Karta Bay, one of the western extensions off the head of Kasaan Bay, forms the eastern border of the Karta River Wilderness on east-central Prince of Wales Island. The area includes the drainage of the Karta River system (which empties into the southwest corner of Karta Bay) and two major lakes, Salmon and Karta. Fire burned the area around the turn of the century, but second-growth spruce, cedar, and hemlock stand an average of 60 feet tall. One of Alaska's more recent additions to the National Wilderness Preservation System, Karta River Wilderness is best known for large salmon runs and the scenic quality of the large river drainage system. Wildlife fills the area, including wolves, black bears, black-tailed deer, beavers, otters, minks, martens, and weasels. Trumpeter swans and various other waterfowl are commonly seen on the river. Native Alaskans, particularly the Haida, historically lived around the bay and utilized the rich food sources of this area. The 5-mile Karta River Trail follows the Karta River up from Karta Bay to Salmon Lake, allowing excellent access to the river for steelhead, sockeye and coho salmon runs. Three Forest Service rental cabins are located in the Karta Wilderness: Karta River, Karta Lake, and Salmon Lake, and all are accessible via floatplane. Boat access is available for the Karta River cabin. The Karta River Wilderness is one of Prince of Wales Island's easier Wildernesses to access.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Karta River Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
Tongass Timber Reform Act - Public law 101-626 (11/28/1990) To amend the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, to protect certain lands in the Tongass National Forest in perpetuity, to modify certain long-term timber contracts, to provide for protection of riparian habitat, and for other purposes