With its forested landscape and protected coastal waters, Afognak Island is abundant in wildlife such as bears and elk and is a popular destination for fishing, wildlife viewing, or quiet retreats.
ABOUT AFOGNAK ISLAND (SUGPIAQ: AQW'ANEQ)
For the most part, Afognak Island is pure Alaska wilderness — home to Kodiak brown bear, Sitka black-tailed deer, and Roosevelt elk. Orcas, gray whales, humpbacks, fin whales, and minke whales populate the surrounding ocean waters. Offshore, sea lions, seals, and sea otters are common sights while river otter, beaver, fox, marten, and ermine make their home in the coastal habitats.
Land ownership on Afognak Island, the second largest island in the Kodiak Island Archipelago, is divided mainly between the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska State Parks, and various Alaska Native corporations. Afognak Island State Park is located on the northeast side of the island and totals more than 75,000 acres.
THINGS TO DO
Seasonal residents arrive during the summer for subsistence fishing and hunting or for logging. But for visitors, the main attraction is fishing, with the numerous streams and lakes swimming with red, pink, and silver salmon along with rainbow, steelhead, and Dolly Varden. Offshore saltwater fishing is also very good for halibut, lingcod, sea bass, flounder, greenling, and red snapper.
Visitors can also enjoy hiking, wildlife viewing, kayaking, beachcombing, and birding. For a wilderness escape, rent one of five public-use cabins in either Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge or Afognak Island State Park, which can be reached by float plane. There are also lodges that offer all-inclusive overnight experiences with customizable activities including fishing, wildlife viewing, and more.
Afognak Island features excellent salmon spawning habitat and therefore has a healthy population of Kodiak brown bears. Some of the best bear viewing is the Pauls and Laura Lakes system. Red salmon enter Pauls Lake in mid-June and silvers enter during August. Bears may be encountered at either lake throughout the summer.
Originally a traditional Sugpiaq village made up of a series of settlements along the beach, the community of Afognak was nearly destroyed by the Good Friday earthquake of 1964. A new community known as Port Lions was constructed on the northeast coast of Kodiak Island, and the residents of Afognak relocated permanently.
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