Stikine Flats, Tongass National Forest

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While young college students descend upon Fort Lauderdale for spring break, migratory waterfowl and shorebirds spend theirs on the Stikine (pronounced “Sti-keen”) Flats in southeast Alaska. The Stikine River Delta is one of three diverse natural ecosystems making up the Key Coastal Wetlands in the Alaska Region. This area is a critical stopover and resting ground for migrating birds as they make their journey north to their breeding grounds.

What Will I See?
  • Hundreds of thousands of migratory birds, including snow geese, sandhill cranes, Western sandpiper, black-bellied plover, American golden plover, greater yellowlegs, red knot, solitary sandpiper, dunlin, long-billed dowitcher and common snipe.
  • Not just birds. You’ll also likely see Sitka black-tailed deer, brown and black bears, gray wolves, mink, river otters, beavers, whales, harbor seals and Steller sea lions.
  • Picturesque scenery perfect for wildlife photographers and birders
About This Destination

The nation's largest national forest, the Tongass National Forest covers most of southeast Alaska, surrounding the famous Inside Passage. It offers unique chances to view eagles, bears, spawning salmon, and breathtaking vistas of "wild" Alaska. Even though the Tongass is the home to the world's largest temperate rain forest, almost half of the forest is covered by ice, water, wetlands and rock. Additionally, there are 11,000 miles of shoreline where towering mountains arise from the tidewater to overlook a mostly undeveloped and isolated landscape.

What Should I Know?

Access: The Stikine Flats is accessible by boat and float plane only. Access is also tide-dependent, with most reliable/easiest access at high tide. Charter boats and planes are available in Wrangell and Petersburg.

Amenities: There are 13 Forest Service cabins available for rent on the Stikine Flats. For more information, call the Wrangell Ranger District, Tongass National Forest at (907) 874-2323.