The city of Kodiak on the eastern coast of Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska is only a 60 minute jet flight from Anchorage. This community is Alaska’s  sixth largest and is situated on the second largest island under the American flag. Over 15,575 residents live on the island of Kodiak, including the outer  villages and the U.S. Coast Guard Base.

Kodiak Island is perhaps best known for its giant brown bears, the largest land carnivores on earth. They can weigh over 1200 pounds and, when standing  erect, can measure over 11 feet tall. It is estimated that nearly 3,000 of  these magnificent animals live on the remote reaches of the island.

Cool summer ocean breezes and mild winter winds give Kodiak a moderate climate.  However, because of its proximity to the ever changing influence of the cold Arctic waters and the effects of the warm Japanese current, the weather is  often rainy, foggy, and certainly ever changing.

When the sun shines on Kodiak, and it does quite often, you’ll be treated  to some of the most spectacular coastal and mountain scenery you’ll find anywhere.  Summer temperatures range between 40 and 70 degrees. In winter, the temperatures  are a bearable 30 degrees average. Most of Kodiak’s precipitation is in the  form of rain, about 60 inches annually. It’s this moist, yet sunny environment which gives Kodiak its lushness of grasses and brilliant varieties of wildflowers.  It also provides Kodiak with clear-running streams which attract the multitudes of spawning salmon each season.

The Kodiak Island archipelago comprises some 200 islands. The largest island in the chain is Kodiak and is followed by Afognak, Sitkalidak, Raspberry and  Shuyak Island. A wilderness state park offering cabins and kayaking opportunities has been established on Afognak Island.

Besides Kodiak, the other communities of Kodiak Island are Old Harbor, Akhiok, Karluk, Larsen Bay, Port Lions, Ouzinkie, and Chiniak.

Emergencies only 911; Kodiak police 486-8000; State Troopers 486-4121; Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center 907-486-3281, 1915 Rezanof Drive.

Kodiak has been inhabited for nearly 8,000 years by Natives of the Aluttiq (descendants of Pacific Eskimo). The archeological discoveries that are being  made throughout the island are constantly rewriting the history books on these  remarkable people.

The city of Kodiak is Alaska’s oldest European settlement. Russians first  landed here as early as 1763. Fur traders and hunters, seeking the pelt of  the sea otter, established the first Russian colony in North America at Three Saints Bay on the south side of the island in 1784. The colony was moved to  the present site of Kodiak in 1792, where it remained the capital of Russian-America  until the headquarters were transferred to Sitka in 1804.

The island itself was first dubbed “Kodiak” in 1778, not by a Russian, but by Captain James Cook of the British Royal Navy.

A major disaster recorded in Kodiak annals was the eruption of Novarupta in 1912. Many first accounts credited nearby Mt. Katmai with the volcanic explosion which turned Kodiak skies black and blanketed the town under nearly  two feet of drifting pumice and volcanic ash. Homes were destroyed, wildlife  killed and bottom fish, a staple food of the natives, disappeared.

In 1964, on Good Friday, a violent earthquake rocked a major portion of Alaska.  Giant tsunamis, or tidal waves, following the quake destroyed the fishing  fleet and canneries of Kodiak. The downtown area was levelled and the harbor facilities were washed away by the tidal wave.

Today, Kodiak’s completely rebuilt business district epitomizes modern-day Alaska, while the every day life and atmosphere retains much of the old village  charm.

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