Gravina Island

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Camp of King Salmon trollers at Vallenar Point, 1902
Map showing location of Gravina Island.

Gravina Island is an island in the Gravina Islands of the Alexander Archipelago in southeastern Alaska. It is 21 miles (34 km) long and about 9.5 miles (15.3 km) wide,[1] with a land area of 94.81 square miles (245.6 km2). The island had a population of 50 people at the 2000 census.

The Spanish explorer Jacinto Caamaño named the Gravina Islands group in 1792. George Vancouver applied the name to Gravina Island itself in 1793. The name honors Federico Carlos Gravina y Nápoli.[2]

Ketchikan International Airport is located on Gravina Island across the Tongass Narrows (½ mile) from Ketchikan and is reached by a ferry service which takes between three and seven minutes and runs at least every half-hour.

Early on the morning of October 18, 2016, a fire was detected in a dwelling on Gravina Island.[3] The fireboat Harry Newell responded. Firefighters were unable to save the building, but prevented the fire spreading.


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[4]

Gravina Island first appeared on the 1940[5] U.S. Census as an unincorporated area. This was the only time it appeared on the census as a separate community.

Flora and fauna[edit]

Camping site of king salmon trollers at Vallenar Point, 1902

A variety of wildlife and vegetation are found on Gravina Island including a disjunctive population of the Crater Lake Newt, a subspecies of the Rough-skinned Newt, whose northern range is in Alaska.[6]

Proposed bridge[edit]

In August 2005 the 2005 Highway Bill provided for $223m to build the Gravina Island Bridge between Gravina Island and nearby Ketchikan, on Revillagigedo Island. The provisions were negotiated by Alaska's Rep. Don Young. This bridge, nicknamed "The Bridge to Nowhere" by critics, was intended to replace the auto ferry which is currently the only connection between Ketchikan and its airport. While the federal earmark was withdrawn, the state of Alaska is continuing to study improvements in access to the airport, which may include improvements to the ferry service.[7]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Gravina Island
  2. ^ Wagner, Henry (1937). The Cartography of the Northwest Coast of America to the Year 1800. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 390.
  3. ^ Mary Kaufman (2016-10-18). "No injuries in Rosa Reef area fire; Structure a total loss". Sit News. Retrieved 2017-03-18. The M/V Harry Newell responded early Sunday morning to a report of the structure fire in the Rosa Reef area on Gravina Island.
  4. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  5. ^
  6. ^ C. Michael Hogan (2008) Rough-skinned Newt (Taricha granulosa), Globaltwitcher, ed. N. Stromberg [1]
  7. ^ State studying ways to link Ketchikan, Gravina Island. Bohrer, Becky. Juneau Empire, 1 July 2013

Coordinates: 55°18′14″N 131°47′11″W / 55.30389°N 131.78639°W / 55.30389; -131.78639