Elfin Cove, Chichagof Island

Elfin Cove, Chichagof Island

by | Apr 15, 2020

Elfin Cove is a small embayment, originally called the Gunk Hole, located on the west coast of the Inian Peninsula of Chichagof Island, about 80 miles (129 km) west of Juneau and 34 miles (55 km) northwest of Hoonah, Alaska. The community of Elfin Cove is at the head of the bay and near the lucrative fishing grounds of Cross Sound. The village has been shown on U.S. Forest Service maps since 1935 and was named after a boat owned by one of the original residents. It is surrounded by the Tongass National Forest, and in the busy summer months, the local businesses serve the commercial fishing fleets and tourists.

During the summer months, there is a significant, though still transient, population increase. Commercial fishing vessels transiting to the Bering Sea or engaged in local recreational fishing swell the population of Elfin Cove, and the community is occasionally visited by tour vessels with up to 100 passengers that can tax its limited infra­structure. Power is generated locally, potable water comes from a spring, and there are no regularly scheduled modes of transportation. Elfin Cove has no roads but is served by a network of boardwalks. Medical services are volunteer-provided, and the community is self-sustaining but at risk if an emergency were to arise.

The village can be traversed via a short network of boardwalks with stairs and ramps. At the top of the ramp from the Gunk Hole harbor is a small museum, housed in the former school building that closed when the population of children in the village dropped below the minimum of ten. The network of boardwalks leads to the outer harbor, passing a small gear store and repair shop, some lodgings, a building that houses showers and laundry, and a combination general store and liquor store. Read more here and here. Explore more of Elfin Cove here:

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About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2021 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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