The ALASKA PENINSULA is a peninsula extending about 800 km (497 mi)
to the southwest from the mainland of
Alaska and ending in the
Aleutian Islands . The peninsula separates the
Pacific Ocean from
Bristol Bay , an arm of the
Bering Sea .
In literature (especially Russian) the term ‘
was used to denote the entire northwestern protrusion of the North
American continent , or all of what is now the state of
exclusive of its panhandle and islands. The Lake and
, the Alaskan equivalent of a county , is named after the peninsula.
* 1 Geography
* 2 Administration
* 3 Climate
* 4 Flora and fauna
* 5 Demographics
* 6 References
* 7 External links
Aleutian Range is a highly active volcanic mountain range which
runs along the entire length of the Peninsula. Within it lie Wildlife
Refuges, including the
Katmai National Park and Preserve
Katmai National Park and Preserve , the
Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve and the Becharof National
Wildlife Refuge , the
Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge , and
Izembek National Wildlife Refuge .
The southern side of the
Peninsula is rugged and mountainous,
created by the uplifting tectonic activity of the North
subsiding under a western section of the
North American Plate ; the
northern side is generally flat and marshy, a result of millennia of
erosion and general seismic stability. The northern and southern
shores are likewise quite different. The northern
Bristol Bay coastal
side is generally turbid and muddy, experiences tidal extremes, and is
relatively shallow; the
Pacific side has relatively small tidal
activity and is deep and clear.
All of the
Peninsula is organized as a part of four adjacent boroughs
Aleutians East Borough ,
Bristol Bay Borough , Kodiak Island
Borough , and Lake and
Peninsula Borough . The Lake and Peninsula
Borough includes most of the peninsula's territory.
Average annual precipitation ranges from 24 to 65 in (610 to 1,650
mm). Coastal areas are subject to intense storms, wind, and rain.
Winter temperatures average between −11°C and 1°C, and in summer
between 6°C and 15°. Frosts can occur any day of the year at higher
elevations. The climate can be compared to that of the Aleutian
Iceland , and
Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego .
FLORA AND FAUNA
Peninsula is home to some of the largest populations of
native and undisturbed wildlife in the United States. Besides the
McNeil River and Katmai Alaskan brown bear populations, large
herds of caribou , moose , wolves and waterfowl inhabit the area. The
bears of the peninsula and
Bristol Bay are so numerous because they
feed on the world's largest sockeye salmon Oncorhynchus nerka runs,
which occur here in large part because the many large lakes of the
peninsula are an important element in their lifecycle. These salmon,
after returning from their short life at sea, swim into the lakes and
their contributing streams to spawn. Their offspring, or fry,
overwinter in the deep and food-abundant depths of these lakes until
their migration to the sea in one or two years.
Exceptionally large seabird colonies exist along the coast.
The rugged southern half of the peninsula, and also the Kodiak
Archipelago which lie off the south coast of the peninsula and are
home to even more bears, constitute the
Peninsula montane taiga
ecoregion and contain a number of protected areas such as Katmai
National Park .
See also: Lake and
Besides the communities on the coast (see:
Bristol Bay ), the Alaska
Peninsula also is home to several well-known villages: Cold Bay , King
Cove , Perryville , Chignik , Chignik Lake , Chignik Lagoon , and Port
Moller . Each is primarily inhabited by
Alaska Natives and each,
likewise, is mostly dependent on the fishing industry for sustenance.
The village of Sand Point should be included here, despite its
location on Popof Island, an island of the Sumagin Islands, just off
the southern coast of the Peninsula.
* ^ "Chapter 7-Ecological Subregions of the United States".
Fs.fed.us. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
* ^ A B "Encyclopedia of Earth". Eoearth.org. Retrieved 2013-06-18.