Waterfalls

Kasnyku Falls, Waterfall Cove

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Kasnyku Falls is a waterfall located between Kasnyku Lake and Waterfall Cove on the northeast coast of Baranof Island, 7 miles (11 km) north of the community of Baranof and 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Sitka, Alaska. Kasnyku Lake is 1.7 miles (2.7 km) long and named in 1923 by the U.S. Forest Service, presumably for Kasnyku Bay. Kasnyku is a Tlingit Native name reported in 1895 by Lieutenant Commander E.K. Moore of the U.S. Navy. Kasnyku Creek flows from Kasnyku Lake and drops about 400 feet (122 m) through a narrow gorge and then plunges over the falls into Waterfall Cove. The only access to this waterfall is by aircraft or boat.

The region is rugged, mountainous, and extremely glaciated and lies within the Chilkat-Baranof Mountains section of the Pacific Border Ranges geological province. Few roads or trails exist, and most of the interior of Baranof Island is accessible only by float plane, helicopter, or foot travel. The climate is mild and wet, characteristic of southeastern Alaska. The snow cover is gone from lower altitudes by June and from higher altitudes by August. Hemlock, spruce, and cedar grow in dense stands, and alder, devils club, and berry bushes form thick undergrowths on alluvial fans and landslide areas. Potential hydroelectric power sites have been explored on the east side of Baranof Island since 1929. One proposed site is at Kasnyku Lake that occupies a glacier gouged basin 393 feet (120 m) deep at an elevation of 595 feet (191 m).

The storage capacity of the lake is currently too small and proposed waterpower development would be best accomplished by the construction of a dam at the lake outlet above the Kasnyku Creek gorge to raise the water level 100 feet (30 m). Water would be diverted through a bored tunnel with a portal on the north shore of Kasnyku Lake near the lake outlet and extending to tidewater at Ell Cove just north of Waterfall Cove. A tunnel along this route would be approximately 2,900 feet (884 m) long and would convey water to a powerhouse installation at Ell Cove through a penstock about 1,400 feet (426 m) long. Read more here and here. Download the latest version of the Coastview app and explore more of Kasnyku Falls here:

Hidden Falls Hatchery, Kasnyku Bay

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The Hidden Falls Fish Hatchery is located on the east side of Baranof Island, at the head of Kasnyku Bay off Chatham Strait, approximately 22 miles (35.5 km) northeast of Sitka, Alaska. Hidden Falls is the outlet to Hidden Falls Lake, located adjacent to and above the hatchery. The descriptive name was given in 1923 by the U.S. Forest Service because the falls cannot be seen until the upper end of the small lagoon at the head of Kasnyku Bay is reached. The salmon hatchery was built in 1977-1979 and operated by the State of Alaska until 1988 when the facility were transferred to the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association.

The hatchery releases about 600,000 chinook smolts, 3 million coho smolts, and about 84 million chum salmon fry each year. Returning coho and chinook are caught primarily by trollers and seiners. Trollers catch Hidden Falls chinook from late-May through early July. Seiners catch chinook later in June and in early July when they target the chum salmon return. The combination of large chum, chinook and coho returns make this hatchery the most economically important salmon augmentation program in Southeast Alaska.

In 2011, several small cruise ships received U.S. Forest Service authorization to take passengers to the hatchery for interpretative tours. These ships range in capacity from 22 to 86 passengers. Hidden Falls Fish Hatchery staff show visitors around the site to educate them on salmon fishery enhancement and aquaculture practices. In 2014, the number of visitors increased to 839, mostly attributed to new cruise ship operators seeking opportunities for their passengers to experience the wild and remote character of the Tongass National Forest. Read more here and here. Download the latest version of the CoastView app and explore more of Hidden Falls Hatchery here:


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