State Marine Parks - Four Nearest to Whittier

Decision Point State Marine Park

Decision PointDecision Point State Marine Park is located approximately eight miles from Whittier at the eastern end of Passage Canal. This popular park is aptly named, as boaters and sailors would decide whether or not to head out into the larger expanse Port Wells once they reached Decision Point.

This park is generally used by kayakers and small boat users, as there is no adequate anchorage. Decision Point is filled with spruce and hemlock uplands, and has two excellent beaches for camping.

At the head of Squirrel Cove, a small pebble and sand beach provides room for two tents on all but the highest tide cycles. On the western side of the cove there are three tent platforms, a cooking area, and bear-proof food locker. Farther along the edge of the western shore is a latrine. Adjacent to the latrine is a Public-Use Cabin. Drinking water is not available at this site.

Just south of Decision Point is an east-facing, medium-pebble beach that provides dry, flat camping for up to 10 tents between the dead trees. The camp areas are above high tide and have two fire rings. This is one of the heaviest used sites by kayakers, sometimes with large groups visiting. Small groups using the larger campsite may expect others to also camp in the area. Water is available in the bight, or bend, in the coast behind the small peninsula.

Bountiful intertidal life on the rocks at Decision Point may be viewed during minus tides.

Entry Cove State Marine Park

Entry Cove State Marine Park is located two miles directly east of Decision Point on the northeast corner where Passage Canal and Port Wells meet. Forested uplands of spruce and hemlock, interspersed by muskeg, surround a small cove and lagoon. Near the cove entrance is good anchorage on northwind days but is generally not used overnight because of variable winds out of Blackstone Bay.

The lagoon is a good site for clamming, but the entrance is shallow and can only be accessed by small boats on full high tide.

Just east of the entrance to the lagoon, above the gravel beach, are sites for about 10 tents on beach gravel between the trees.

This site is used by larger groups of kayakers. Although, there is a stagnant pond behind the camp area, drinking water is accessible only from a stream just inside the entrance to the lagoon. A natural arch located on the east shore of the cove, and a beautiful view of Tebenkof Glacier, can be seen from the camp area. During moderate and low tide cycles, some people camp on the sand spit that attaches the Pigot Point Island.

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Surprise Cove State Marine Park

Surprise Cove State Marine Park is located on the western side of the mouth of Cochrane Bay. There are many recreational opportunities and it is one of the most popular anchorages in western PWS. The park includes forested uplands and two large lakes draining into Surprise Cove. The uplands and muskeg throughout the park provide good exploratory hiking. A short trail to North Lake can be found starting at the head of the northern bight (around the point westward of the largest camping beach). A small orange triangle with a black "T" will mark the trailhead next to a small creek. Abundant tide pool life can be found at Point Cochrane during minus tides.

Surprise Cove Tent platform There are about seven camping sites on various terrains. The most popular site, which is protected from weather and on flat slate pebbles, is located above the gravel beach just inside the north entrance to the cove. Larger groups with kayaks or small motorboats often use the site, which has room for approximately 12 tents. Three tent platforms nest against the hillside here to offer scenic views and dryer camping pads. A small bear-proof locker and latrine are in the center of this beach.

The second-largest site is above the exposed beach just northeast of Point Cochrane. There is room for five tents but is only usable in fair weather due to beach surf. The other sites within the cove are single tent sites. Two are on relatively dry land by the northern bight, or bend, in the coast, and the others are on wetlands above the beach and on the islands. One of the northern bight sites is located on moss in the trees just west of the stream, the other is on the small rock promontory 150 feet southeast of the stream. One of these island sites has part of an old tent platform. Water can be collected at streams that feed the cove.

The recommended entrance for motorboats and sailboats is the southernmost entrance south of the island. Though the next passage north is passable, submerged rocks pose a danger. The two bights off the center of the cove provide excellent anchorages, protected from most storms. A less used anchorage is located in the bight behind the islands in the south part of the cove. The best passage is to go behind the big island clockwise staying center channel. There are no protected anchorages or campsites in the south arm of Surprise Cove. Weekends draw the most use, with eight or more boats in the cove while often only one may be found mid-week.

Ziegler Cove State Marine Park

Ziegler CoveZiegler Cove is located on of northern side at the mouth of Pigot Bay 18 miles from Whittier. A protected anchorage in the cove with good-holding bottom is surrounded by second growth forest of spruce, alder and muskeg. A maximum of four boats can safely anchor in the cove at one time. A picnic site with a fire ring is located on the east corner of the cove above the shale pebble beach. There is a campsite on the north corner of the cove at the edge of the forest. Drinking water can be found further up in Pigot Bay.

Four more parks near Whitter

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