Small to medium size cruise ships have increasingly made Five Finger Lighthouse a designated stop on their southeast Alaska tours. The opportunity to stretch ones legs, see an active eagles nest, and climb up into the tower for unparalleled views of Frederick Sound has made for a quality visitor experience. While getting on and off the island is challenging, cruise staffs are accustomed to handling the rigors of marine environments and the Five Finger experience appeals to their clients’ sense of adventure. In the summer of 2017, the lighthouse had xx cruise ship visits with a total of xxx passengers coming onshore.
When researchers are present at the lighthouse they are always willing to share their projects goals with visitors and to answer any questions guests may have about the local ecology. Lighthouse staff recognize and are promoting the unique opportunity our tiny island holds for visitors to learn about a southeast Alaska ecosystem.
To further this goal, several interpretive signs detailing the flora, fauna and geology of The Five Finger Islands were created. The panels were largely a collaboration of two individuals; Dr. Fred Sharpe was responsible for content and artist, Sharon Birzer created the beautiful layouts.
Two of the panels cover island ecology, one focuses on the rich intertidal zone and the other, titled Upland, on all life above the the intertidal zone. The diversity of species of plants and animals on the island and in the surrounding waters is quite remarkable. The interpretive panels have been a big hit with visitors to the island.
Several additional panels cover research projects at Five Finger, lighthouse history, humpback whale behavior and oceanography.