Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve
Haines is home to the largest congregation of American Bald Eagles in the world in the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, created by the State of Alaska in 1982. The preserve occupies 48,000 acres of prime American Bald Eagle habitat along the muddy bottom lands of the Chilkat River. During the summer the river runs high and fast with glacial waters from the surrounding mountain peaks, but during the late fall and early winter the Chilkat River remains unfrozen and American Bald Eagles gather to feed on late salmon spawning runs. A highlight of driving the beautiful Haines Highway between 18 and 24 mile is sighting trees heavily laden with these beautiful birds. During the month of November and the peak gathering of birds of up to 3000 individuals, the American Bald Eagle Foundation hosts the Alaska Bald Eagle Festival, a week long festival that draws photographers from all over the world to capture these majestic birds. A part of these festivities include opportunities to learn about eagles, photography safaris, and releases of rehabilitated eagles back into the wild.