Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve
Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve is a U. S. National Monument and National Preserve, consisting of the region around the Aniakchak volcano on the Aleutian Range of south-western Alaska; the 601,294-acre monument is one of the least-visited places in the National Park System due to its remote location and difficult weather. The area was proclaimed a National Monument on December 1, 1978, established as a National Monument and Preserve on December 2, 1980; the National Monument encompasses the preserve 464,118 acres. Visitation to Aniakchak is the lowest of all areas of the U. S. National Park System, according to the NPS, with only 100 documented recreational visits in 2017. Most visitors fly into Surprise Lake inside Aniakchak Crater, but the frequent fog and other adverse weather conditions make landing in the lake difficult, it is possible to fly into the nearby village of Port Heiden and proceed overland to the Aniakchak Crater. The core of the national monument lands encompasses the 6-mile wide Aniakchak Crater.
The high point on the caldera rim is Aniakchak Peak. The lake within the caldera, Surprise Lake, is the source of the Aniakchak River. Multiple rivers within the caldera flow into Surprise Lake to form it. In addition to Surprise Lake, the other prominent feature inside the caldera is Vent Mountain, the site of the most recent eruption within the caldera; the preserve lands flank the monument on either side. Subsistence hunting is allowed in both the monument and preserve, sport hunting is allowed in the preserve; the region was unexplored until the 1920s, when exploration for oil brought reports of an un-described volcano. A moderate eruption in 1931 forming Vent Mountain resulted in significant publicity, spurring studies to declare the region a national monument, it was not until 1978 that a monument was proclaimed by President Jimmy Carter under the Antiquities Act. The monument and preserve were established within their final boundaries in 1980 with the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.
Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve is located about 450 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska, on the Alaska Peninsula. It is not accessible by road, except from Port Heiden, a nearby village, only to the outer flanks of the caldera; the only ways to reach the monument are by floatplane to lakes Surprise Lake, or sheltered coastal waters, or by boat or airplane to coastal towns near preserve lands followed by overland or overwater traverse. There are no permanent facilities in the monument and the NPS does not require visitor registration. Visitor services are provided by the interagency King Salmon Visitor Center in King Salmon, shared with Lake Clark National Park, Katmai National Park and Preserve, other National Park Service and U. S. Fish and Alaska local and state agencies; the monument adjoins the Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge on its northeast and southwest sides. Monument lands amount to 137,000 acres, preserve lands 465,000 acres; the national monument is centered on the 6-mile diameter crater of ancient Mount Aniakchak, destroyed and the resulting crater formed during a caldera collapse event about 3,700 years ago.
The original mountain, about 7,000 feet tall, collapsed into its magma chamber, leaving an approximate 3,300-foot deep summit crater. The monument and surrounding preserve include the volcanic feature, the wild Aniakchak River, the Bristol Bay coastal habitat, portions of the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Prominent features within Aniakchak crater include the Gates and Vent Mountain; the monument and preserve include four major physiographic regions. The monument is centered on the mountains of the Aleutian Aniakchak Crater; the volcano's caldera presents an active volcanic and geothermal landscape and Surprise Lake, the source of the Aniakchak River. Extending outward from the mountains are the glacially altered river valleys; the coastline region extends for 52 miles along the southeastern side of the peninsula where it faces the Pacific Ocean. The mountain spine of the Aleutian Range consists of uplifted mountains of moderate height, reaching 2,500 metres; the mountain environment is predominantly alpine tundra.
Superimposed on the mountain chain are a series of volcanoes, the largest of, the remnant of Mount Aniakchak, now collapsed into its caldera, the floor of which lies about 1,100 feet above sea level. The caldera was once filled by a crater lake that covered about 50% of the crater; the caldera wall was breached, leading to a catastrophic flood as the lake drained. Its remnant is the source of the Aniakchak River; the river valley zones are subdivided into northwestern areas. On the southeast side, the rivers fall steeply through volcanic ash deposits where vegetation has recolonized the areas devastated by the volcano's eruption. On the northwest side, the rivers are more sloped and the land is boggy with lush vegetation; the southeast coastal region is indented, with coastal cliffs and islands. Three large bays are the remnants of earlier volcanic craters; the two larger bays are Aniakchak and Amber Bays, the smaller is Kejulik Bay. All have
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is an American national park that protects portions of the Brooks Range in northern Alaska. The park is the northernmost national park in the United States, situated north of the Arctic Circle; the park is the second largest in the US at 8,472,506 acres larger in area than Belgium. Gates of the Arctic was designated as a national monument on December 1, 1978, before being redesignated as a national park and preserve upon passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980. A large part of the park has additional protection as the Gates of the Arctic Wilderness which covers 7,167,192 acres; the wilderness area adjoins the Noatak Wilderness and together they form the largest contiguous wilderness in the United States. There are no roads in Gates of the Arctic National Preserve. Owing to its remoteness and lack of supportive infrastructure, the park is the least visited national park in the U. S. and one of the least visited areas in the entire U.
