Maurelle Islands Wilderness
The temperate rainforest in the Maurelle Islands
The Maurelle Islands Wilderness is a 4,937-acre property composed of about 30 islands in the Alaskan Panhandle, just offshore from the west side of Prince of Wales Island. Part of Tongass National Forest, the islands are heavily treed in a temperate rainforest of Sitka spruce and western hemlock. Many of the islands rise up to 400 feet above mean sea level. What the Maurille Islands are most known for is the abundance of marine mammals hauling out on the beaches and rocks. Among the wildlife are sea otters, seals and Steller's sea lions. Depending on the season you might also see humpback whales surfacing just offshore.
The shorelines of most islands are rocky enough to make boating potentially dangerous but sea kayaking might work alright. Motorized boats and small floatplanes are also allowed to land on/near the islands and camping is allowed but the area is prone to lots of wind and rain, making campfires hard to start and maintain. The islands also have no developed facilities or trails.
Maurelle Islands Wilderness map
Photos and maps are courtesy of the US Forest Service