17 Fun Facts About Kodiak, Alaska

by Janis on August 30, 2014

Kodiak, Alaska.

An aerial view of the city of Kodiak, Alaska.

Located 250 air miles southwest of Anchorage, the city of Kodiak, Alaska is home to approximately 6,100 residents, and is the main city on Kodiak Island, the United States’ second largest island after Hawaii’s Big Island. Covering 3,588 square miles, Kodiak Island is 73 square miles bigger than Puerto Rico.

You can visit Kodiak by cruise ship, mainly on itineraries that are traveling between the West Coast of the US and Asia via Alaska.  Holland America’s ms Amsterdam will call in Kodiak on September 25, 2014.  During 2015, Crystal and SilverSea cruise lines also have calls planned in 2015, in addition to multiple calls by Holland America Line.

Here are 17 Fun Facts about Kodiak, Alaska:

1. The city of Kodiak, is located on Kodiak Island that is a part of the Kodiak Archipelago in the Gulf of Alaska.

2. The Alutiiq natives have inhabited the Kodiak Archipelago for more than 7,000 years.  In their language, kadiak means “island”.

3. Russian explorer Stephan Glotov discovered the island in 1763, calling it Kad’yak. When James Cook, the British captain arrived fifteen years later, he wrote the name “Kodiak” in his journals

4. Russian fur trappers prized the area’s vast population of sea otters for their pelts. After significant harvesting, the sea otter was nearly extinct by 1850.

Kodiak Harbor

Kodiak Harbor, Alaska, is a center for commercial fishing.

5. When Russia sold Alaska to the United States in 1867, Kodiak became a commercial fishing center which continues today.

6. The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge was created while Teddy Roosevelt was president.

7. When the U.S. feared attack from Japanese during World War II, the town of Kodiak was turned into a fortress with new roads, an airport and Fort Abercrombie.

8. A tsunami struck the city of Kodiak with 30-foot waves as a result of the massive Alaska earthquake on Good Friday, March 27, 1964, killing 15 people, destroying a number of businesses and fishing fleets, and permanently raising some areas near Kodiak by 30 feet.

9. The Kodiak bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi), also known as the Kodiak brown bear or the Alaskan grizzly bear, is a subspecies of the brown or grizzly bear  that is only found on Kodiak Island and the other smaller islands in the Kodiak Archipelago. The subspecies of bears developed after brown bears migrated to the Kodiak Archipelago 12,000 years ago from mainland Alaska. When the sea level rose at the end of the last ice age, the Kodiak bears became an isolated population.

10. Kodiak bears are the world’s largest bears, with some adult males exceeding 1,000 pounds. Kodiak bears eat fish, grass, plants and berries.

Kodiak_Bear_in_Macks_

While live viewing of Kodiak bears generally requires a training guide and an air charter from the city of Kodiak, you can view this preserved Kodiak bear at Mack’s Sport Shop in Kodiak, Alaska.

11. Bear-viewing is one of the most popular activities on Kodiak Island, with July, August and September the best months for bear-viewing. From the city of Kodiak, a number of local air taxis offer half-day bear viewing trips with an experienced guide

12. United States Navy SEALs learn cold weather survival tactics at the Naval Special Warfare Cold Weather Detachment located just outside of the city of Kodiak.

13. The United States Coast Guard maintains a major presence in Kodiak, Alaska, including the USCG Kodiak Air Station, as well as the home port for the USCGC Alex Haley, the Spar and the Munro.

14. Scenes in the movie The Guardian starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher were filmed around Kodiak and at the USCG base.

15. Actress Darby Stanchfield, one of the stars of the television series Scandal, hails from Kodiak, where she was born and raised.

16. In 2012, the Kodiak Walmart won a national competition by getting the most Facebook likes between June 18 to July 15, 2012. As a result of the win, the rapper Pitbull visited on Kodiak, receiving a key to the city from the mayor and making an appearance at the Coast Guard base.

17. Students from villages throughout Alaska study at Saint Herman’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Kodiak to become readers or clergy in the Orthodox Church.

What fun fact can you add about Kodiak, Alaska? Please share in comments below.  

 For interesting facts about far-flung destinations, check out these other Fun Facts posts:

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