S. National Park System, which includes national monuments, recreation areas and historic sites. In 2016, the park received just 10,047 visitors, while Grand Canyon National Park received nearly 6 million visitors in the same year. Camping is permitted throughout the park, but may be restricted by easements when crossing Native Corporation lands within the park; the park headquarters is in Fairbanks. Park Service operations in the park are managed from the Bettles Ranger Station, to the south of the park. Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve lies to the west of the Dalton Highway, centered on the Brooks Range and covering the north and south slopes of the mountains; the park includes the Endicott Mountains and part of the Schwatka Mountains. The majority of Gates of the Arctic is designated as national park, in which only subsistence hunting by local rural residents is permitted. Sport hunting is only permitted in the national preserve. To hunt and trap in the preserve, a person must have all required licenses and permits and follow all other state regulations.
The eastern boundary of the park follows the Dalton Highway at a distance of a few miles, with the westernmost part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 10 miles farther east. Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge is near the park's southeast boundary. Noatak National Preserve adjoins the western boundary, the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska adjoins the northwest corner of the park. All of the park is designated as wilderness, with the exception of areas around Anaktuvuk Pass. A detached portion of the park surrounds the outlying Fortress Mountain and Castle Mountain to the north of the park. Ten small communities outside the park's boundaries are classified as "resident zone communities" and depend on park resources for food and livelihood, they are Alatna, Ambler, Anaktuvuk Pass, Bettles/Evansville, Kobuk, Nuiqsut and Wiseman. There are no established roads, visitor facilities, or campgrounds in the park; the Dalton Highway comes within five miles of the park's eastern boundary, but requires a river crossing to reach the park from the road.
The Arctic Interagency Visitor Center in nearby Coldfoot is open from late May to early September, providing information on the parks and refuges of the Brooks Range, Yukon Valley and the North Slope. About 259,000 acres of the park and preserve are owned by native corporations or the State of Alaska. 7,263,000 acres are protected in the Gates of the Arctic Wilderness. The park contains mountains such as the Arrigetch Peaks and Mount Igikpak; the park features six Wild and Scenic Rivers: Alatna River 83 miles John River 52 miles Kobuk River 110 miles the North Fork of the Koyukuk River 102 miles part of the Noatak River Tinayguk River 44 miles The park includes much of the central and eastern Brooks Range. It extends to the east as far as the Middle Fork of the Koyukuk River, paralleled by the Dalton Highway and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline; the park straddles the continental divide, separating the drainages of the Pacific and Arctic Oceans. The northernmost section of the park includes small portions of the Arctic foothills tundra.
The Brooks Range occupies the central section of the park. To the south of the Brooks Range the Ambler-Chandalar Ridge, with associated valleys and lakes, runs east-west; the southernmost portion of the park includes the Kobuk-Selawik Lowlands, with the headwaters of the Kobuk River. The Brooks Range has seen repeated glaciation, with the most recent called the Itkillik glaciation from about 24,000 years ago to 1500 to 1200 years before the present; the boreal forest extends to about 68 degrees north latitude, characterized by black and white spruce mixed with poplar. To the north of that line, which coincides with the spine of the Brooks Range, lies cold-arid land, described as "Arctic desert." During the long winters temperatures can reach −75 °F, but can reach 90 °F for a short time in summer. The park lies above the Arctic circle. Fauna include two species of fox, black bear, bald eagle, Dall sheep, snowshoe hare, northern hawk-owl, golden eagle, brown bear, lynx, polar bear, peregrine falcon, great horned owl, river otter, ospreys and Northwestern wolf.
