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Cape Decision to Edna Bay
(Added: 10.13.2014)

Route Notes

  • Flight-Seeing Flight Plan HERE
  • Suggested Altitude: 1200 Feet
  • Landing zone is: Water
  • Aircraft Type: Float or Amphibian
  • Distance approximately: 22 NM
  • Download PRINT-ABLE copy HERE
  • Flight-Seeing Flight map HERE
  • Trip Ticket FAQ Usage HERE
  • Scenery Needed: Tongass X, RTMM Docks

Route Overview

FROM: Cape Decision Lighthouse
Edna Bay Dock

Leg: From Cape Decision to Warren Channel
Initial Course: 087 Degrees
Leg Distance: 10.5 NM
Leg Altitude: 1200 feet

Our journey starts at the Cape Decision Lighthouse. There is a helicopter pad at this location too. You will take off on a heading of 087 and head for the Warren Channel that is just north of Warren Island.

  • During his voyage of discovery in 1793, Captain George Vancouver sailed throughout much of present-day Southeast Alaska bestowing names left and right on bays, islands, lakes, straits, points, coves, inlets, ports, passages, and capes; such is the prerogative of an explorer. Near the end of that year’s sailing season, Vancouver named the tip of the nearby island Cape Decision. Just off the point, Vancouver made an important decision that he had progressed far enough north to be beyond the islands claimed by Spanish explorers. It would be over a century later before the Lighthouse Service would make the decision to build the Cape Decision Lighthouse, the last lighthouse built in Alaska.
  • For several years following the acquisition of Alaska in 1867, the vast majority of vessels made their way between Seattle and Juneau by following a twisting route through the myriad of islands that parallel this stretch of the northwest coast. By remaining “inside” the islands, the captains and passengers could enjoy a safer and smoother journey than that experienced “outside” the islands in the open North Pacific.
  • lighthouse details As vessels’ girths increased through the years, alternate routes through the strait passages had to be used. In particular, some ships were unable to transit Wrangell Narrows and were forced to make a detour around Cape Decision. To follow this lengthier route, Captains sailing north now follow Sumner Strait to its end at Cape Decision, where they are briefly exposed to the full swells off the ocean before entering Chatham Strait.
  • Passenger vessels were not the only ones transiting the waters near Cape Decision. Fishermen were also passing by the cape to reach the open “outside” waters near Cape Ommaney in search of more lucrative catches. Several fishing communities, like Port Alexander on the eastern side of Baranof Island, along with the supporting salmon canneries, herring salteries, and reduction plants, soon dotted the shores of Sumner and Chatam Straits. During most of the 1930s, Port Alexander was home to the largest salmon trolling fleet in Alaska. Although its wintertime population dwindled to around one hundred, during the summer fishing season the city swelled to over a thousand inhabitants.
  • The first attempt to light these waters was an acetylene lantern placed on the Spanish Islands, just off the southern end of Kuiu Island. The lantern, however, proved ineffective, and in 1929, Congress appropriated $59,400 for a lighthouse. Inclement weather and delays in obtaining additional funding pushed the completion date of the Cape Decision Lighthouse out to March 15, 1932. By that time, $158,000 had been spent on the project.
  • In the early 1930's, Port Alexander harbored the largest salmon troll fleet in all of Alaska and community celebrations regularly drew 2,000 people, all of whom arrived by boat. It was the last light station to be established along Alaska's rugged coastline and was manned until 1974 when a reliable diesel electric system replaced the lightkeeper. The navigational light is now powered by a solar array and battery bank.

Leg: From Warren Channel to Cosmos Pass
Initial Course: 121 degrees
Leg Distance: 5.3 NM
Leg Altitude: 1200 feet

Warren Island shows up to Starboard and the much larger Kosciusko Island is the body of land to Port. Fly the channel between the two. You will follow the curvature of Kosciusko Island to Port, we'll follow the coast to port. Around the point to port is Halibut Harbor. We will be flying on to the center of the narrow spit of land ahead. The end of this (toward starboard) is called Whale Head. And we will be passing by Whale Island to starboard..

  • Warren Island is an island in the Alexander Archipelago of southeastern Alaska, USA. It lies on the Pacific coast just southwest of the community of Edna Bay (on Kosciusko Island). Directly west is Coronation Island and directly north is Kuiu Island. Warren Island has a land area of 47.191 km² (18.22 sq mi) and no permanent resident population. The entire island has been designated as the Warren Island Wilderness, a part of Tongass National Forest.
  • Kosciusko Island is known for the high density of black bears and bear hunting. There is even a dog that is bred just for chasing bears away.
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    • We love our Bear Dogs and you will, too. Once you have a companion like these guys out in the woods, bears aren't a problem. Their breeds genetics naturally make them bear aware, keeping them away.
  • Warren Channel is known for fishing and many guides are available to take you out onto the water to catch your limit.

The break or cut through the spit of land ahead is Cosmos Pass.

Leg: From Cosmos Pass to Green Island
Initial Course: 034 degrees
Leg Distance: 3.1 NM
Leg Altitude: 1200

At Cosmos Pass, we come to a heading of 34 degrees heading for tiny Green Island, 3 miles ahead. The body of water here is called the Davidson Inlet.

Leg: From Green Island to Edna Bay Dock
Initial Course: 339 degrees
Leg Distance: 2.2 NM
Leg Altitude: Landing Configuration

Over Green Island, come to a 339 heading and move into landing configuration, your landing zone is 2.2 miles ahead on the starboard shore toward the end of the bay.

Welcome to the Edna Bay Docks.

  • The small ocean community of Edna Bay is located in the Tongass National Forest. With lush rain forest plant life covering every inch of the island, wildlife that is just as abundant, and the most pristine blue ocean you'll ever see; every day in Edna Bay offers a beautiful new pallet of natural display. Open areas are filled with a diverse assortment of wild flowers and edible berry producing plants. The lush green old growth forests are carpeted with thriving ferns and soft green moss. With wildlife prevalent in so many places, Edna Bay offers an unsurpassed recreational experience and is a truly beautiful place to live. 

    The climate is moderate, with warm winters and mild summers. It tends to rain, or be overcast more in this part of the state than in other areas. Though the area isn't plagued by the typical below zero, heavily snowed, Alaskan winter. The summers are equally pleasing with temperatures rarely going above 90 degrees on the hottest of days. 

    The island has many naturally occurring species of animals that may be harvested. The bear, deer, and large assortment of ocean fish offer an exceptional subsistence lifestyle to those who live here, and allow them to do so in comfort. The managed logging on the island only helps to improve the land animal populations by opening up more areas for the animals to find natural food sources, and escape predators. The island also has a large population of timber wolves that keep the other large animal groups in check - other predator species include martens, mink and eagles. There is a wide array of non-predatory local bird species as well - including hummingbirds. 

    The community of Edna Bay was established in 1983, after the great logging expeditions of the 1950's. The name Edna Bay was originally given to the area by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1904. The land that the community currently occupies is located on the Southeastern corner of Kosciusko Island, and was initially part of a large state land disposal sale. At it's peak there were well over 100 people living here in the bay, but as logging subsided, so did the population. Edna Bay was originally established as a fishing community, not just because of the logging that was thriving here initially. Many of the original fisherman that came to the bay still reside here today. Edna Bay is in the perfect protected location with excellent access to the local fishing grounds. At one time, there was even a fish scow located in the bay which provided local fisherman with a place to sell their catch. Today, there are only about 50 people residing here year-round, but the population is once again beginning to increase.