Winter Harbor, Prince of Wales Island

Winter Harbor, Prince of Wales Island

by | Apr 30, 2021

Winter Harbor is an embayment about 0.3 miles (0.5 km) wide on the west coast of Prince of Wales Island, near the south entrance to Tuxekan Passage, about 66 miles (106 km) northwest of Ketchikan and 15 miles (24 km) north-northwest of Klawock, Alaska. The name was first published in 1964 by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. The colorful display results from the tidal elevation banding of terrestrial grasses, saltmarsh sedges, and marine algae such as the common rockweed and sea lettuce.

An abandoned steam donkey sits in the Winter Harbor tidal flats. This logging engine was invented in 1881 by John Dolbeer, a founding partner of the Dolbeer and Carson Lumber Company in Eureka, California. The mobile engine was a significant development for industrial-scale logging because it could drag or “yard” very large logs up or down steep mountain slopes and eventually to tidewater where the logs were rafted and towed to a sawmill. The Winter Harbor engine is on log skids and was moved by attaching a cable to a tree, stump, or another strong anchor, and the machine would winch itself overland to the next yarding location.

The internal combustion engine led to the development of the diesel-powered tractor crawler which eventually put an end to the steam donkey. Consequently, a great number of steam engines were abandoned in the forests, and although some have been preserved in museums, very few are in operating order. See a video of a steam donkey in action here and learn more here. Explore more of Winter Harbor and Prince of Wales Island here:

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This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2019 (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. 

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