Aniakchak Bay, Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve

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Aniakchak Bay, Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve

by | Jul 6, 2018

Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve includes the 6-mile (9.7 km) wide Mount Aniakchak Caldera, a collapsed volcano in the Aleutian Range, about 200 miles (323 km) southwest of Kodiak and 50 miles (81 km) northeast of Chignik, Alaska. The preserve also includes the shorelines of Amber Bay, Aniakchak Bay, and part of Kujulik Bay on the Pacific Ocean. This is the least visited unit in the National Park system due to the remoteness and notoriously bad weather.

Little is known of the prehistoric people who lived in the area before the eruption of the Aniakchak volcano (3700 BP). The area was likely inhabited at different times by Aleut and Alutiiq natives but little evidence remains, perhaps a result of recurring catastrophic volcanism. The coast was first mapped by Admiral von Krusenstern with the Imperial Russian Navy and appears on charts from 1826. The development of the salmon fishing industry in 1882 brought regular seasonal vessel traffic along the coast, as well as a cannery to nearby Chignik Lagoon. The industry was based on fish traps and several were built in Aniakchak Bay from 1917 to 1937, and some traps operated until 1949. The Columbia River Packers Association built a bunkhouse at the north end of Aniakchak Bay in the 1920s to house workers who maintained the traps. Razor clams were also found in Aniakchak Lagoon and Axel Olsen operated a cannery at the southwestern end of the bay in the summer of 1932, processing 12,948 pounds of clams.

The Aniakchak National Monument was first proclaimed in 1978, and in 1980 the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act established the unit as a national monument surrounded by a larger national preserve that extended to the coast. Read more here and here. Explore more of Aniakchak Bay and Aniakchak National Preserve here:

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