In 1978, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed over 2,200,000 acres as the Misty Fiords National Monument. In 1980, this acreage got reduced to 2,142,243 acres but was now congressionally designated as Misty Fiords National Monument Wilderness and still remains the largest wilderness area on the Tongass National Forest. Due to this designation, it is now strategically managed to continue the preservation of this undeveloped, enduring ecosystem for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
17,000 years ago Misty Fiords National Monument would have been covered with only one thing, massive bodies of ice. As the ice disbanded, it carved away gloriously long, deep fiords with cliffs that rise for thousands of feet. They are considered the skyscrapers of this wilderness wonderland. Travel either by boat or floatplane in Behm Canal, the major waterway through the heart of the area, and sightings of killer whales, porpoises, mountain goats, and bears could be possible. Step on the edge of the wilderness boundary, walk inward, and be surrounded by Sitka spruce, western hemlock, and cedar trees. Unique geological features such as mineral springs and volcanic lava flows can be found deep within this wilderness monument. Voyage closer toward the Canadian border through the many king salmon spawning streams, or through the sky and see what remains of the ice (now only in the form of glaciers) that once created this current mystic landscape.
There are thirteen public recreation cabins, five three-sided shelters, and ten trails that provide altogether twenty miles of hiking activity.
Tongass National Forest is the largest, intact coastal rainforest in America. Misty Fiords is a piece of this treasure and is set aside for all visitors – now and in the future. To insure that this area is left unimpaired for future use, practice the following Leave No Trace principles.