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Forrester Island Wilderness

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Forrester Island as seen from the ocean.
Library image #4065: South end of Forrester Island. Southern most point in Alaska.


The United States Congress designated the Forrester Island Wilderness (map) in 1970 and it now has a total of 2,832 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Alaska and is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service.


During the day you'll ask yourself how more than one million birds of 13 species could be nesting here. But at night vast populations of Leach's storm petrels, fork-tailed petrels, Cassin's auklets, and rhinoceros auklets leave their underground burrows to feed in the ocean around the isolated islands of Forrester, Lowrie, and Petrel. An estimated 780,000 storm petrels nest on Petrel Island alone. These islands and numerous nearby rocks were established as a wildlife refuge in 1912, and were designated Wilderness in 1970. In 1980 they were added as a subunit of the 475,000-acre Gulf of Alaska Unit of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, at the southeastern end of the state.

Forrester Island itself lies under a heavy forest of spruce and hemlock with a few lodgepole pine and red cedar bordering open muskegs. In small ravines and in areas of windfall on this mountainous piece of land the thick scrub, a web of berry bushes and devil's club, discourages travel. The shoreline has many sheer cliffs and few beaches, as does the shoreline of Petrel Island, which is also heavily forested. The nearby Lowrie Islands lie essentially flat.

To schedule your visit for the best time, avoid the spring nesting season. Almost all the available soil contains lengthy burrows, and one false step could end many of the lives developing within buried eggs.

Planning to Visit the Forrester Island Wilderness?

Leave No Trace

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Forrester Island Wilderness.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.