State Marine Parks in Prince William Sound and Resurrection Bay
Prince William Sound and Resurrection Bay are premier ecosystems with a diversity of wildlife
and habitat. Enclosed by high mountains and glaciers, and protected from
the high seas by barrier islands, the area is a boater's paradise. Fiords,
bays, coves, lakes, glaciers, mountains and hundreds of islands provide
a rich and unspoiled beauty.
Overview map of park locations in Prince William Sound and Resurrection Bay.
Safety on the Water
Because the Sound and Resurrection Bay is surrounded by mountains filled
with glaciers adjacent to a relatively warm ocean current, the weather
tends to be quite wet and cool. The weather is unpredictable and though
the Sound is protected, can become a flurry of whitecaps. Be prepared
to "weather out" a storm and ready to arrive late at your destination.
Cellular phone service is limited to local areas near communities, so
carry a VHF radio for emergency situations and be prepared to take care
of yourself in Prince William Sound as the U.S. Coast Guard or other boats may not be
nearby. The area's vast size and limited development provides a true
Low Impact Camping
To maintain the wilderness character and preserve the ecological conditions
of the beaches and forests of the marine parks, visitors are encouraged
to practice low impact camping techniques. These techniques include
relying on gas stoves for cooking, rather than firewood, and camping
on the beach when tides allow in place of the more sensitive forest
Please remove all trash from the park. Campsites should look the same
before and after use. Most of the environment in the Sound, both above
and below water, is fragile and can easily be damaged.
Although sport hunting and fishing are allowed, as is berry picking
for personal consumption, all flowers, non-game animals and marine life
should be left for others to enjoy. Take proper precautions when storing
food. Bears are found even on the islands.
Boats may not dump their wastes within park boundaries. Giardia, as
well as other wilderness parasites found in the Sound, can be removed
by treating your drinking water in one of several ways: chemical,
filtration or boiling.
Please note that access to any of these parks is by float plane or boat.
Shoup Bay SMP near Valdez can additionally be accessed by a foot trail.
All towns have multiple access, but Cordova is limited to airplane and
ferry - no roads connect the town to the rest of the state. Authorized commercial taxi services for Prince William Sound.
State Marine Parks Near the Town of Whittier:
Many of the parks in Prince William Sound can be reached from Whittier.
There are seven parks near Port Wells and another further south on Latouche
Island. These parks offer the weekend boater plenty of options for protected
anchorages in forested or glaciated surroundings. Special attractions
include wildlife viewing, good camping areas, historic sites and one
of the world's largest fish hatcheries.
More information on the four parks nearest Whittier
More information on the four more parks near Whittier.
State Marine Parks Near the Town of Valdez:
Sawmill Bay, Shoup Bay and Jack Bay SMP's offer a variety of recreational
opportunities within an hour's boat ride from Valdez. While located
next to the main shipping channel to the Valdez Oil Terminal, these
parks offer excellent opportunities for a wilderness experience. The
serene, forest-ringed Sawmill Bay SMP offers protected anchorages and
good camping. For island camping and a fair-weather anchorage, visit
Jack Bay SMP. Shoup Glacier spills into an iceberg-filled saltwater
lagoon accessible on most high tides by small shallow-drafted boats.
Visitors will enjoy views of the glacier, interesting geologic features
and a large kittiwake rookery.
More information on Valdez area parks.
State Marine Parks Near the Town of Cordova:
Three diverse marine parks are located near Cordova. Canoe Passage SMP
is a shallow wetlands passage cutting through Hawkins Island. Boswell
Bay SMP, adjacent to the Copper River Delta Critical Habitat Area, contains
vast tidelands and high energy beaches. Beachcombers and wildlife watchers
will find this area an excellent spot for exploring. Kayak Island SMP
is located at the approximate site of the landing of the Bering Expedition
in 1741 - the first Europeans to set foot in Alaska. A large dagger
of land thrust out into the cold, unpredictable waters of the Gulf of
Alaska, it offers a rare adventure to the few who visit it.
More information on Cordova area parks.
State Marine Parks Near the Town of Seward:
The five marine parks in Resurrection Bay and Day Harbor are all popular
boating destinations with protected anchorage, good seasonal fishing,
dramatic views of glaciers, sharp rocky spires, dense forests and exceptional
wildlife viewing. There are few good upland sites for camping, but all
the parks have good camping spots along the shoreline.
More information on Seward area parks.
Please Protect the Parks
this wilderness setting, no public facilities are provided. To maintain
the wilderness character of the area, please practice low impact use
Fires are allowed only on ocean beaches below mean high tide. Portable fuel burning stoves and designated fire pits must be used elsewhere. Use only dead and down wood. Cutting live or standing trees is prohibited.
For hunting and fishing regulations, contact the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Commercial operators must have a permit to operate within park units. Authorized commercial fishing and tour services for Prince William Sound.
Pack out what you pack in. Trash collection is not provided.
Target shooting or discharge of any weapon is prohibited, except for legal hunting and lawful defense against wildlife.
Disturbing cultural or historic objects is prohibited.
For your own safety, please follow all applicable U.S. Coast Guard regulations.
For more information:
Alaska State Parks
Kenai/PWS Area Office
PO Box 1247
Soldotna, AK 99669
Prince William Sound Marine Trail - Phase 1 (February 2012)