Welcome To The Emerald Isle
Kodiak Island is known for its natural beauty. It is often called the Emerald Isle due to the green boldness of it’s surrounding vegetation, and the contrast to the blues of the surrounding Pacific ocean. It has stunningly beautiful coast lines, wildflowers, grasslands, moderately rugged mountains approximately 2,000 - 4,000 feet, dwarf birch and alders, lowlands of wet tundra, shrub lands of willow, balsam poplar (cottonwood) and Kenai birch.
The Sitka Spruce forests are young and only cover the northeast end of the island. It is very unique in the world, because it is not mixed with any other species of trees. The Sitka Spruce forest is moving southwest at a rate of about a mile every 100 years. Because we have ample amounts of rain, there are Pacific temperate rainforests.
Wildflowers consist of shooting stars, lupine, chocolate lilies, iris’s, low and high bush cranberries, blueberries, salmon berries, wild roses, alders, monkshood, and fireweed to name just a few of the beautiful surrounding flowers that dot our island.
Kodiak is home to approximately 3,000 Kodiak Brown Bears, an estimated 60,000 Sitka Black-Tail Deer, about 900 Roosevelt Elk on Afognak and Raspberry Island, approximately 2,000 mountain goats, and about 200 reindeer that only occupy the southwest part of the island. Other domestic livestock include free-range bison, cattle and horses.
Smaller species on the island are: muskrats, short tailed weasels, red/silver/and cross fox, river & sea otters, indigenous little brown bats, tundra voles, harbor seals, bald eagles, ptarmigan, puffins, stellar sea lions, beavers, red squirrel, pine martins, and snowshoe hares.
(Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge website, Fish and Game website, Alaska State Parks, Pictures Of Sitka Spruce Tree Trail & Wildrose Bush Provided By Gloria Selby. Picture Of Salmonberry By Bruce Nelson. Picture of Red Fox and Eagle by Chris Badessa. Picture of Kalina Berries Taken by Irene Nelson.)
We have thrived on the subsistence of our natural resources for many centuries and we remain true to our authentic cultures. A big part of our culture is living a subsistence lifestyle. We harvest wild berries, such as; salmonberries, high & low bush cranberries (also locally called Kalina berries, the roots and bark are used traditionally for medicinal purposes by the Alutiiq people), blueberries (bragged to contain the highest amount of antioxidants), and wild rose hips, we make homemade jams & jellies, pies, and freeze them for winter treats. We smoke, dry, can, freeze, and pickle our fish, we dig for shellfish, harvest king crab, hunt for Sitka deer, mountain goats, Roosevelt elk, snowshoe hares and sea ducks.
*The Alaska Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center (located downtown, near the ferry dock), University of Alaska Fish Tech Center (located on Near Island) and many local guides can educate you on our vegetation and wild/marine life.