Monday, February 8, 2010

Welcome to Naknek, Alaska: Bristol Bay

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett

Naknek, Alaska is a small fishing village in Bristol Bay. It is about 52 air miles east, and a little south, of Dillingham. The location and name are sometimes confused because Naknek shares the only paved road in the entire area with another small village, King Salmon, Alaska.

To put things into perspective, both Naknek and King Salmon have about 500 year around residents each. The 12 mile long paved road, which runs from East to West along the Naknek River, separates the two remote villages. Pavement is rare in the Alaskan bush. King Salmon is located on the East end of the pavement while Naknek in located on the West end.

The two fishing communities are unique because they share resources. For example, the High School is located in Naknek so the students from King Salmon travel to Naknek to attend school. On the other hand, King Salmon has the major airport with two paved runways, ILS, and control tower (due to the Military installation that is now only a skeleton crew), while Naknek has two small dirt strips that look like a giant L from the air.

Here is a light/picture/model on the side of one of the hangers on the Naknek Airport. How cool is that.

Normally when flying to Saint Theresa for mass every week from Dillingham, I fly into the larger airport, King Salmon. I have a place on the East Ramp to park and plug in the Cherokee Warrior II (Tibbits Airmotive). Naknek has a smaller airport. Below are a few pictures of the airport area. Click on all pictures to make them larger.

If you click on the picture below, you can see the L shape of the two runways at the Naknek Airport. The larger wider gravel runway runs North and South (runway 32 and 14). The one lined with aircraft runs East and West (runway 26 and 08).

Here is nice picture of runway 08 and 26, which shows the aircraft lined up along the small gravel strip.

King Air is the main air taxi out of Naknek. Jay, at King Air, has a number of aircraft. One is a Cherokee that is simalar to our Warrior II. King Air is located right where the two runways come together at the L. Jay might need to spruce up his sign a bit.

Here is where King Air, and probably everyone else in the area, fuel up before flying off into the Alaskan Bush.

Both communities share the Catholic Church, Saint Theresa. The beautiful church is built half way between the King Salmon and Naknek. During the fishing season fisherman are packed into Saint Theresa. Last year, beside our regular year around parishioners, we had an additional 40 or so fishermen attend on a regular basis.

The following pictures of Naknek will give you a flavor for the small fishing village

For some reason that I have not been able to figure out, old cars are lined up end to end along the road to Naknek petitioning off a certain area.

Colorful. Original. It says it all. Nice Sign!

I am not positive, but I think 3-wheelers were out-lawed 20 years ago?

Here is one of the several accommodations if you plan on spending the night in this cozy fishing village.

The Naknek Trading Company is a grocery store and is a popular place for all visitors. This building has groceries only. Next door the General Store (shown below) offers hardware and clothing.

The General Store sells about everything except groceries, i.e Carharts, watches, frying pans, etc.

Need to rent a truck? No problem in Naknek, Alaska.

When two or more businesses are located in the same area what do you do? Here is what they do in Naknek.

Processing salmon and storing boats for the winter is big business in this small fishing village. Several processing plants and boat storage facilities exist.

These fish processing plants are located right on the main drag in Naknek.

Here is another fish processor. When I first heard the name I had to get clarification. Am I hearing you right? YARD ARM NOT!

This Glacier Construction, in my opinion, gets the prize for artistic talent.

Here is something one does not see much of in the lower 48 states. This is unique to Naknek!

My favorite sign. A kind of sockeye salmon windmill. Very creative!

I think this is the local Starbucks, well, maybe not Strarbucks, but a great place to have a cup of joe. THE SHICE.

Safe travels to all. If you are ever in Naknek, be sure to stop in at Saint Theresa Parish. Mass is every Sunday at 9:00 AM.


Anonymous said...

The Shire. Not the Shice. Get it right.

Unknown said...

Yes Father...THE SHIRE (Reference Lord of the Rings).

However...interesting stuff and pictures.

Thank you or sharing.