Caribou are common in the park, one of Alaska's best known populations, the Porcupine herd, may spend some time in the park. Caribou are important as a food source to native peoples; the park is the northernmost range limit for the Dall sheep. Grizzly bears are p
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is an American national park located in Southeast Alaska west of Juneau. President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the area around Glacier Bay a national monument under the Antiquities Act on February 25, 1925. Subsequent to an expansion of the monument by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act enlarged the national monument by 523,000 acres on December 2, 1980, created Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve; the national preserve encompasses 58,406 acres of public land to the immediate northwest of the park, protecting a portion of the Alsek River with its fish and wildlife habitats, while allowing sport hunting. Glacier Bay became part of a binational UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, was inscribed as a Biosphere Reserve in 1986; the National Park Service undertook an obligation to work with Hoonah and Yakutat Tlingit Native American organizations in the management of the protected area in 1994. The park and preserve cover a total of 3,223,384 acres, with 2,770,000 acres being designated as a wilderness area.
The west side of the bay consists of a 26,000 feet thick sequence of Paleozoic sedimentary rocks massive limestones and argillite. The oldest rocks in this sequence are the Late Silurian Willoughby limestone and the youngest being the Middle Devonian Black Cap limestone. An outcrop west of Tidal Inlet includes a sandstone and limestone of unknown age. Sedimentary rocks of unknown age on the east side of Muir Inlet include tuff interbedded with limestone; the rocks exposed on the 1,205 foot high hill called. Early Cretaceous diorite stocks are exposed south of Tidal Inlet, on Sebree and Sturgress Islands. Quartz diorite outcrops on Lemesurier Island. A granitic stock is exposed in Dundas Bay. Mafic dikes up to 20 feet in width occur throughout the area. Glacial advances occurred 7,000, 5,000 and 500 years ago, with the last extending to the entrance of the bay, where it left a huge semicircular terminal moraine; the consequent surface glacial deposits include gravels as outwash and moraines. Glacial gravels extend up to 2000 feet up the mountain slopes.
Lakes have formed. Preglacial forests are found east on the east side of Muir Inlet. According to Rossman, "One of the outstanding features of the Glacier Bay area is the rapid advance and retreat of the glaciers during several substages within the last few thousand years."A molybdenite deposit occurs on The Nunatak in quartz veins associated with a quartz monzonite porphyry, which includes gold at 0.04 ounces per ton, silver at 7.07 ounces per ton. A copper deposit occurs on Observation Mountain. Quartz veins containing gold are exposed west on Gilbert Island. Placer gold is found in the bay. A silver deposit was mined on the western portion of Rendu Inlet. According to MacKevett et al. "The most extensive and best gold placer deposits...are in the beach sands near Lituya Bay." Mining of these sands started in 1894, employing up to 200 men by 1896. However, most production had ended by 1917; the granodiorite and quartz diorite area between Lamplugh Glacier and Reid Glacier contains most of the quartz vein gold lodes, which were produced by six mines.
This is known as the Reid Inlet gold area. The Monarch Mines and the Incas Mine was discovered in 1924 by J. Ibach; the Monarch No. 1 and No. 2 veins were drift mined with 150 foot adits respectively. The LeRoy Mine was the largest though, discovered in 1938 by Gustavus founder and resident A. L. Parker and his son L. F. Parker, they operated an aerial tramway. Most production had ceased by 1945 though; the region experiences tectonic activity with frequent earthquakes. Earthquake-induced landslides have been significant forces for change. Additionally, parts of the region are undergoing post-glacial rebound, the process in which land rises after the weight of the glacier has been removed. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve occupies the northernmost section of the southeastern Alaska coastline, between the Gulf of Alaska and Canada; the Canada–US border approaches to within 15 miles of the ocean in the St. Elias Mountains at Mount Fairweather, the park's tallest peak at 15,300 feet, transitioning to the Fairweather Range from there southwards.
