Hutchins Bay, Beardslee Islands

Hutchins Bay, Beardslee Islands

by | Feb 20, 2019

Hutchins Bay is an estuary, on the east side of the Beardslee Islands, in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, about 12 miles (19 km) north of Gustavus, Alaska. The bay was named by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1942 for the large numbers of Hutchins geese nesting in the bay. The Hutchins goose, also called the cackling goose (Branta hutchinsii), was named after Thomas Hutchins, to commemorate the English surgeon and naturalist who was employed by the Hudson’s Bay Company.

The Beardslee Islands are a group of over 22 islands, islets, and reefs, in an area about 9.5 miles (15 km) long, off the east shore of Glacier Bay. The islands were named by officers of the U.S. Navy in 1880 for Captain Lester Beardslee, the commander of the Department of Alaska, who explored and named Glacier Bay.

The Beardslee Islands are one of the more accessible wilderness areas of the park and popular for sea kayakers departing from Bartlett Cove. Humpback whales, sea otters, and harbor seals are scattered throughout the islands, with whales and otters most likely to be seen on the western side of the islands nearest to open water. Harbor seals and seabirds are drawn to feed in the calm, sheltered waters, and moose come each summer to browse on the abundance of plants on the islands. Read more here and here. Explore more of Hutchins Bay here:

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