King Salmon

Passenger Service: PenAir offers scheduled passenger service seven (7) days of the week.
Airport: King Salmon Airport (State owned) – 1 King Salmon Airport Rd, King Salmon, AK 99613
Distance from Anchorage = 288 miles
Approximate Travel Time = 1 hour 20 minutes
Runway(s): 8,901 ft. X 150 ft.

King Salmon is a census-designated place (CDP) in Bristol Bay Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2010 census, the population was 374. King Salmon is the borough seat of neighboring Lake and Peninsula Borough, but does not serve that purpose in its own borough, whose borough seat is in Naknek.

King Salmon is located on the north bank of the Naknek River on the Alaska Peninsula, about 16 miles upriver from Naknek, near Naknek Lake. According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 171.0 square miles,169.6 square miles of which is land and 1.4 square miles of which is water.

King Salmon has a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc). Temperatures, especially extreme ones, are much less moderate than in the subpolar oceanic climate of the Pacific Ocean side of the Alaska Peninsula. Average temperatures in winter, however, are still milder than a number of cities in the contiguous United States, such as Fargo, North Dakota. The town lies just below the southern limit of sporadic permafrost in Alaska, and is strongly sheltered from the extremely wet Aleutian Low which drops most of its moisture on the opposite side of the mountains.

In the 1930s, the U.S. government built an air navigation silo at the site of present-day King Salmon. At the beginning of World War II, the U.S. Army Air Forces built an air base around the silo. It was maintained by the Civil Aeronautics Administration throughout the war.

In the 1940s and 1950s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed a 25 km (16 mi) long road from King Salmon to Naknek. Other government agencies, such as the National Park Service, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the United States Weather Bureau, built facilities at King Salmon. The King Salmon Inn opened in 1956.

King Salmon is now a government, transportation and service and shipment center for the commercial red salmon and sport fishing industries.

The Air Force base was closed in 1993, and is kept in caretaker status by Anchorage-based Chugach Federal Solutions, Inc.. King Salmon Airport is now a public access airport.

King Salmon is the drop-off point for Katmai National Park. Katmai was declared a national monument in 1918 to preserve the living laboratory of its cataclysmic 1912 volcanic eruption, particularly the Valley of 10,00 Smokes. Since then, most surface geothermal features have cooled, but protecting brown bears has become an equally compelling charge. To protect these magnificent animals and varied habitat, the boundaries were extended over the years, and in 1980 the area was designated a national park and preserve. Katmai looms so vast that the bulk of it eludes all but a few persistent visitors. Other lodges, rivers and streams are accessible by float plane and offer a glimpse of the unseen Katmai beyond the usual experiences of fishing Brooks River, walking up to Brooks Falls, and riding the bus out to the Valley of 10,000 Smokes.

About Katmai National Park

Katmai National Park’s awe-inspiring natural powers confront us most visibly in its brown bears. In summer, North America’s largest land predators gather along streams to feast on salmon runs, building weight from this wealth of protein and fat preparing for the long winter ahead. Alaska’s brown bears and grizzlies are now considered one species. People commonly consider grizzlies to be those that live 100 miles and more inland. Browns are bigger than grizzlies thanks to their rich diet of fish. Kodiak brown bears are a different subspecies that is geographically isolated on Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska. Mature male bears in Katmai may weigh up to 900 pounds. Mating occurs from May to mid-July, with the cubs born in dens in mid-winter. Up to 4 cubs may be born, at a mere pound each. Cubs stay with the mother for 2 years, during which time she does not reproduce. The interval between litters is usually at least 3 years. Brown bears dig a new den each year, entering it in November and emerging in April. About half of their lifetimes is spent in their dens. Because each bear is an individual, no one can predict exactly how a given bear will act in a given situation. These awe-inspiring bears symbolize the wildness of Katmai today.

Besides brown bear, Katmai National Park provides a protected home to moose, caribou, red fox, wolf, lynx, wolverine, river otter, mink, marten, weasel, porcupine, snowshoe hare, red squirrel and beaver. Marine mammals include: sea lions, sea otters and hair seals. Beluga, killer and gray whales can also be seen along the coast of the park

(excerpts taken from,_Alaska and April 2015)