Chugach Corner: An adventure on the Cordova Ranger District

A sea otter rests in Cordova’s small boat harbor. Photo courtesy of Amanda Williams

Imagine for a moment a picturesque adventure day on the Chugach National Forest, Cordova Ranger District. What does it look like to you? Perhaps you’re bundled up in your warm ski gear, as your single rider chariot lifts you ever so gracefully to the top of the Mt. Eyak Ski Area, with a view affording a glimpse of the Gulf of Alaska, the ocean blue so vibrant it almost does not look real. It’s a clear sunny day, the snow is perfect and you glide happily down the mountain as your skis or snowboard shred the pristine powder to the bottom, just to do it all again. Or you awaken to light falling snow and decide to meander out to enjoy a hike up the Crater Lake Trail. With your snowshoes strapped onto your boots, you ascend the heart-pumping switchbacks amongst the Sitka spruce and western hemlock trees, reminiscent of something out of a storybook. You may decide to pick a spot on the mighty Copper River Delta, in all its 700,000-acre glory, to catch a Dolly Vardon or one of the five species of Pacific salmon. Maybe you wait for a sea otter to cruise by in Orca Inlet or watch for a Bald Eagle to grace the skies while you bask in the Alaskan wilderness glow sounds appealing. These are among the plethora of picturesque moments that await you here.

The Cordova Ranger District encompasses 2.3 million acres of the Chugach National Forest in South central Alaska. A large variety of bird, marine and mammal species live and thrive here.

Join us in this series, aptly named the Chugach Corner, as we bring you up-to-date upcoming projects, wildlife, ecology/plants and fisheries happenings, cabin and trail information, events in the community, and the fun and exciting things that are available for you to discover on the Cordova Ranger District, Chugach National Forest. There are endless outdoor activities to enjoy in our little slice of paradise, and each season brings wonderment and enormous joy for those who seek it. From the coast to the mountain tops, wetlands to the delta, meadows to riverways and everything in between, we’ve got you covered.

Winter into early spring on the Cordova Ranger District is a special time, the wonderland that can be snowy, rainy and sunny. You can catch the swirling colors of Northern Lights, one of the natural wonders of the world. You can partake in skiing — with great conditions lately — snowshoeing, fat tire biking, snow machining, kick sledding, waterfall viewing and fishing, amongst others.

What’s happening on the Chugach National Forest

Small flocks of snow buntings were spotted at Goose Meadows at mile 19 on March 25.

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Several moose have been seen off Alaganik Road and the Copper River Highway at mile 23 in March. The area around Alaganik Road is one of their primary winter habitats. Moose, the largest in the deer family, have been on the Copper River Delta since 1949, according to records, and use many habitats including aquatic, tall/open alder-willow and woodland spruce. Winter and early Spring is the best time of year to spot one of these magnificent creatures.

Always check the weather reports before you go recreate. It is good practice to tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back, take extra gear and know what to do in case of an emergency. Check out the latest safety news release before you go: cdv.tiny.us/safety

“The USDA Forest Service is a multiple use agency. The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. Cordova is a special and unique place. As a public servant my quest for Cordova is creating and maintaining opportunities for community members in subsistence, special uses, public access, and developed recreation. As a land manager I am also dedicated to finding the balance in use and conservation of our natural resources for current and future generations,” said Steve Namitz, District Ranger on the Chugach National Forest, Cordova Ranger District.

Do you have a question, or is there something in the area you would like to know more about, that is forest related? We welcome your input and involvement! Email me at amanda.williams5@usda.gov and remember, make every day an adventure!