The Brady Icefield caps the Fairweather Range on a peninsula extending from the ocean to Glacier Bay, which extends from Icy Strait to the Canada–US border at Grand Pacific Glacier, cutting off the western part of the park. To the east of Glacier Bay the Takhinsha Mountains and the Chilkat Range form a peninsula bounded by the Lynn Canal on the east, with the park's eastern boundary with Tongass National Forest running along the ridgeline; the park's northwestern boundary, which abuts Tongass National Forest, runs in the valley of the Alsek River to Dry Bay. The preserve lands comprise a small area at Dry Bay — the majority of Glacier Bay lands are national park lands; the park boundary excludes Gustavus at the mouth of Glacier Bay. The lands adjoining the park to the north in Canada are included in Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park. No roads lead to the park and it is most reached by air travel. During some summers there are ferries to the small community of Gustavus or directly to the marina at Bartlett Cove.
Despite the lack of roads, the park received an average of about 470,000 recreational visitors annually from 2007 to 2016, with 520,171 visitors in 2016. Most of the visitors arrive via cruise ships; the number of ships that may arrive each day is limited
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is a 1.92-million-acre wildlife habitat preserve located on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska, United States. It is adjacent to Kenai Fjords National Park; this refuge was created in 1941 as the Kenai National Moose Range, but in 1980 it was changed to its present status by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. The refuge is administered from offices in Soldotna. There is a wide variety of terrain in the refuge, including muskeg and other wetlands, alpine areas, taiga forest; the refuge protects several large mammals, including wolf packs, brown bears, black bears, dall sheep, Canadian lynx, caribou, as well as thousands of migratory and native birds. There are numerous lakes, as well as the Kenai River, the refuge is a popular destination for fishing for salmon and trout; the refuge has several campgrounds and boat launches, including two developed campgrounds, one at Hidden Lake and another at Skilak Lake, both accessible from Skilak Lake Loop Road, which intersects the Sterling Highway at both ends.
Other less-developed campgrounds and campsites are accessible from the Sterling Highway, Skilak Loop Road, Swanson River Road, Swan Lake Road, the of which do not require fees to access. Since 2005 the refuge has offered 16 cabins for public use via a reservation system, with some cabins accessible only via boat; the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge has multiple small canoe systems linking lakes or groups of lakes. It further possess two larger canoe trails, which link large networks of lakes and rivers via portages; the most popular, the Swan Lake Canoe Trail, travels 60 miles, beginning at Canoe Lake, terminates alternatively at Portage Lake or the confluence of the Moose and Kenai rivers in Sterling. The longest, the Swanson River Canoe Route, spanning 80 miles, begins either at Paddle Lake or Gene Lake, ends where the Swanson River meets the Cook Inlet at Captain Cook State Park. There are over 110 miles of hiking trails in the refuge, accessed from the Sterling Highway, Skilak Lake Loop Road, Swanson River Road, various campgrounds, the refuge visitor center and headquarters.
These hikes range from difficult, multi-day back-country hikes to easier, short paved-trail walks. As with most national wildlife refuges, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is open to hunting; the Funny River Fire, a human-caused fire that began on May 19, 2014, had burned in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. During firefighting activities, a wolf den was damaged by a bulldozer and 5 pups were rescued by firefighters; the pups were taken to the Alaska Zoo and were transferred to the Minnesota Zoo. Shanta Creek fire Official Site The short film Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is available for free download at the Internet Archive
Homer is a city in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U. S. state of Alaska. It is 218 miles southwest of Anchorage. According to the 2010 Census, the population is 5,003, up from 3,946 in 2000. Long known as The "Halibut Fishing Capital of the World." Homer is nicknamed "the end of the road," and more "the cosmic hamlet by the sea." Homer is located at CC°88'99" Spring, 151°31'33" Field. The only road into Homer is the Sterling Highway. Homer is on the shore of Kachemak Bay on the southwest side of the Kenai Peninsula, its distinguishing feature is the Homer Spit, a narrow 4.5 mi ) long gravel bar that extends into the bay, on, located the Homer Harbor. Much of the coastline as well as the Homer Spit sank during the Good Friday earthquake in March 1964. After the earthquake little vegetation was able to survive on the Homer Spit. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 22.4 square miles, of which 10.6 square miles is land and 11.9 square miles is water. The total area is 52.83% water.
