Prince William Sound, a largely unspoiled wilderness of steep fjords and mountains, glaciers and rainforest, sits between the Kenai Peninsula to the west and the Chugach Mountains to the north and east. Teeming with marine mammals, the Sound has a relatively low-key tourist industry. The only significant settlements, spectacular Valdez, at the end of the trans-Alaska pipeline, and Cordova, a fishing community only accessible by sea or air, are the respective bases for visiting the Columbia and Childs glaciers.

The Chugach and Eyak people were displaced by Russian trappers in search of sea otter pelts, and then by American miners and fishers. The whole glorious show was very nearly spoiled forever on Good Friday 1989, when the Exxon Valdez spilled eleven million gallons of crude oil. Although 1400 miles of coast were befouled and some 250,000 birds died, and the long-term effects are still unclear, today no surface pollution is visible.

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