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With 2,231 square miles of heavily forested dramatic coastal mountains and many rivers, streams and lakes, Prince of Wales is the third largest island in the U.S. (Kodiak is first and the island of Hawaii is second) and a recreation paradise. Its 990 mile coastline has numerous bays, coves, inlets and points. There are over 1,100 miles of maintained roads to explore, more than in all the other communities of Southeast Alaska combined.
The IFA provides year-round service from Hollis, on Prince of Wales Island, to Ketchikan, on Revillagigedo Island. Ketchikan is the first Alaskan City that you come to from the lower 48 states. Hollis is the port on Prince of Wales Island for the Inter-Island Ferry vessels. Good roads link Hollis with the island communities of Craig, Klawock, Hydaburg, Thorne Bay, Coffman Cove, Kasaan, Naukati, and Whale Pass. Most of these roads are now blacktopped. Other communities to visit at the end of the road,by taking a short boat ride, are Point Baker and Port Protection. Edna Bay is a short boat ride from Naukati. Camping is a fun activity on Prince of Wales Island, using an RV Park along the roads or in a charming rustic cabin. Cabins are available from the US Forest Service throughout the island with reservations online at reserveusa.com or by calling 1-877-444-6777. The Inter-Island Ferry Authority vessels connect with vessels on the Alaska Marine Highway System at Ketchikan. Prince of Wales Island has over 600 caves with the largest known in Alaska at El Capitan on the Northern end of Prince of Wales Island. The El Capitan caves have over 2 miles of passages. Tours are guided in the summer in groups of 6 people. The tours can be set up in advance by calling 907-828-3304.
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Craig was founded in the late 1800's and incorporated in 1922. The population varies winter to summer. Winters are approximately 1,100 people. The city hall can be found at www.craigak.com Craig is on the West Coast of Prince of Wales Island, 32 miles from Hollis, the port for the IFA ferry. A fish saltery was built on Fish Egg Island, (the island can be seen in the photo, just out to the right) in 1907 by Craig Millar, who the town adopted their name from. Salmon was the first industry and the timber industry followed in the 1950's. Ed Head built the first sawmill in Klawock, 7 miles from Craig, in the early 1970's. The mill still operates as Viking Lumber and provides year round employment. Craig continues to grow and offers many stores, recreation and services. There is a community swimming pool, library, harbors,boat launches and RV parks. Klawock is 25 miles from the Hollis terminal and has a population of about 850. Klawock's name came from Kloo-wah, a tlingit indian from Moira Sound. Kloo-wah's clan used Klawock for a summer fish camp and later moved there permanently. Klawock had the first cannery in Alaska, built by a San Francisco company in 1878. The hatchery for red salmon was constructed at Klawock Lake in 1897. The Prince of Wales Hatchery still operates on the river, today. Near the Viking Lumber sawmill, the native corporations built a sort yard for exporting timber. The Klawock Totem Park has over 20 restored totem poles and seven new poles. Klawock has a heritage center and longhouse where you can find locals carving most days. Residents harvest the fish and other natural foods on Prince of Wales Island and the ocean. The only airstrip for the island is near Klawock. Klawock has a small boat harbor, a boat launch, stores, gas stations and a school. The city hall can be found at www.cityofklawock.com Hydaburg is 32 miles from the Hollis terminal and has a population of approximately 400. During the 1700's the first migrating Haida people landed in Kasaan and the rest in Hydaburg. Hydaburg has the most Haida people in the United States. The community relies on their culture and still continues a close relationship to the land and sea. Hydaburg has a grocery store, airplane float, boat harbor, church, US Post Office and a school. A totem park was built during the 1930's and has been restoring and replacing totems continually. The totem raising is a very festive occasion and is a wonderful event to witness or take part in. Hydaburg has many traditional Haida artists, carvers and weavers. For more information , email the administrative assistant for the Hydaburg Cooperative Assn, Francis Natkong, at email@example.com Hollis is 34 miles by sea from Ketchikan and the home port for the Inter-island Ferry Authority vessel with a convenient terminal for travelers. The population of Hollis is approximately 150. Hollis has a school, library, boat dock, float plane dock, fire hall, emergency medical services unit, emergency medevac heliport and a community recreation area on the Harris River with a half-mile boardwalk and foot trail through the forest. Eleven miles from the Hollis Terminal is the Harris River Campground which has 14 campsites. For more information contact the US Forest Service at 907-586-8806. In the early 1900's, Hollis was a bustling mining town with a population of more than 1,000. Gold and silver were mined until about 1915. Speculators are considering reactivating one gold mine near Hollis. Hollis is a great place for boating, kayaking, fishing, shrimping, crabbing, clamming and hunting for deer and bear. Gold prospecting is also a recreational pastime. Visit the Prince of Wales Chamber of Commerce for more information.
