On the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, over 100 public-use cabins make it easy to enjoy a wide variety of activities from hunting and fishing, to hiking and skiing. Many of these Forest Service cabins are located on lakes, and small boats offer another way for people to recreate during their stay.

Thanks to support from our partners, the National Forest Foundation is delivering over twenty new skiffs and canoes to lakeside cabins in Alaska. NFF worked with Forest Service staff to identify cabin locations in need as well as coordinate delivery, often by helicopter or float plane.

Skiff delivery by helicopter.

One of the first of these deliveries went to West Turner Lake Cabin, just outside of Juneau, Alaska’s capital city. Located on the Taku River, cabin-goers can arrive by boat or float plane. This place is not only beautiful but also steeped in history: the Taku River (T’aaḵú in Lingít) was an important trade and migration route to the Interior for the T’aaḵú Ḵwáan Tlingit people as well as a source of salmon. In the early 1930s, the West Turner Lake Cabin was built as part of President Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps that put young, single men back to work during the Great Depression.

West Turner Lake Cabin.

It’s not every day that one sees a boat flying through the air and gently landing on the water, but that’s exactly what happened at Turner Lake. The pilot at Temsco Helicopters picked up the two skiffs about a half mile away on the Taku River and deftly landed them near the cabin’s dock, where the old boats were then hoisted up for removal. Forest Service staff were on hand to put the finishing touches on the skiffs, adding oars and bow lines, ready to be used by the public.

The remainder of the new boats should be delivered to the cabins by the end of the year. Outdoor recreation opportunities like these make the Tongass National Forest both a world-class destination for visitors and an incredible place to call home.

West Turner Lake.

If you would like to support the NFF in accomplishing similar projects, you can donate to the Alaska Cabins Project or the Alaska Forest Fund.

All photos by Carolyn Auwaerter.


We hope you agree that getting outdoors with family, friends, or solo is a huge benefit of healthy and welcoming National Forests. Our work on campgrounds, trails, docks, overlooks, signs, and more ensures millions can enjoy the great outdoors each year. But it requires generosity from people like you to keep our work going. Your unrestricted gift allows us to direct funds to the greatest need. Please consider giving today. Thank you!

National Forest Foundation