Though the name Valdez is still associated with the disastrous oil spill in 1989, the city itself is a place of spectacular beauty and wildlife. Five glaciers around the Valdez area can be explored by boat, flying, driving or even on foot.
Valdez is located on the northern shore of Port Valdez, a deepwater fjord in Prince William Sound. Tragically, the original city was destroyed by tsunamis in the 1964 earthquake, but the city was soon rebuilt and started to thrive after the construction of the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline in the 1970s.
Winter sports are highly popular in Valdez due to the large amount of snow the surrounding Chugach Mountains receive every year. Between 600-900 inches (50-75 feet!) of snow falls on their slopes, providing a wintry playground for skiers, snowboarders, and even ice climbers.
Fishermen will enjoy Valdez for the large amount of salmon and huge halibut which live in the region. Some of Alaska’s oldest fish derbies take place in Valdez, and participants win some of the thousands of dollars offered every year. Additional wildlife is plentiful in Valdez, as well. The surrounding sea waters are full of sea otters and harbor seals, and black and brown bears climb hillsides around the city. There are also a number of bird-watching opportunities in Valdez, and the famous Bald Eagles can be easily viewed here. As always, it’s very important to view the wildlife in Valdez and the rest of Alaska with care and respect so as not to disrupt their vital habitats.
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