The best-kept secret in Southeast Alaska is Prince of Wales Island in the southern part of the panhandle. At 2231 square miles, Prince of Wales is the third largest island of the United States, after Kodiak Island and the big island of Hawaii.
There are eleven different communities on Prince of Wales and each has its own character and attractions. Craig is the largest with a population of about 1200 people, home to most of the facilities on Prince of Wales. Coffman Cove is a small logging town located on the northeast coast, famous for its oyster farms and the site of one of the Inter-Island Ferry terminals; Hollis is the other, providing connection to the Alaska Marine Highway. Hydaburg is one of three native communities. Kasaan is the smallest organized settlement on Prince of Wales with a population of about 35 people, which has only recently been connected to the road system. Klawock is the second largest community on the island and home to the only hatchery. Naukati is the gateway to Sea Otter Sound. Port Protection and Point Baker are two quaint fishing communities on the very north end of the Island. Thorne Bay was at one time the largest logging camp in North America. Whale Pass is organizing as a city and the last community on the north end of the island that is road accessible.
The cultural heritage is very rich and the island boasts three very unique totem parks. Both Tlingit and Haida had villages on the island and their presence is seen in the various communities.
Prince of Wales is also rich with natural resources, abundant wildlife and beautiful scenery. The first cannery in Alaska was built in the late 1870s at Klawock and the remains are visible to this day. Alaska’s first two copper smelters were built in 1905 in Coppermount and Hadly and old steam donkeys can still be seen on the beaches. Most of the communities on Prince of Wales owe their existence to the timber industry, which boomed from the 1950s to the l980s. The Harris and Thorne Rivers provide world-class fishing and spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities abound. The free Forest Service guided tours through El Capitan Cave are very popular. Contact the Forest Service in Thorne Bay at (907) 828-3304.
The Island has two Forest Service campgrounds, four communities have privately run RV parks and there are many types of lodging available throughout the Island. Limited numbers of rental vehicles are available. One can fly to the various communities via floatplane or to the one airport on the island in Klawock via wheel plane. For more information on the attractions and lodging available on Prince of Wales and how to get there, please contact the Chamber of Commerce at PO Box 490, Klawock, AK 99925. Phone: (907) 755-2626; Fax: (907) 755-2627. Visit the web site at: www.princeofwalescoc.org or email: email@example.com