Kodiak Island is the second-largest island in the United States.
Eight ships call on Emerald Island
Some 250 miles southwest of Anchorage, the Kodiak Island Archipelago rises above the Gulf of Alaska. Known by locals as the “Emerald Isle,” this lush archipelago is an extension of the Kenai Mountains and home to the second-largest island in the United States.
Best known for its population of massive brown bears, its United States Coast Guard (USCG) base and its high concentration of commercial fishing activity, Kodiak Island is also a popular sportfishing destination and the location of the Alaska Aerospace Corporation’s commercial space-launch facility.
Kodiak’s road system is comprised of approximately 70 miles of paved and hard-packed gravel roads that connect the City of Kodiak to a variety of historic and recreational locations on the eastern side of the island. The City of Kodiak is home to 6,191 residents, representing nearly half of the borough’s total population of 13,448.
In total, eight ships called on Kodiak 18 times in 2018, including the Volendam, Zaandam, Silver Shadow, Seabourn Sojourn, Seven Seas Mariner, Star Legend, Coral Princess and Westerdam, which makes its final stop this season on Oct. 5.
While Kodiak receives more cruise ships than its sister port of Homer to its north, there remains ample room for growth. Between 2007 and 2016 Kodiak received a total of 134 cruise ship port calls and 113,000 cruise passengers. Cruise visitation peaked in 2010 with 21 calls and 19,372 passengers. All cruise ships tie up at Pier 2, a multi-purpose, deep-draft dock owned by the city.
The City of Kodiak shares its Commercial Passenger Vessel (CPV) Excise Tax with the Kodiak Island Borough and deposits its portion into a Cargo Enterprise Fund for approved projects. From FY08 to FY16, the City of Kodiak and Kodiak Island Borough each received $176,005 in head taxes. In addition to this revenue, the city also received approximately $3 million in legislative appropriations from the Commercial Vessel Passenger Tax Account to provide cruise passengers with safe walking access from the dock to downtown.
The city wants to build a covered reception facility for passengers at Pier 2, but the project remains unfunded.
Bear viewing a popular Kodiak activity
Wildlife viewing, and bear viewing in particular, is one of the most popular activities in Kodiak. The best bear viewing takes place after July 15. Visitors can take a day trip to Frazer Lake in the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge or fly-out to the Katmai Coast. For those more interested in marine wildlife, wildlife day cruises are also available.
There are a variety of ways to enjoy sportfishing on Kodiak Island. Saltwater charters, walk-in guides, remote fishing lodges and float trip guides are a few of the most popular options. Species include halibut, lingcod, rockfish, salmon, steelhead, rainbow trout and Dolly Varden.
Downtown Walking Tour
Download a copy of Discover Kodiak’s downtown walking tour (http://kodiak.org/downtown_walking_tour) and experience a variety of shopping and dining options in and around the St. Paul Harbor area. Stretch your legs with a walk across the bridge to Near Island and to check out the Kodiak Fisheries Research Center Touch Tank and Aquarium.
Visitors will be surprised to discover a variety of museums and other cultural experiences available during their time in Kodiak. The Alutiiq Museum, Baranov Museum, Maritime Museum, Military History Museum, Kodiak National Wildlife Interpretive Center and Kodiak Fisheries Research Center each present a unique facet of the region.