Prince of Wales Island

The Most Developed Island

"Developed" to a resident of Southeast Alaska means that a place has become too populated for grizzlies, but black bears still abound. So it is on Prince of Wales Island.  

 

Prince of Wales is the second most populous island in the Alexander Archipelago with about 6,000 residents. The island's "development" is reflected in its extensive road network.  When logging was flourishing in the Tongass National Forest, the island had 2,500 miles of roads, but now only about 1,000 miles are serviceable. As a consequence of the roads, and a ferry terminal at Hollis, there are homes scattered in many places across the Island.  There are a number of small hamlets, outposts and Native American villages, but Craig is the only town of any significance. It is 120 miles from Ketchikan around the south end of the Island. Its population is about 1,200, but it is the commercial center for the whole Island). Thorne Bay and Coffman Cove also have harbors that can accommodate Sea Lion and each has a market, a post office, several restaurants and a few other services.  Klawock (only 7 miles from Craig) has the Island's only airport and it has daily commercial (non-jet) service from Ketchikan. 

The best wilderness anchorages on the chart below are on the southeastern end of Prince of Wales, and along the west coast of Dall Island on Prince of Wales' southwestern side, and around Lulu, Noyes and Baker Islands just off Prince of Wales' west central coast.

 

Great salmon and halibut fishing is to be had on the west coasts of Noyes and Baker Islands.  Sea otters are common sights along these western shorelines as are sea lions.  

 

 

Craig from Mt. Sunny Hay looking out across Ursua Channel.  Photo by Dennis Coats

Craig is the only significant town between Sitka on the west coast of Baranoff Island and Ketchikan on the west coast of Revillagegedo Island.

 

It has a population of about 1,200 people and is the "urban" center for Prince of Wales Island.  It has a small hospital, several grocery stores, restaurants, fuel, marine hardware, fishing supplies and very friendly people.  Transportation to Ketchikan is via seaplane,