• Tongass – Temperate Rain Forest in Alaska


    Still docked in Ketchikan, and after the city tour we spent the afternoon in the temperate rain forest area of the  Tongass National Forest.


    Tongass Alaska Rain forest



    Tongass is the largest national forest in the US and Earth’s largest remaining temperate rain forest.


    Tongass Rainforest Alaska


    Western red cedar, Sitka spruce and western hemlock are the main tree species growing here.

    Everything is super-sized, the huge leaves belong to the Skunk Cabbage, food source for the bears…


    skunk cabbage in Tongass national forest


    … and this native slug, called banana slug,  is huge as well. The only indigenous slug to Alaska grows to a length of 25 cm ( 9.8 inches)


    banana slug in Alaska


    We were told it is a ‘young’ forest, with just a thin layer of soil. Bedrock is visible everywhere overgrown with mosses and beautiful lichen, the trees are shallow rooted and in time strong storms will topple them. The fallen trees are called nursery trees, they turn into a food source for shrubs and new trees.


    bedrock in Tongass



    day3 038


    Our Tour guide pointed out a wolf den


    wolf den Tongass



    It is cool and wet,  in Ketchikan the average precipitation is 320 cm (162 inches)s a year, second only to Hawaii and the temperature range for the year is -1 C  to 27 C  (30 to 80 F).


    salmon spawning pool tongass


    All five species of Pacific salmon (chum or dog, sockeye or red, king or chinook, silver or coho, pink) thrive and spawn in the streams and waters of the Tongass.

    This pool is a spawning site, we did see tiny salmon in the water.


    salmon spawning pool in tongass



    One last look


    tongass rain forest

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