My youth was spent following game trails to the river or to the top of alpine peaks. Prince of Wales is now loaded with official trails taking visitors deep into the woods and educating them.
The Harris River Interpretive Trail is a half mile loop through a restored river and forest area. Much of the area in the Harris drainage is second growth and it was this logging that damaged habitat. The river was far from devastated, as there are still quality runs of salmon, but the project was aimed at improving tributaries and spawning grounds for salmon and trout. There is also an on-going study in different types of tree-thinning to encourage forest health which is explained on one of the small trail kiosks.
The trail is nicely cut and once the berry bushes, alder trees and other undergrowth fills in, the Interpretive Trail hike and the two-mile hump to the Hydaburg Highway will be some of the best non-alpine routes on the island.
Bears also like the trail. During the 45-minute meander all around the area, we found eight piles of bear scat – some buggy fresh, others a couple days old.
There is a bit of an unfinished feel to the area which is an opportunity to do some amateur creek-hopping.