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.
Resurrection Bay Brochure
Overview map of park locations in Prince William Sound and Resurrection Bay.
Always wear a life jacket when in an open boat or on deck. 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 emergency communication, such as 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 wilderness setting. For additional boating safety information, please visit AlaskaBoatingSafety.org
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 floor covering.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In this wilderness setting, no public facilities are provided. To maintain the wilderness character of the area, please practice low impact use and camping.
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)