Prince William Sound
More than three thousand shore land miles of bays, coves and deep fjords comprise the prized seacoast region of Alaska’s famous Prince William Sound. Exceeding the combined area of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, this sheltered waterway contains the greatest diversity of habitats found along the entire Eastern Pacific Coast, including the world’s northernmost temperate rainforest. The ice capped peaks of the Chugach mountains reach skyward from virgin shores of towering spruce trees and lush vegetation. Mammoth glaciers inch their way through mountain valleys and thunder icebergs into the surrounding fjords and inlets. Prince William Sound’s calm and gentle waters provide homes for a thriving spectrum of marine and bird life. Countless islands dot the seascape while ebbing tides unveil rocky shores and tide pools adorned with an array of inter tidal life. Summer sunlight paints the meadows and marshes with colorful plants and wildflowers.
Many came to know Prince William Sound through the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill of 1989. This environmental disaster rocked the world as media displayed images of polluted landscape and wildlife that horrified the viewers. Today, the Sound has recovered remarkably well, however long term negative effects of the oil pollution remain and scientists work diligently to determine the ultimate impact.