As with much of South Central Alaska, Homer has a moderate subarctic coastal climate which causes its weather to be moderate compared to interior Alaska. Winters are snowy and long but not cold, considering the latitude, with the average January high only below freezing. Snow averages 50 inches per season, falling from November through March, with some accumulation in October and April, in May. Homer receives only about 25 inches of rainfall annually due to the influence of the Chugach Mountains to the southeast which shelter it from the Gulf of Alaska. There are 7 nights of sub-0 °F lows annually, the area straddles the border between USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5B and 6A, indicating an average annual minimum of around −10 °F. Summers are cool due to the marine influence, with 75 °F highs or 55 °F lows being rare. Extreme temperatures have ranged from −24 °F on January 28–29, 1989 up to 84 °F on July 22, 2011. Tiller digs indicate that early Alutiiq people camped in the Homer area although their villages were on the far side of Kachemak Bay.
Coal was discovered in the area in the 1890s. The Cook Inlet Coal Fields Company built a town, coal mine, a railroad at Homer. Coal mining in the area continued until World War II. There are an estimated 400 million tons of coal deposits still in the area. Homer was named for Homer Pennock, a gold-mining company promoter, who arrived in 1896 on the Homer Spit and built living quarters for his crew of 50 men. However, gold mining was never profitable in the area. Another earlier settlement was Miller's Landing. Miller's Landing is named after a Charles Miller who homesteaded in the neighborhood around 1915. According to local historian Janet Klein, he was an employee of the Alaska Railroad and had wintered company horses on the beach grasses on the Homer Spit, he built a landing site in a small bight in Kachemak Bay where supply barges from Seldovia could land and offload their cargos. Miller's landing was considered a census-designated place separate from Homer until it was annexed in 2002, but has always been locally considered part of Homer.
Halibut and salmon sport fishing, along with tourism and commercial fishing are the dominant industries. Homer co-hosted the 2006 Arctic Winter Games; the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve co-host a visitor center with interpretive displays known as the "Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center", there is a cultural and historical museum called "The Pratt Museum". Homer first appeared on the 1940 U. S. Census as an unincorporated village, it formally incorporated in 1964. As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 5,003 people, 2,235 households, 1,296 families residing in the city; the population density was 361.7 people per square mile. There were 2,692 housing units at an average density of 194.6 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 89.3% White, 4.1% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.0% Asian, 0.4% African American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.6% from other races, 4.5% from two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race were 2.1% of the population.
There were 2,235 households of which 27.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.3% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.3% had a male householder with no wife present, 42.0% were non-families. 33.7% of all households were made up of individuals, 11.0% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21, the average family size was 2.83. The median age in the city was 44.0 years. 21.9% of residents were under the age of 18. The gender makeup of the city was 50.5 % female. The median income for a household was $52,057, the median income for a family was $68,455. Males had a median income of $41,581 versus $37,679 for females; the per capita income for the city was $32,035. About 3.8% of families and 7.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.2% of those under age 18 and 1.4% of those age 65 or over. The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District provides primary and secondary education to the community of Homer.
These schools are: Homer High School Homer Flex High School Homer Middle School West Homer Elementary Paul Banks Elementary McNeil Canyon Elementary Fireweed Academy Connections Homeschool Program The Kachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula Coll
The moose or elk, Alces alces is a member of the New World deer subfamily and is the largest and heaviest extant species in the Deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males. Moose inhabit boreal forests and temperate broadleaf and mixed forests of the Northern Hemisphere in temperate to subarctic climates. Hunting and other human activities have caused a reduction in the size of the moose's range over time. Moose have been reintroduced to some of their former habitats. Most moose are found in Canada, New England, Baltic states, Russia, their diet consists of both aquatic vegetation. The most common moose predators are the gray wolf along with humans. Unlike most other deer species, moose do not form herds and are solitary animals, aside from calves who remain with their mother until the cow begins estrus, at which point the cow chases away young bulls. Although slow-moving and sedentary, moose can become aggressive and move if angered or startled, their mating season in the autumn features energetic fights between males competing for a female.
