Chuck River Wilderness

Its namesake, the Chuck River, flows northward across the wilderness from headwaters near Port Houghton to empty into Windham Bay at the site of the former Chuck Mining Camp. There is still some private land in the lower reaches of the river and in areas where there were former mining settlements. Windham Bay itself is a protected anchorage for boaters who run into bad weather when traveling through Stephens Passage. Elevations on the wilderness run from sea level to about 5,000' on the southeastern upper ridges.

Most Alaskan Wilderness Areas are different from designated wildernesses in the rest of the United States in that there is some allowance for the use of airplanes, motorboats and snowmobiles (when there is enough snow on the ground) to reach the area and explore it. The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act also allows native Alaskans to continue to use the traditional equipment they have used in the area for decades for the taking of fish and game.

Today, Chuck River Wilderness offers no established hiking trails and no public recreation cabins. Group sizes on the property are limited to no more than 12 persons for any commercial or general public usage in the wilderness. Once a person gets away from the shoreline along Windham Bay, incredible opportunities for peace and quiet open up.

Chuck River Wilderness is located within a temperate rainforest ecosystem where summer temperatures generally run between 45°F and 65°F. Visitors will want to have appropriate clothing, shelter supplies, safety equipment and water purification systems to exist in a cool, wet and often overcast environment. The area is also famous for the number and size of the local bears, so visitors need to be aware of and practice good food and trash storage techniques. The bear problem can be seriously worse in the areas of salmon spawning streams during the summer. As this is true wilderness and we don't want to leave any more on the land than our footprints, practice strict "pack it in-pack it out" discipline.

Chuck River Wilderness map