Kodiak Island is in the string of islands in the Gulf of Alaska known as the Kodiak
Island Archipelago. This island group stretches about 180 miles long and covers about
5,000 square miles. The largest of the group is Kodiak Island. At 3,588 square miles, it is the second largest island in the United States (the
island of Hawaii is the largest.)
PEOPLE: Approximately 13,500 people live throughout the Kodiak Island Archipelago. Kodiak,
the major population center and home of Kodiak College, is on the northeast corner
of Kodiak Island. People also live in remote communities, including six Alaska Native
villages, throughout the archipelago.
BEARS: Approximately 3,500 Kodiak brown bear live on Kodiak and other islands in the
Average summer temperature (July): 54 F
Average winter temperature (January): 30 F
Average rainfall: 68 inches
Maximum daylight hours (June 21): 18 hours, 11 minutes
Ten thousand years ago, glaciers covered most of the archipelago and chiseled the
islands into jagged peaks, wide valleys and deep bays. Today no point of land is
further than 15 miles from the ocean.
The first people of Kodiak arrived more than 8,000 years ago. They traveled in skin
boats along the Aleutian Chain, a string of islands that stretches from Russia to
the Alaska mainland.
Russian fur hunters and traders, in pursuit of the prized sea otter that inhabited
the North Pacific, established Kodiak as a commercial port in 1792 and the first capital
of Russian America.
The Russian American Magazin, the oldest wooden building on the West Coast of North America, is located in the
City of Kodiak. In 1808, Russian craftsmen employed by the Russian American Company, used
local spruce logs to build the large, two-story warehouse to store furs. The building
still stands today in its original location on a hill overlooking the harbor in downtown
In 1912, Mount Novarupta erupted on the Alaska Peninsula and covered the town of Kodiak
with several feet of ash.
During World War II, Kodiak grew from a small fishing village of 400 residents to a
major staging area in the North Pacific when the U.S. Navy built a large base in Kodiak.
In 1964, the Great Alaska earthquake triggered a series of tsunamis that wiped out
Kodiak’s boat harbor, waterfront, and central business district.
Approximately 90 percent of Kodiak Island is designated brown bear habitat – the Kodiak
National Wildlife Refuge.
The Kodiak brown bear and polar bear vie for ranking as the largest land-based predator
Kodiak is natural habitat for the little brown bat, the smallest mammal in Alaska.
Kodiak is the largest commercial fishing port in the state and one of the top three
fishing ports in the country.
Kodiak is homeport to several “Deadliest Catch” crab boats.
Kodiak is home to the largest U.S. Coast Guard base in the world.
All five species of wild Pacific salmon – Chinook, sockeye, Coho, humpback, and chum
– return to spawn in one of the 800 salmon streams in the Kodiak Island Archipelago.
One of the largest worldwide populations of Emperor Geese and Steller’s Eiders winter