One of 30 named islands in the Shumagin Group, Simeonof Island was established as a refuge for sea otters in 1958. It became a Wilderness in 1976. Protected "lands" include the water, shoals, and kelp beds within a mile of the island where at least 17 species of whales have been identified (minke whales are the most common), but where surprisingly few sea otters still live. With shores that slope easily to the sea and wide beaches, Simeonof attracts relatively few seabirds. Three streams support salmon.
Cattle and fox ranchers used the island between 1890 and 1930, but they eventually abandoned their ranches. Cattle were returned to the island in 1960, and a herd that was often too large for the island to support scared off the few terns and other birds that nested here. In 1985 the last cow was removed, and a resurgence of bird life is expected.
With a well-protected harbor offering safe anchorage, Simeonof Island lies 58 miles from the mainland and is difficult to reach. Rain, fog, strong winds, and cool temperatures descend on the island, which receives few human visitors. Those who do visit come primarily to see a truly wild piece of earth, and perhaps a few whales. All are asked to leave the wildlife strictly untouched.
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 Simeonof 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.
(No official title, designates Fish and Wildlife Service wildernesses) - Public law 94-557 (10/19/1976) To designate certain lands as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System and to provide designation for certain lands as Wilderness Study Areas