Rapids on the Alagnak
|Borough||Lake and Peninsula|
|- location||Katmai National Park and Preserve|
|- elevation||811 ft (247 m) |
|- location||58 miles (93 km) east of Dillingham, Alaska Peninsula|
|- elevation||0 ft (0 m) |
|Length||64 mi (103 km) |
The Alagnak River is a 64-mile (103 km) tributary of the Kvichak River in the U.S. state of Alaska. It has a catchment area of approximately 1400 square mi (3600 km²). It is located in central Lake and Peninsula Borough.
According to the National Park Service, in the local language the word Alagnak[pronunciation?] means "making mistakes". The river course is dynamic, changing often and splitting into new branches. For this reason, it is known locally as the "Branch River", where boaters may mistake one branch for another.
On the other hand, Native American Placenames of the United States says that the river's name may come from the Yupik word alagnaq, a kind of red berry. The United States Geological Survey says something similar, citing Richard H. Geoghegan, a philologist, who said the native word referred to a wild raspberry.
It begins as the outflow of Kukaklek Lake in Katmai National Park and Preserve and meets the sea at Bristol Bay. The beginning of the river lies in the Aleutian Range. The first six miles of the river run slowly through the tundra. Vegetation along the upper part of the river consists mostly of spruce. Afterwards, the valley becomes much narrower with near-vertical rock faces. Miles 7-14 run through a narrow canyon at around 7.5 mph. The Nonvianuk River runs into the Alagnak at around mile 20. To the west, the river meanders over the Alaska Peninsula before flowing into the Kvichak River, which itself flows into Bristol Bay.
Flora and fauna
Due to the large numbers of salmon, there is a significant bear population in the summer and fall, including both grizzly and black bears. The majority of the catchment area is a winter habitat for Alaskan caribou. Moose are also to be found during the entire year. Along the river, beaver, foxes, wolverines, mink, and otter are all found as well occasional wolf. In the water, there are several varieties of salmon, including sockeye salmon, pink salmon, chum salmon, king salmon, and silver salmon. There are also rainbow trout, char, arctic grayling, and northern pike. Along the river there is also eclectic vegetation including spruces, willows and various types of berries.
In 1980, a total of 67 miles (108 km) on the upper Alagnak and one of its tributaries, the Nonvianuk River, were designated "wild" as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The tributary, which drains Nonvianuk Lake, is 11 miles (18 km) long.
The Alagnak is one of the most important rivers for sport fishing in Alaska. The river is navigable for canoeists. In the ravine, there are rapids from levels 1 to 3. This section of the river is dangerous for inexperienced rafters, especially during highwater. Portage is possible but difficult.
- Derived by entering source coordinates in Google Earth.
- "Alagnak River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. March 31, 1981. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- "Plan Your Visit". NPS.
- Bright, William (2004). Native American Place Names of the United States. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 29. ISBN 0-8061-3576-X.
- "Animals - Alagnak Wild River". National Park Service.
- "Alagnak River, Alaska". National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- Jettmar, Karen (2008) . The Alaska River Guide: Canoeing, Kayaking, and Rafting in the Last Frontier (3rd ed.). Birmingham, Alabama: Menasha Ridge Press. pp. 144–46. ISBN 978-0-89732-957-6.