Winter Harbor, Prince of Wales Island

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Winter Harbor, Prince of Wales Island

by | Jun 20, 2018

Winter Harbor is an embayment about 0.3 miles (0.5 km) wide on the west coast of Prince of Wales Island, near the south entrance to Tuxekan Passage, about 66 miles (106 km) northwest of Ketchikan and 15 miles (24 km) north-northwest of Klawock, Alaska. The name was first published in 1964 by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.

An abandoned steam donkey sits in the Winter Harbor tidal flats. This logging engine was invented in 1881 by John Dolbeer, a founding partner of the Dolbeer and Carson Lumber Company in Eureka, California. The mobile engine was a significant development for industrial-scale logging because it could drag or “yard” very large logs up or down steep mountain slopes and eventually to tidewater. The Winter Harbor engine is on log skids and was moved by attaching a cable to a tree, stump, or another strong anchor, and the machine would winch itself overland to the next yarding location.

The internal-combustion engine led to the development of the diesel-powered tractor crawler which eventually put an end to the steam donkey. Consequently, a great number now sits abandoned in the forests, and although some have been preserved in museums, very few are in operating order. See a video of a steam donkey in action here and learn more here. Explore more of Winter Harbor and Prince of Wales Island here:

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