Kamishak River, Akumwarvik Bay

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Kamishak River, Akumwarvik Bay

by | Jan 4, 2021

Kamishak River starts in a lake in the Aleutian Range and flows northeast for 38 miles (61 km) through Katmai National Park and Preserve to Akumwarvik Bay, about 104 miles (168 km) southwest of Homer and 93 miles (150 km) east-northeast of King Salmon, Alaska. The Aleut name was published by Lieutenant Sarychev of the Imperial Russian Navy as “Reka Kamyshak”, or “Kamyshak River”. The Kamishak River is joined by the South Fork Kamishak River and the Little Kamishak River. Akumwarvik Bay is an embayment that extends south-southwest for 5 miles (8 km) off Kamishak Bay on the north coast of the Alaska Peninsula. The Aleut name was reported in 1923 by K.F. Mather of the U.S. Geological Survey.

In 1920, the U.S. Congress opened Alaska public lands to oil prospecting and development interests responded by filing oil leases in any areas in which the U.S. Geological Survey had shown petroleum potential. Oil seeps had been discovered on the shoreline of Kamishak Bay and as a result, leases were scattered along the bay’s southwestern shore and up to 10 miles (16 km) upstream on the Kamishak River. However, no drilling ever took place on the margins of Kamishak Bay, and the oil leases were eventually canceled.

The mouth of the Kamishak River was once the site of a trapper’s cabin. In 1929, the brothers Walter and Ole Wassenkari ran trap lines in the winter and Ole Wassenkari lived in a cabin at the mouth of the Kamishak River. The exact location of the cabin is not known and no evidence has ever been found. The cabin may have been built during the oil-lease activity in the early 1920s and was then used opportunistically by the trappers. Read more here and here. Explore more of Kamishak River here:

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