Kuliak Bay, Katmai National Park and Preserve

Kuliak Bay, Katmai National Park and Preserve

by | Feb 19, 2021

Kuliak Bay is about 4 miles (6.5 km) wide at the mouth and extends northwest for 5 miles (8 km) from Shelikof Strait in Katmai National Park and Preserve, about 92 miles (148 km) southeast of King Salmon and 74 miles (119 km) northwest of Kodiak, Alaska. The bay was named in 1919 by Robert F. Griggs of the National Geographic Society after Cape Kuliak, at the southern entrance to the bay. The head of Kuliak Bay is separated into two arms by a peninsula. The south arm is deep and the head of the north arm has a deep basin separated from the outer bay by a sandbar that extends from the northeast shore.

The present-day coast of Katmai is mostly uninhabited but this belies the rich cultural history of its past. In 1913, and again in 1917, the Halferty brothers located several mining claims on the slopes overlooking Kuliak Bay. In 1919, when a National Geographic Society expedition visited the bay, the Halfertys’ were working mining shafts probably related to a copper, gold, and silver prospect. National Geographic Expedition members photographed two buildings associated with the prospecting operations, a long three-room milled-wood building located near the shore, and a smaller milled-wood cabin up the mountain slope. Nothing is known about the mining operation after 1919. In 1941, the remains of the old camp were found abandoned.

The Katmai coast is over 497 miles (802 km) long and includes a diverse array of habitats such as salt marshes, sedges, mudflats, gravel beaches, sand beaches, and rocky shorelines. Brown bears are found in high densities along the Katmai coast where food resources are consistently abundant year-round. During early summer, bears forage on the coastal sedge flats, and when the salmon begin running up coastal streams, bears will concentrate near the river mouths. Bears are also known to dig for clams in the tidal flats. Kuliak Bay is now a popular destination for visitors to the park that arrive by boat and float plane. Read more here and here. Explore more of Kuliak Bay here:

About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2021 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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