Prince of Wales Island Travel Guide
  • Photo: Izanbar |

Prince of Wales Island

Prince of Wales Island stretches more than 130 miles from north to south, making it the largest island in Southeast Alaska. Only two other American islands—Kodiak in Alaska and Hawaii in the Hawaiian chain—are larger. Prince of Wales (or "P.O.W." as locals call it) has a multitude of landforms, a plethora of wildlife, and exceptional sportfishing, especially for steelhead, salmon, and trout anglers, with the Karta and Thorne rivers among the favorite fishing areas.

The island has long been a major source of timber, both from Tongass National Forest lands and those owned by Native corporations. While much of the Native land has been cut over, environmental restrictions on public lands have greatly reduced logging activity. The island's economy is now supported by small-scale logging operations, tourism, and commercial fishing.

About 5,800 people live full-time on Prince of Wales Island, scattered in small villages and towns. A network of 1,500 miles of roads—nearly all built to access clear-cuts—crisscrosses the island, providing connections to even the smallest settlements.

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