Twenty thousand years ago most of the 5,000 square mile Kodiak Archipelago was covered by glaciers that scored and carved the landscape. Jagged peaks, fjord-like bays, and wide U-shaped valleys were left by the glacial retreat. Nature’s handiwork created a place of spectacular scenic beauty and a wilderness ideally suited for abundant land and marine life. At times the elements and the environment can be harsh and unrelenting, but for those who love Kodiak, it is simply a reminder that nature is in charge; lives and livelihoods must adapt. The reward is a unique lifestyle in an island paradise.
Kodiak has rich history dating back 7,500 years, when the island was first settled by the Alutiiq, a coastal people that subsisted off the island’s plentiful salmon, halibut, and whale. The Alutiiq people thrived on Kodiak until the mid-1700s, when Russian merchants and fur traders arrived in search for valuable sea-otter pelts and new fishing grounds. After seeing Kodiak’s rich natural resources, the Russians named it the capital of their Russian Colony in Kodiak Alaska. Large- scale commercial fishing operations began in 1882, when the first salmon cannery was built on the Karluk River to process the legendary sockeye runs.
After the Russians sold Alaska to the U.S. in 1867, many Americans migrated to Kodiak to continue commercial fishing operations, primarily for salmon. Starting in the 1950’s, large scale king crab fishing began to flourish, eventually making the island the “king crab capital of the world.”
Kodiak is actually the 2nd largest island in the United States and has a total population of roughly 14,000 people. It is approximately the size of Connecticut.