Thorne Bay, located on the east side of Prince of Wales Island, is the third largest city on PoW. The city was founded in 1961 and incorporated in 1982. It has a population of approximately 500 people. The city is divided by its namesake bay. City hall and most services are located on the north side of the bay while the Southside subdivision and Goose Creek Industrial Center are located to the south across the bay and several miles away (by road). Thorne Bay is less than 40 miles from Klawock and 60 miles from Hollis.
The city began as a floating logging camp. It was the home of the world’s largest logging camp in the 1960’s. There still are several small sawmills primarily located in the Goose Creek Industrial Park in south Thorne Bay. Today, the once logging-centric economy has diversified and enjoys a substantial tourist trade. However, “The Claw”, the world’s largest log grapple, sits on the shores of Thorne Bay and serves as a reminder of the city’s history. The Thorne River, which feeds into Thorne Bay, is one of Alaska’s premier fishing systems. Thorne Bay is home to several fishing and hunting lodges and cabins, and B&Bs. Thorne Bay enjoys several nearby recreational areas: Sandy Beach, Eagle’s Nest, Ball’s Lake, Goose Creek, among others.
The Southeast Island School District’s offices are in Thorne Bay. SISD serves several PoW communities. The US Forest Service’s Thorne Bay District office, one of two on the Island, is located here. Security is provided by the city’s Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO).
Thorne Bay has the following services: fuel, groceries, ATM (cash machine), school, clinic, pharmacy, VPSO, volunteer fire department, emergency medical services (EMS), boat launch/public floats, hardware store, churches, flights (floatplane), grocery store, restaurant, lodging, and library, among others
Additional information can be found at the following contact/links:
Thorne Bay: http://thornebay-ak.gov
Prince of Wales Chamber of Commerce: http://www.princeofwalescoc.org
Southeast Island School District: http://www.sisd.org
Tongass National Forest: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/tongass/recreation