State Marine Parks near Valdez

Shoup Bay State Marine Park

Shoup Bay State Marine Park is located five miles southwest of the Port of Valdez. The bay is famous for the 150-foot tidal wave, which supposedly surged in and out of the bay three times during the 1964 earthquake. The bay has changed substantially since then. The Shoup Glacier has receded about a mile and a half changing the terrain, exposing new land and creating a brackish lagoon connected by a tidal river. Be sure to use the USGS map of the area dated 1996, which shows these new land features.

The uplands consist mostly of new growth forest of alder and spruce. A succession of plant life can be viewed on land leading away from the glacier. Most of the surrounding mountain walls are very steep, providing habitat for mountain goats and black bear. Highlights of this marine park include Shoup Glacier, and the black-legged kittiwake rookery in the lagoon. Bald eagles, arctic terns, and many species of waterfowl can be seen here. Please do not disturb the rookery or nesting areas of the birds.

Anchorage is fair to poor in the bay but good for small boats in the lagoon. The lagoon can only be reached during high tide with small boats. Be on the lookout for icebergs-allow plenty of room to get around these potentially dangerous navigation hazards. There are good campsites for large groups on the eastern end of the lagoon and at the base of the spit at the eastern edge of the mouth of the bay. Other individual campsites are located around the perimeter of the bay and the lagoon.

Drinking water can be found near the head of the bay. There is a foot trail from Valdez to this park, the only state marine park with foot access in Prince William Sound. There are three public use cabins for rent in this park. Click here for more information.

Sawmill Bay State Marine Park

Sawmill Bay State Marine Park is 15 miles from Valdez and three miles west of Valdez Narrows. As one of the most popular anchorages in Valdez Arm, this picturesque bay is surrounded by 4,000-foot peaks, providing a protected anchorage in the southwest arm of the bay. The boreal forest of spruce and hemlock, intermixed with muskeg, dominate the uplands. Land and sea otters, seals, bears, and an assortment of bird life can be seen in the bay.

Camping opportunities include two tent platforms, a fire ring and a bear proof food locker, located to the north of Steller Creek on the west side of the bay. Fresh water can be obtained from Steller Creek and other streams within the bay.

Jack Bay State Marine Park

Jack Bay State Marine Park is located 15 miles from Valdez, southeast of Valdez Narrows. The uplands of the park consist of alder, muskeg, salt marsh and old growth forest of spruce and hemlock. The northern arm of Jack Bay within the marine park becomes shallow one-quarter mile out and caution is recommended. Although the bay can be used as a fair weather anchorage, it is not protected.

The best campsite is located on the island in the middle of the bay. On the southeast end of the island is a protected bight, or bend in the coast, with four campsites. Two of the campsites are tent platforms. There is a small "low-boy" latrine located near the campsites. Two other tent platforms exist near the tip of the peninsula on the mainland just east of the island. A fire ring and cooking area is between the two sites. None of these campsites have water nearby. Water can be obtained on the northern shore of the bay.

Valdez Marine Parks

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