Rising no more than 180 feet above the surging ocean at the entrance to Sitka Sound, Saint Lazaria Island was initially established as a refuge for seabirds, later became Wilderness, and has since been added as a subunit to the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Saint Lazaria has two low summits, forested with mature Sitka spruce, which are connected by a bare saddle that is washed by waves at high tide. Cliffs topped with lush grasses fall to the sea.
Among the tangled tree roots are the burrows of petrels, tufted puffins, and rhinoceros auklets. Pigeon guillemots create a nest-scrape in rocky crevices near common murres, glaucous-winged gulls, and pelagic cormorants. Just under half a million birds lay their eggs on Saint Lazaria, where overcast skies drizzle rain and winds blow moderately to strong throughout much of the year. People are asked to not land on the island, and especially not to walk around. Burrows are crushed easily (as are the occupants), and many birds may abandon their nest when disturbed, allowing the bolder gulls, crows, and ravens to swoop in and feed on eggs and chicks. Saint Lazaria receives 73.5 inches of precipitation, annually. Temperature reach their warmest in July and average between 51 F and 61 F. In January, temperatures average between 22 F and 32 F.
Leave No Trace
Landing on and walking around on the island is discouraged to protect sea bird nests.
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.