Douglas, Katmai National Park and Preserve

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Douglas, Katmai National Park and Preserve

by | May 2, 2021

The abandoned village of Douglas, also called Kaguyak but not to be confused with Kaguyak on Kodiak Island, is on the Shelikof Strait coast of the Alaska Peninsula, about 112 miles (181 km) southwest of Homer and 100 miles (161.km) east of King Salmon, Alaska. The historical elements of the site include the remains of a Russian Orthodox church and cemetery, as well as a number of frame house remnants and foundations. The site is a private inholding owned by the Russian Orthodox Church and is surrounded by Katmai National Park and Preserve.

This settlement was mapped as “Kayayak Village” in 1852 by Mikhail Tebenkof, a Russian hydrographer and vice-admiral of the Imperial Russian Navy, although there may have been an error of transliteration and placement on Tebenkov’s map since there was another village with the same name on the southeastern shore of Kodiak Island. Regardless, the name was retained and first published as “Kaguyak” in 1884 on charts by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. In 1890, the U.S. Census Bureau called it “Douglas”, after Cape Douglas located about 30 miles (48 km) to the northeast. The name given by Captain James Cook of the Royal Navy, on May 25, 1778, in honor of Sir John Douglas a Canon of Windsor. 

The villages of Katmai, Kukak, and Douglas had been established as trading posts by the Russian-American Company during the 19th century. About ten years before Novarupta volcano exploded, the two trading posts had closed, and only a year before, the entire sea otter hunt had been halted under the International Fur Seal Treaty. The economy that had sustained the villages for more than a century had suddenly collapsed. The eruption of Novarupta on June 6, 1912, was a well-documented disaster that destroyed the villages as well as a number of fish camps on the Alaska Peninsula and a commercial salmon saltery at Kaflia Bay. Today the village site at Douglas is occupied by a wilderness camp for bear viewing. Read more here and here. Explore more of Douglas here:

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