Visiting Our Lands
Koniag’s lands are spread across the archipelago from the Sturgeon River Basin and Uyak Bays in southwest Kodiak Island to the northern peninsulas of Afognak Island. With such a broad diversity of land types and locations, Koniag’s Lands and Natural Resources Department manages these lands for different types of regulated public access.
If you are using commercial services to visit our lands, such as an air taxi for transport to a remote area or a guide to accompany you on your trip, please check the bottom of this page. Koniag maintains a Commercial Use Permit program to ensure our visitors who hire or use a commercial service to access our lands have a quality experience, and also to ensure that these commercial services do not damage our lands. The bottom of this page will show you the list of our currently-licensed commercial operators, and these businesses are the only permitted commercial services to access or operate on Koniag’s land.
The Karluk River Basin
The Karluk River Basin is the ecological cornerstone of southwest Kodiak’s ecosystem. Karluk Lake is the largest (12 miles long and 1 mile wide) and deepest (more than 450’ at its deepest point) lake in the Kodiak Archipelago, and flows into the 22 river-mile long Karluk River. This watershed supports five species of Pacific salmon, arctic char, rainbow and steelhead trout, Dolly Varden, and the multitude of mammals and birds that contribute to make Kodiak a world-famous destination for hikers, photographers, hunters, and anglers.
You have several options for visiting our lands in the Karluk River Basin. To experience Alaska’s premier bear-viewing destination, book your stay at the Kodiak Brown Bear Center, located on Camp Island in the center of Karluk Lake.
Or, if you prefer to have a wilderness experience on your own (with a roof over your head), Koniag manages the Karluk River Cabins. We maintain one cabin at the headwaters of the Karluk River, and three more clustered near the midpoint of the Karluk River, known as the Portage.
For those looking to really get away from it all, there are many opportunities for unguided camping along Karluk River. Except for three one-acre camp easements near the outlet of Karluk Lake, camping is not permitted along the first three river-miles of the Karluk River (click here to see the land use map), but there are wide swathes of land that are open for permitted users who wish to camp along the rest of Karluk River.
Unguided hunting and fishing is also available for permitted users along much of the Karluk River. For information about our land access permit and use endorsement program, please click here.
The Sturgeon River Basin
Located due west of the Karluk River Basin, the Sturgeon River Basin is another dynamic and unique ecosystem.
Access to the Sturgeon River is more logistically challenging, and will likely require an air-drop of gear and supplies onto either Koniag’s land or Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge land along the headwaters of the river. To reach your supplies, you will need to start walking from Koniag’s land surrounding Barnaby Lake, or if weather or water conditions don’t allow landing at Barnaby Lake, you will need to walk from Koniag’s land at the Portage of Karluk River.
Koniag’s lands around Barnaby Lake and Sturgeon River are open for permitted unguided users from June 1st through August 15th, and from November 11th through April 20th each year. If you intend to visit from August 16th to November 10th, or from April 21st to May 31st, you will have to be accompanied by one of our licensed guides. Check the bottom of this page to see a list of our current licensed guides.
Though Koniag’s lands around Barnaby Lake and the Sturgeon River are closed to unguided users for part of the year, Koniag’s lands around the Sturgeon Lagoon are open to permitted unguided users year-round.
Located along Kodiak’s road system, Womens Bay is adjacent to the United States Coast Guard Base and the community of Bell’s Flats. Koniag owns a small parcel of land along the coastline, encompassing the area of “Sometimes-an-Island” (Frye Point) to Bruhn Point. Because of the popularity of this area for family recreation, and ease of access, there are no permitting fees to visit Koniag’s property in Womens Bay, but hunting, target shooting, and campfires/bonfires are prohibited.
Afognak Island is the 18th largest island in the United States, and located about 3 miles from the town of Kodiak. Koniag owns approximately 40,000 acres on Afognak Island, split between eastern Izhut Bay in the south, the Discoverer and Delphin Peninsulas in the north, Paramanof Peninsula in the west, and a small parcel of land at Waterfall Lake in north-central Afognak Island.
These tracts of land have abundant Roosevelt elk, Sitka black-tailed deer, and Kodiak brown bears. Visitors to Koniag’s lands on Afognak Island are not required to have a Land Access Permit or Use Endorsements, but you must travel with a Koniag Licensed Commercial Operatorto get here. Please note that while there are no fees to access Koniag’s Afognak lands, adjacent landowners may have access and use endorsement fees to enter their lands. For more information, please click here.
If you have any questions about our lands, the Land Access Permit and Use Endorsement program, or land management in general, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (907) 486-2530.
Ready to visit? Make sure your air taxi, guide, and/or transporter has a valid Koniag Commercial Use Permit by looking below, and click here to apply for a Land Access Permit!
Current Licensed Commercial Operators