategy Summary

The 2020 Sustainable Cabin Strategy is a long-term plan to build, relocate, and remove cabins to increase public access and reduce costs. The Tongass National Forest currently maintains 142 reserve-able public use cabins. Cabin settings range from developed recreation sites to remote wilderness locations. The most popular cabins offer a variety of user experiences such as hunting and fishing, saltwater access, winter sports, and other unique or scenic recreational opportunities.

The 2020 Sustainable Cabin Strategy explains the site design and planning process for new, moving, removing, monitoring, and the assessment of cabins. The document also describes the background of past cabin program activity.

The Tongass cabin system was built over past decades. The majority of cabins are located in places where airplane or boat access is required. Once a common and affordable transportation method, the number of air-service providers has dropped in many communities. Today, transportation changes present a challenge to users and for recreation managers maintaining cabins. Remote cabins are more costly to access for users and more expensive to maintain for the agency.

The measure of success for the cabin program on the Tongass is not the number of cabins but overall increased public use and reduced annual maintenance costs. This means moving the system we have toward the system the public wants. Public feedback was collected from the Tongass National Forest Cabin Users social media site. Each year, five to ten cabins will be evaluated by local district staff and communities.

See all cabins on the Tongass, listed by district here. Cabins may be rented through recreation.gov.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Areas & Activities
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/recmain/tongass/recreation