Jack Bay, Valdez Arm

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Jack Bay, Valdez Arm

by | Jan 27, 2021

Jack Bay is an estuary that extends southeast for 6 miles (10 km) from Valdez Arm in Prince William Sound, about 70 miles (113 km) northeast of Whittier and 12 miles (19 km) southwest of Valdez, Alaska. In 1898, the bay was named “Jack’s Bay” by Captain W.R. Abercrombie, of the U.S. Army, presumably for W.G. Jack who was a local prospector. Valdez Arm is a passage that connects Prince William Sound and Port Valdez. A portion of Jack Bay is an Alaska State Marine Park.

In 1983, the first Alaska marine park opened near Juneau as part of an international system extending from Washington through British Columbia to Alaska. This system provides boat owners and water enthusiasts access to coastal environments with protected anchorages. The marine park system expanded in 1990 to include seven parks in Prince William Sound and Resurrection Bay. Today, there are 35 state marine parks in Alaska, ranging in size from the 62 acres (25 ha) Joe Mace Island State Marine Park east of Wrangell to the massive 103,600 acres (41,925 ha) St. James Bay State Marine Park, about 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Juneau on the west shore of Lynn Canal. These 35 parks are mostly undeveloped and represent diverse habitats from vast exposed stretches of pristine coastline to sheltered embayments like Jack Bay.

The entrance to Jack Bay is on the east shore of Valdez Arm, south of Valdez Narrows, between Entrance Point and Tongue Point. Jack Bay has intertidal mudflats at the head of the bay and numerous submerged and intertidal boulders. An island in the middle of the bay is surrounded by several smaller islets and numerous rocks off the southeast shore. The island and the adjacent mainland are part of Jack Bay State Marine Park. The park is 1,544 acres (625 ha) surrounded by steep mountains and a spruce-hemlock forest. There is no road access to the park and the only access is by boat or floatplane. The park has a rustic public use cabin that sleeps six. Read more here and here. Explore more of Jack Bay here:

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