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Prince William Sound

      In a state filled with miles and miles of untamed wilderness, Prince William Sound is one of Alaska’s crown jewels. Located in the southcentral part of the state, The Sound is an expansive area of spectacular, pristine wilderness. It features more than 3,000 miles of rugged shoreline; quite impressive when considering that it is 1,660 miles from Portland, Maine to Miami Florida.

     Prince William Sound sits at the convergence of the Pacific and North American tectonic plates in the famous "ring of fire" and has a long, moving history beginning some sixty million years ago. This geological story includes tales of flooding, freezing, thawing, earthquakes and volcanoes, all of which helped to form the vistas we enjoy today. More recently, in 1964, the largest earthquake recorded in North America shook the Sound - uplifting some areas up 36 feet, while other areas sank up to 8 feet. The Chugach Mountains - a coastal range which borders Prince William Sound on the north, east and west and is second in height only to the Andes - were also created by a combination of these massive forces.

     A journey into the Sound is almost like exploring a veritable labyrinth of deep water fjords, islands, bays, passageways, estuaries, and coves decorated with breathtaking tidewater glaciers, cascading waterfalls, a dazzling array of wildlife and ample opportunities to feast bountifully from its waters. In this magical place - the northernmost temperate rainforest in the world - lush vegetation, including trees of spruce and hemlock, clings to the mountains bordering the Sound. Thick layers of snow accumulate and compress into ice, over time forming awe-inspiring glaciers which descend to meet the sea or adhere to the earth higher up on the mountain. The fertile waters of the Gulf of Alaska flow into Prince William Sound, creating an estuary which supports a dazzling array of marine life. The variety of habitats found in the Sound, including kelp beds, wetlands and reefs, is also a key component in sustaining these proliferous waters. The Sound teems with thousands of species of fish such as halibut, cod, rockfish, lingcod, and all five species of salmon. The mighty salmon shark, a close relative of the great white shark, inhabits the waters of the Sound as well. In addition, many other sea dwellers, including shrimp, clams, and scallops live in the Sound. Further up the food chain, humpback whales, orcas, gray whales, minke whales, Steller’s sea lions, porpoises, seals, sea otters and numerous other animals all frolic in and depend upon the life-sustaining waters of the Sound. Impressive numbers of Bald eagles call Prince William Sound home, and numerous other seabirds, including murres, kittiwakes and puffins, live and migrate through areas of the Sound. Many terrestrial mammals also are at home here. Black bears, brown bears (grizzlies), mountain goats and Sitka black-tailed deer are some of the larger, more notable of the land inhabitants in Prince William Sound.

      Several Alaskan communities are nestled into the shores of Prince William Sound. Valdez and Whittier are both accessible by road. Cordova can be reached by boat or plane. All three communities award residents and visitors with picturesque views of the Sound while maintaining their own individual character.

      Come journey with us into Prince William Sound, an exceptional place that both energizes and enchants its visitors - calling people back to marvel at its beauty and bounty again and again!

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