• 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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