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Kodiak

The City of Kodiak sits on the northeastern tip of Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska at the crossroads of the most productive fishing grounds in the world. The Port of Kodiak is homeport to more than 700 commercial fishing vessels and serves several hundred outside vessels each year. Not only is Kodiak the state's largest fishing port, it is also home to some of Alaska's largest trawl, longline, and crab vessels. Kodiak is a thriving business community, a transportation hub for southwest Alaska and the ideal Alaska vacation destination.

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The City of Kodiak offers all that is Alaska and more. Situated in wilderness splendor, rich in Native culture, steeped in Russian history, populated with generations of commercial fishermen, gateway to the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, all amenities with an Alaskan flavor and wildlife on land and in the surrounding waters.

Kodiak's Small Boat Harbor is the heart and soul of Kodiak. Crab boats, salmon seiners and halibut schooners cram the city docks, while more boats dock across the channel at St. Herman Harbor on Near Island. An afternoon on the docks can lead to friendly encounters with fishermen and the chance to see catches unloaded or nets being repaired.  At St. Herman Harbor you will find the Fish Industrial Technology Center, an extension of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, which provides research for the Alaska seafood industry. Its bayside setting on Near Island is beautiful and inside is a visitor information display.

Historical offerings include the Baranov Museum, once a storehouse for sea otter pelts built by the Russians between 1792 and 1799. The museum contains many items from the Russian period of Kodiak's history and many fine examples of Native basketry. The Alutiiq Museum & Archaeological Repository features displays, galleries and exhibits of Alutiiq heritage. Kodiak Tribal Council's Barabara Sod House is an authentic Alutiiq dwelling that features presentations of Alutiiq dancing.

The beautiful Holy Resurrection Church was established in 1794. The present church was built in 1945 and is the third one at this site. Within the church are icons and rare paintings as well as relics from Father Herman, who was elevated to sainthood at Kodiak in 1970 and was the first canonization ever performed in the U.S. At St. Herman's Theological Seminary, founded in 1973, you will find the Veniaminov Research Institute Museum with indigenous artifacts, icons and Bibles used by Orthodox missionaries on the Yukon River in the 1800s.

Besides being the main gateway into the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, the Kodiak area has a number of state parks including Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park. The fort was build during World War II, and features the Kodiak Military History Museum, located inside the Ready Ammo bunker. The 143-acre park sits majestically on the cliffs over wooded Monashka Bay and just as interesting as the gun emplacements are the tidal pools found along the rocky shorelines.

Kodiak's backdrop, 1,270-foot Mt. Pillar has a bumpy dirt road that leads to a scenic overlook behind the city and provides excellent views of the surrounding mountains, ocean, beaches and islands. One side seems to plunge straight down to the harbor below, while the other overlooks the green interior of Kodiak Island.

There are dozens of hiking trails in the Kodiak area and though not always marked along the roads, provide a wonderful avenue to the natural beauty of Kodiak Island. The park office located at Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park provides information on the exact location and condition of trails. The most popular trails include two trails on Pillar Mountain, the Barometer Mountain Trail and the Termination Point Trail.

With its many bays and protected inlets, scenic coastline and offshore rookeries, much of Kodiak is a kayaker's dream. Several guided trips are available, though renting a kayak may take a little effort. Cyclists will also find Kodiak's roads interesting, including the 12-mile Anton Larsen Bay Road starting at the Buskin River State Campground over the mountain pass to the west side of the island, where you will find quiet coves and shorelines to explore.

More than 100 miles of paved and gravel roads head from the city into the wilderness that surround Kodiak. Some of the roads are rough jeep tracks, manageable only by 4WD vehicles, but many can be driven to isolated stretches of beach, great fishing spots and superb coastal scenery.

Everyone who comes to Kodiak wants to see at least one massive Kodiak brown bear. Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge where most all of them reside is road less and access into the park is by charter plane or boat out of Kodiak or one of the villages located around the island. In Kodiak just about every air charter company offers a bear viewing flight. The length of a flight and the number of times you land vary from one tour to the next with some lasting 90 minutes to half-day excursions.

Kodiak's best event happens in late May. The weeklong Crab Festival features a parade, a blessing of the fleet, foot and kayak races, fishermen-skills contests like a survival-suit race and a lot of cooked king crab. Other yearly events include the State Fair & Rodeo held Labor Day weekend, a July 4th celebration and a variety of foot races held throughout the summer, including the Chad Ogden 43-mile Ultra-marathon.

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Population: 6,088

Location: The City of Kodiak is located near the northeastern tip of Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska, 252 air miles south of Anchorage.

Access: Scheduled jet, air taxi and charter service, Alaska Marine Highway Ferry System from Homer and Whittier

Accommodations: Four hotels/motels (200+ rooms), 22 bed and breakfasts; 15 restaurants (seating for 700). Food, all conveniences, most supplies, shops.

 

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