Seldovia River, Kenai Mountains

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Seldovia River, Kenai Mountains

by | Jun 17, 2019

The Seldovia River flows north from the Kenai Mountains to Seldovia Lake, and then northwest for about 5 miles (8 km) to Seldovia Bay, about 14 miles (23 km) south-southeast of the community of Seldovia, Alaska. The river name is from Seldovia Bay, which is from the Russian “Zaliv Seldevoy” meaning “herring bay”, named by Captain Archimandritov of the Imperial Russian Navy. He was sent by Mikhail Dmitrievich Teben’kov, the chief manager of the Russian Colonies in North America, to explore Cook’s Inlet in 1840. The Kenaitze Indian name for the bay was “Chesloknu” according to the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1883.

The Native residents in Seldovia Bay are mixed Dena’ina Athabascan and Alutiiq (Sugpiaq) Eskimo. In 1787 or 1788 a Russian fur trade post named Aleksandrovskaia was established in Seldovia Bay by hunting parties under Evstratii Ivanovich Delarov, of the Shelikhov-Golikov company, the precursor of the Russian American Company. The Russian Orthodox Saint Nicholas Church was started in 1820 and may have been built on top of an older aboriginal Inuit village site. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Seldovia was an important stop for deepwater ships sailing from Seattle. Passengers would often transfer to smaller shoal draft vessels and before continuing north in Cook Inlet.

The Seldovia River has all five species of Pacific salmon with a large return of pink salmon, followed by coho and chum salmon. These runs don’t show up until around the fourth of July, with silvers being the latest. There are also very small returns of Chinook and sockeye salmon. Read more here and here. Explore more of Seldovia River here:

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