The History of South Naknek

South Naknek is located on the south bank of the Naknek River on the Alaska Peninsula, 297 miles southwest of Anchorage. It lies just west of the Katmai National Park and Preserve. It lies at approximately 58 41' N Latitude, 157 00' W Longitude (Sec. 11, T017S, R047W, Seward Meridian). The community is located in the Kvichak Recording District. The area encompasses 96 sq. miles of land and 17 sq. miles of water.

This area was first settled over 6,000 years ago, and was historically Sugpiaq Aleut territory. The Sugpiaqs traveled between Katmai and the Naknek River, pursuing seasonal food sources. South Naknek was settled permanently after the turn of the century as a result of salmon cannery development. Some villagers relocated from New and Old Savonoski, near the "Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes." This is one of the many villages along the coast where Laplanders were brought in to herd reindeer. The herds were purchased in the 1930s by the BIA for the local Native economy, and were a welcome addition to villagers' diets.

To Community Histories Index Alaska DCCED Community Database Online

History and map graphic used with permission from the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development