Clarks Point, Nushagak Bay

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Clarks Point, Nushagak Bay

by | Aug 29, 2020

Clarks Point is a small community named after a spit located on the eastern shore of Nushagak Bay, about 57 miles (92 km) west-northwest of Naknek and 14 miles (23 km) south-southwest of Dillingham, Alaska. The point was named for John Clark, who was the manager of the Alaska Commercial Company store at Nushagak. He operated a salmon saltery on the spit until 1888 when the Nushagak Packing Company built a cannery here. A post office was established at Clarks Point in 1935.

The point originally had a Yup’ik name, “Saguyak”, or “Stugarok”, for a seasonal fish camp on the spit. In 1893, the Nushagak Packing Company cannery became a member of the Alaska Packers Association. In 1901, the cannery was expanded with a second line. During World War II, the canning operation ceased, and only salting was done. The plant was shut down in 1952, and the Alaska Packers Association used the facility as the headquarters for its fishing fleet. In 1929, a major flood occurred, and the village has been plagued by severe erosion ever since. In 1982, a housing project was constructed on the bluff just south of the spit for permanent residents. Trident Seafoods was the most recent operator of the cannery.

The economic base in Clarks Point is primarily commercial fishing. Most permanent residents depend on subsistence to some extent and travel over a great area if necessary for salmon, smelt, moose, bear, rabbit, ptarmigan, duck, and geese. Exchange relationships exist between nearby communities, for example, whitefish from Ekwok, New Stuyahok, and Bethel are traded for smelt, and lingcod from Manokotak are traded for moose. Air transport is the primary method of reaching Clarks Point, however, freight is brought by barge to Dillingham and then flown or lightered to the community. Read more here and here. Explore more of Clarks Point here:

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