Harrison Lagoon, Prince William Sound

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Harrison Lagoon, Prince William Sound

by | Feb 5, 2020

Harrison Lagoon is about 0.5 miles (800 m) across, located on the west side of Port Wells in Prince William Sound, 66 miles (106 km) west-southwest of Valdez and 22 miles (35.5 km) northeast of Whittier, Alaska. The local name was first reported in 1916 by J.W. Bagley of the U.S. Geological Survey. Port Wells is a fjord that extends south for 14 miles from College Fjord to Wells Passage. The fjord was named in 1794 by Captain George Vancouver of the Royal Navy, presumably for Edward Wells, a prominent mathematician and geographer.

Between Harrison Lagoon and Hobo Bay is the abandoned Granite Mine and the remains of an old stamp mill. In 1912, M.L. Tatum and J. Erving located the Granite Mine lode and by 1915, there were over 2,000 feet (610 m) of workings and a 10-stamp mill was crushing rock at the site, and the post office was moved from Golden, on the east side of Port Wells, to Granite to serve the 50 men working here. Most of the gold production occurred from 1916 to 1922. In 1933, a small hydroelectric plant was installed one mile north of the property. The Granite Mine was one of the most productive mines in Prince William Sound reporting 24,940 ounces (707 kg) of gold and 2,492 ounces (71 kg) of silver extracted from 31,919 tons (28,956,430 kg) of ore dug from more than 8,200 feet (2,500 m) of workings. The mine is still private property and was reassessed in 1985 to determine if it was worth further development.

A public use cabin is located in Harrison Lagoon, one of 21 public use cabins in Prince William Sound. The cabin is tucked into a stand of conifer trees on a gravel spit with one side facing Port Wells, and the other side facing the lagoon. The lagoon itself is surrounded by a rocky shoreline and dense evergreen forest with views of distant snow-capped mountains. Black bears, Sitka black-tailed deer, and bald eagles make their home here. The lagoon and Port Wells support many seabirds, Dall and harbor porpoises, harbor seals, sea otter, and some sea lions frequent the area. Read more here and here. Explore more of Harrison Lagoon here:

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