Petersburg is located among the forested islands and mountains of Alaska’s beautiful Inside Passage on the northern tip of Mitkof Island. It’s a small, vibrant town with about 3,100 permanent residents. Petersburg is located in the heart of the Tongass National Forest.
Petersburg’s day-to-day atmosphere is that of a busy fishing village. Fishing boats and pleasure cruisers dominate the waters around Petersburg. Our town is off-the-beaten-path of the large cruise ships, which cannot navigate the Wrangell Narrows, a winding, scenic waterway between Mitkof and Kupreanof Islands.
Petersburg residents enjoy a variety of outdoor sports activities, as well as fishing, hunting berry picking and wildlife viewing. Canada geese, bald eagles, seals, whales, sea lions, wolves, black bear, moose, deer, goat, and trumpeter swans are among the many animals common to our island. On Mitkof Island there are fishing, hunting, and hiking areas that are accessible by automobile and trail. There is an intricate road system on the island (mostly old logging roads that are gravel-surfaced and not maintained in winter) that provides a wide variety of recreation opportunities.
Wildlife abounds in Petersburg. Eagles are regularly seen in the trees and on beaches around town. Over 240 species of birds have been recorded on this 210 square mile island. Mitkof Island is also home to healthy wolf, black bear, deer, and moose populations. Sea lions and seals are often seen in the harbor and the waters surrounding Petersburg. Humpback whales and orcas are sometimes seen swimming off the shores of Mitkof Island. During the summer, hundreds of humpback whales live and feed about 50 miles north of Petersburg where Frederick Sound joins with Stephens Passage.
All species of wild Alaska salmon can be caught in the waters around Petersburg. You can fish from shore, rent a motorized skiff, join one of the many charter operators, or stay at a fishing lodge. Crab, halibut and rockfish are also plentiful just a short boat ride from town.
Boyer Wikan Fisherman’s Memorial: Petersburg is known for its wide range of public art. You’ll find artistic designs stamped in the concrete of the sidewalks, and Rosemaling (Norwegian toll-painting) on the fronts of retail stores and residences. The influence of local artists and crafts people is seen in the murals, totems, and sculpture along downtown streets.