Chignik Lagoon, Alaska Peninsula

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Chignik Lagoon, Alaska Peninsula

by | Mar 5, 2021

Chignik Lagoon trends southwest for 8.5 miles (14 km) from the head of Chignik Bay to Chignik River on the Alaska Peninsula, about 45 miles (73 km) south of Port Heiden and 5 miles (8 km) west-northwest of the community of Chignik, Alaska. The lagoon was named after Chignik Bay in 1899 by Lieutenant Commander J.F. Moser, of the U.S. Navy, on the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries steamer Albatross.

Chignik Lagoon is a remote Alaska Native village, and one of three distinct villages in the Chignik area. The other two are Chignik Bay and Chignik Lake. The only access to all three villages is by water or air transportation. Chignik Lagoon took its name from the Aleut word for “big wind”, referring to the notorious winds of the Alaska Peninsula. The Chignik area was originally populated by the Kanaigmuit Aleuts, people who were sea-dependent, hunting sea otters, sea lions, porpoises, and whales. During the Russian fur boom from 1767 to 1783, the sea otter population was decimated, and diseases and warfare reduced the Native population to less than half its former size.

The commercial salmon industry introduced European immigrants into the area in the 19th century. The area now has residents who are 4th generation Scandinavian descendants as well as European-Russian Aleuts. The local economy is still largely based on commercial fishing for Pacific cod, halibut, and salmon. Read more here and here. Explore more of Chignik Lagoon here:

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