Blind Slough, Mitkof Island

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Blind Slough, Mitkof Island

by | Oct 23, 2020

Blind Slough is an estuary about 4 miles (6.5 km) long forming the lower course of the Blind River that flows northwest on Mitkof Island to Wrangell Narrows, about 24 miles (39 km) northwest of Wrangell and 12 miles (19 km) south of Petersburg, Alaska. Blind River was named in 1891 by Lieutenant Commander H.E. Nichols of the U.S. Navy. It was previously known as “Blind Passage” because it was once presumed that this was a passage bisecting Mitkof Island and connecting Wrangell Narrows to Sumner Strait. 

At the head of Blind Slough is a 2 megawatt hydroelectric project that has been supplying electrical power since the 1920s. Water drops from Crystal Lake through a penstock or pipeline to Crystal Creek where it is either used directly by the Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery or returned to Crystal Creek, which eventually enters Blind Slough. It provides about 20 percent of the electricity for Petersburg Municipal Light and Power.

The Crystal Lake Hatchery is operated by the Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association, a non-profit company with a mission is “to enhance and rehabilitate salmon production in southern Southeast Alaska to the optimum social and economic benefit of salmon users”. They operate four salmon hatcheries that grow salmon to age and then release them into the wild. The hatchery at Crystal Lake has operated in conjunction with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game since 1973 and is one of the oldest operating hatcheries in Alaska. Read more here and here. Explore more of Blind Slough here:

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