Polly Creek, Cook Inlet

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Polly Creek, Cook Inlet

by | Apr 10, 2020

Polly Creek is a stream that flows southeast for 8.5 miles (13.7 km) to the west shore of Cook Inlet, about 56 miles (90 km) northwest of Homer and 46 miles (74 km) southwest of Kenai, Alaska. The name was used by local prospectors and first published in 1920 by the U.S. Geological Survey. Polly Creek is within Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.

The tide flats of Polly Creek have supported a razor clam fishery for centuries. Ancient house pits provide evidence that a Dena’ina village was once located here. Since the early 20th-century commercial operations provided clams to the Snug Harbor cannery on Chisik Island as well as canneries in Seldovia and Kenai.

Today, Polly Creek supports the only commercial razor clam fishery in Alaska. Clams are hand dug by seasonal workers that live in tents from mid-May to mid-August. They are paid by the pound for digging razor clams along a stretch of shoreline 6 miles (10 km) long between Polly Creek and Crescent River. The job is back-breaking work performed in a beautiful landscape. When the tides are very low, the clam diggers walk to the beaches or take a skiff or raft to harvest clams, returning to camp when their buckets are full. Individual workers can harvest about 200 to 250 pounds (91-113 kg) per day. Coolers are filled with whole clams and flown four to six times a day from the beach to the Pacific Alaska Shellfish plant in Nikiski. Read more here and here. Explore more of Polly Creek here:

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