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Ketchikan is located on Revillagigedo Island and is considered Alaska's First City, since it is the first one you arrive in when traveling north from the lower 48 states. It is also known as the Salmon Capitol of the World. Ketchikan is located in the Tongass National Forest and close to Misty Fjords National Monument. It has 162 inches of rain. The first industry, which created the city, was fishing, followed by mining in the Gold Rush years. Next came forestry with the Ketchikan Pulp Company creating the city's leading industry for 50 years, closing in 1997. Tourism is now a major player in the economy along with fishing. Ketchikan was the Tlingit name for the region around Wrangell. The Island has the world's largest collection of totem poles, located in the City of Saxman, 3 miles south of Ketchikan, and Totem Bight and the Totem Heritage Center in Ketchikan. Ketchikan is 90 miles north of Prince Rupert, British Colombia and 235 miles south of Juneau. For more information, visit the website for the Ketchikan Visitors Center. Thorne Bay is located 59 miles from the Hollis Terminal and has a population of 434. The highway is paved and the drive is a beautiful scenic tour taking you there. Thorne Bay was once the world's largest logging camp. Fishing, Tourist Charters and Forestry are the main economics today. You will find a ball field, boat harbor and launch, general store, grocery store, hardware store, library, liquor store, lodging, medical, Post Office, restaurant, RV Park with dump station, school and fuel and tire repair. The entire island visits the nearby Sandy Beach and picnic area when the sun shines. For cool links visit the Thorne Bay Business Assn and for more information visit the City of Thorne Bay website. Coffman Cove is 78 miles from the Hollis Terminal traveling on a newly paved highway. The population of Coffman cove is approximately 200. Coffman Cove hosts a state owned seaplane float, boat harbor and launch, RV Park, Cabin rentals, guided fishing tours, famous oyster sales, B & B's, a general store with gifts, gas station, liquor store, welding and construction services, library and wireless internet. Luck Lake is know for it's beauty and offers camping kayaking, canoeing and swimming. Other beautiful Lakes nearby are Sweetwater Lake and Barnes Lake, that both offer US Forest Service cabins for rent. Coffman Cove's economy is based mostly on tourism and fishing. For more information visit the webisite for the City of Coffman Cove. Wrangell is on the north end of Wrangell Island on Alaska's Inside Passage between Petersburg in the north and Prince of Wales Island in the southwest. Wrangell offers abundant wildlife and glacier viewing, fresh and saltwater fishing, camping, hiking, biking, caving, kayaking and Alaska Native Arts. The local native culture is Tlingit and Wrangell hosts historic sites, delicious seafoods, majestic coastal mountains, international river exploration and adventures! It is known as the friendliest town in Alaska. Wrangell holds a seat on the Inter-island Ferry. The Northern Route serviced Wrangell and Petersburg in the summers departing Coffman Cove 3 days a week from May 2006 thru September 2008. Lack of funds due to low ridership hindered the continuance of the Northern Route and the service is on hold. For more information, visit the Wrangell Chamber of Commerce.
Petersburg is a picturesque fishing village with strong Norwegian heritage. Petersburg offers spectacular scenery, hiking, charter fishing, whale watching, birding, hunting or a boat trip to the nearby LeConte Glacier. Petersburg is known for its public art with toll-paintings on the front of stores and residences, murals, totems and sculptures on the downtown streets. For more information, visit the