Steamer Bay Cabin - Tongass NFRemote rental cabins on the Tongass National Forest are a great way to explore the region and enjoy its outdoor activities. Access is by boat or plane making the cabins an easy way to visit the wilderness.

The Tongass National Forest encompasses all of Southeast Alaska. At nearly 17 million acres, the Tongass is the largest unit found within the national forest system. Known for its remarkable recreational opportunities, visiting remote cabins maintained by the Tongass is one of our favorite activities in Southeast Alaska. These cabins are only accessible by boat or floatplane.

Cabin Features – Tongass Forest cabins vary in their design. There are A-Frames, Pan-Abode and Alpine models to name a few. Each cabin can sleep at least four and often more people. Amenities include a kitchen table, bunk beds, wood or oil fired stove, axe, broom, and an outhouse. Some cabins can even have a small skiff. Drinking water on-site needs to be treated. Campers need to supply their own sleeping gear, cooking equipment, fuel for cabins that use oil stoves, and the items normally carried on a camping trip. Specific information is available for each cabin that includes location, capacity, type of stove, and mooring information.

Backcountry Safety – Weather is Southeast Alaska can vary immensely. Poor weather can easily delay access to or from a remote cabin. Campers need to be prepared, carrying spare food and clothing for any extended delays. This is bear country and visitors need to exercise good bear sense during their stay. Carry your survival and first aid kits and a marine VHF radio on your trip. Most beaches in Southeast Alaska are effected by Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning and clams are not tested by the State for food safety. This region has extreme tides that see water levels vary by 20 feet. Boaters can easily run aground on the tidal flats of the Stikine River

Cabin Camping Etiquette – Campers need to practice “Pack it in – Pack it out”, take all of your trash home and leave the site in better condition than you found it. Boaters should exercise clean boating strategies and thus preserve these opportunities for the future visitors.

Steamer Bay Cabin – What are the cabins like? One of my family’s favorites is located in Steamer Bay is located on the northwest side of Etolin Island. A large portion of the island is a designated wilderness area. The cabin is 20 feet by 20 feet in size and can accommodate up to seven people. Recreational activities for campers can include fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing, beachcombing, and hiking. The area is inhabited by King, Coho and Pink salmon, Dolly Varden, Dungeness crab, halibut, Brown and Black bear, elk, porcupine, deer, shorebirds, and waterfowl. Etolin Island is home to numerous Roosevelt elk successfully introduced by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Cabin Reservations – Cabins can be reserved for $35 per night in the peak season by calling (877) 444-6777 toll free or going the ReserveAmerica online campsite booking system. Reservations can be made six months in advance. Arrangements can be made with local air taxi and charter boat operators for transportation to cabins. Outfitters like Alaska Vistas and Sunrise Aviation located in Wrangell can take your group to a cabin. Similar companies are located in most of the southeast’s communities.

Copyright – 2013 by Alan Sorum.

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