Dakavak Bay, Katmai National Park and Preserve

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Dakavak Bay, Katmai National Park and Preserve

by | Apr 27, 2019

Dakavak Bay is an embayment on the east coast of the Alaska Peninsula that extends north off Shelikof Strait for 3.5 miles (5.6 km), in Katmai National Park and Preserve, about 16 miles (26 km) southeast of Mount Katmai, Alaska. The name was first published as “Tagalack Bay” by Admiral von Krusenstern of the Imperial Russian Navy. It was reported in 1904 as “Dakavak Bay” by G.C. Martin, of the U.S. Geological Survey who obtained the name from Nikolai Kalmakof, who was the chief at Katmai Village.

Alaska Peninsula lakes on Shelikof Strait are mostly of glacial origin and are relatively deep for their size. The largest lake is Dakavak Lake that drains to the head of Dakavak Bay through an outlet stream 2 miles (3.2 km) long. Its watershed is heavily covered with pumice and ash from the volcanic activity of Novarupta in 1912, and pumice sand can be many meters deep over much of the terrain. The pumice floats and accumulates as beach sand in Dakavak Bay forming white bands high on the shore.

Archaeological investigations along the Shelikof Strait coast of the Alaska Peninsula indicate that human occupation began as early as 6,000 years ago. Habitation sites including house pits have been found in Dakavak Bay. When the Russians arrived on the Alaska Peninsula coast in the 18th century, there were two groups of people living in the region, the Savonoski people living east of Naknek Lake, and the Alutiiq living along the Shelikof coast. It is believed that coastal village locations were selected based on an adequate wood supply used for building houses and boats, as well as for heat. The Natives built barabaras, which were houses partially in the ground, supported by wooden posts and had log cribbed roofs. The structures were then covered with mud and sod. All the Shelikof Strait coastal villages on the Alaska Peninsula were abandoned during or following the 1912 volcanic eruption. Read more here and here. Explore more of Dakavak Bay here:

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