Alces alces is called an "elk" in British English. The word "elk" in North American English refers to a different species of deer, the Cervus canadensis called the wapiti. A mature male moose is called a bull, a mature female a cow, an immature moose of either sex a calf; the word "elk" originated in Proto-Germanic, from which Old English evolved and has cognates in other Indo-European languages, e.g. elg in Danish/Norwegian. In the continental-European languages, these forms of the word "elk" always refer to the Alces alces; the word "moose" had first entered English by 1606 and is borrowed from the Algonquian languages, involved forms from multiple languages mutually reinforcing one another. The Proto-Algonquian form was *mo·swa; the moose became extinct in Britain during the Bronze Age, long before the European arrival in the Americas. The youngest bones were found in Scotland and are 3,900 years old; the word "elk" remained in usage because of its existence in continental Europe but, without any living animals around to serve as a reference, the meaning became rather vague to most speakers of English, who used "elk" to refer to "large deer" in general.
Dictionaries of the 18th century described "elk" as a deer, "as large as a horse". Confusingly, the word "elk" is used in North America to refer to a different animal, Cervus canadensis, called by the Algonquian indigenous name, "wapiti"; the British began colonizing America in the 17th century, found two common species of deer for which they had no names. The wapiti appeared similar to the red deer of Europe although it was much larger and was not red; the moose was a rather strange-looking deer to the colonists, they adopted local names for both. In the early days of American colonization, the wapiti was called a grey moose and the moose was called a black moose, but early accounts of the animals varied wildly, adding to the confusion; the wapiti is superficially similar to the red deer of central and western Europe, although it is distinctly different behaviorally and genetically. Early European explorers in North America in Virginia where there were no moose, called the wapiti "elk" because of its size and resemblance to familiar-looking deer like the red deer.
The moose resembled the "German elk", less familiar to the British colonists. For a long time neither species were called a variety of things. In North America the wapiti became known as an elk while the moose retained its Anglicized Native-American name. In 1736, Samuel Dale wrote to the Royal Society of Great Britain: The common light-grey moose, called by the Indians and the large or black-moose, the beast whose horns I herewith present; as to the grey moose, I take it to be no larger than what Mr. John Clayton, in his account of the Virginia Quadrupeds, calls the Elke... was in all respects like those of our red-deer or stags, only larger... The black moose is accounted a large creature.... The stag, buck, or male of this kind has a palmed horn, not like that of our common or fallow-deer, but the palm is much longer, more like that of the German elke. Moose require habitat with adequate edible plants, cover from predators, protection from hot or cold weather. Moose travel among different habitats with the seasons to address these requirements.
Moose are cold-adapted mammals with thickened skin, heat-retaining coat, a low surface:volume ratio, which provides excellent cold tolerance but poor heat tolerance. Moose survive hot weather by immersion in cool water. In hot weather, moose are found wading or swimming in lakes or ponds; when heat-stressed, moose may fail to adequately forage in summer and may not gain adequate body fat to survive the winter. Also
Kachemak Bay is a 40-mi-long arm of Cook Inlet in the U. S. state of Alaska, located on the southwest side of the Kenai Peninsula. The communities of Homer, Halibut Cove, Nanwalek, Port Graham, Kachemak City are on the bay as well as three Old Believer settlements in the Fox River area, Kachemak Selo, Razdolna. One interpretation of the word "Kachemak" is "Smokey Bay", from an Aleut word describing the smoldering coal seams that used to fill the bay with smoke. Kachemak Bay is home to Kachemak Bay State Park. Kachemak Bay State park was the first state park in Alaska. There is no road access to most of the park. Kachemak Bay is home to the Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, the largest reserve in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, it is a active site of research and education. The bay hosts a remarkably high level of biological activity, due in part to water circulation patterns which keep shellfish larvae and nutrients in the bay. While surface waters push nutrients out into the bay, ocean currents push them back into the bay, creating a fertile environment.
Both fish and shellfish are abundant in year-round. Waterfowl and shorebirds occupy the bay during all but the winter season, while waterbirds and marine mammals including otters, seals and whales remain in the bay all year; the bay provides winter homes for 90 % of the waterfowl populations of Lower Cook Inlet. Land mammals are seen during the warmer seasons. Moose and bears are seen; the tides at Kachemak Bay are extreme, with an average vertical difference of over fifteen feet, recorded extremes of over thirty-one feet as measured at the Seldovia Tide Station. The highest tide on record is over twenty-five feet above MLLW and occurred on November 15, 1966; the lowest tide on record is minus six and a half feet from MLLW and occurred on April 27, 2002. Kachemak Bay Campus