Shuyak Island State Park
Shuyak Island State Park comprises most of the island's 47,000 acres. The park encompasses part of a coastal forest system, unique to the Kodiak Archipelago, which contains only one tree species: Sitka spruce. Besides a virgin Sitka spruce forest, the park includes miles of rugged coastline, beaches and protected waterways. The island is located 54-air miles north of Kodiak, Alaska. Shuyak Island's compact dimensions measure 12-miles long and 11-miles wide, but contain more sheltered interior waterways than anywhere in the Kodiak Archipelago. The land and water of the area host an infinite variety of seabirds. Otters share the sea with whales, harbor seals, sea lions, and Dall porpoises. Kodiak brown bear and Sitka black-tailed deer inhabit the island's forests. Visitors can view puffins, black oystercatchers, cormorants, common and red-throated loons, mergansers, harlequin ducks, and bald eagles. Migrant birds arrive in May and June. Plant enthusiasts can find alpine botany at sea level on the rugged capes along the outer coastline.
When conditions are poor, be patient and wait for the weather to improve. Rescue assistance could be hours or days away. Veteran kayakers regard Shuyak Island as a true paradise. The park provides access to an intricate maze of sheltered bays, channels, and inlets. It is recommended to bring a folding kayak, since transporting a rigid kayak can be costly. Make sure to bring enough supplies, as they are limited when visitors reach the park. Boating is a fun activity here if correct preparations are made.
Two public use cabins are located on Big Bay. Carry Inlet and Neketa Bay each have one public use cabin. Each cabin can accommodate up to eight people. Cabins are rented to only one party at a time. Visitors can stay in the same cabin for up to seven consecutive nights per month. Camping is also available.
Shuyak Island is a popular sport fishing destination in August and September when silver salmon return to the island's freshwater systems to spawn. Shuyak Island's uplands include hundreds of small lakes and beaver ponds fed from runoff, springs, and seeps. These lakes in turn feed many small creeks and streams that serve as habitat for many fish species. Of the 18 anadromous streams identified on Shuyak Island, 15 of them are a located either within or immediately adjacent to the park. These 15 streams are located in four distinct areas, which are utilized for sport, commercial, and subsistence fishing. These areas are: the southeast and southwest arms of Big Bay, the southeastern portion of Carry Inlet, and Shangin Bay. Three species of salmon utilize the island's anadromous streams: silver, red and pink salmon. In addition, Dolly Varden and rainbow trout also inhabit these freshwater systems. Sport and commercial salmon harvest and timing are regulated by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Shuyak's saltwater bays are periodically open to commercial seining and sportfishers should be aware that up to three commercial openers may occur in Shuyak's bays between August 1 and September 15. The openings generally last between 24 and 48 hours. Immediately after the openings, sportfishing is usually slow, but rebounds within a couple of days.
Unique and wild, even by Alaskan standards, Shuyak Island State Park is best explored through a combination of travel via both land and sea. Hikers and kayakers will find ample opportunities to view a wide variety of wildlife, including whales, sea otters, deer, brown bear and harbor seals. The shorelines, capes, outer islands and inner bays also a wide variety of birdlife. To the west visitors will see the spectacular Katmai coast, just 30 miles across the Shelikof Strait, while towards the interior of the Island, a peaceful, old-growth Sitka Spruce forest filters the sounds of the exposed outer coastline. Shuyak Island, at only about 100 square miles, offers an incredible variety of moods, experiences and recreational opportunities. For those who don't want to take a chance on the area's unpredictable weather, the four public use cabins managed by Alaska State Parks offer a civilized, yet rustic alternative to camping out.
Sitka black-tailed deer are found on Shuyak Island. Consult current Alaska Department of Fish and Game regulations before you begin your hunting trip.
The island is only accessible by plane or boat.
Please call the main phone number for more information.
Shuyak Island is at the tip of the Kodiak Archipelago and is subject to severe and unpredictable weather. Sea conditions can deteriorate rapidly: large swells, rough seas, high winds, and heavy surf occur frequently in open waters. The inner bays are generally protected, but in either area in these waters hypothermia can set in within minutes. Generally, rainfall averages about 4-6 inches per month in the summertime. Temperatures (Fahrenheit) range from the low 40's to the low 60's.
54 miles north of Kodiak; accessible only by air or water.
Visitors to Shuyak Island State Park generally arrive and depart via chartered floatplane from Kodiak or Homer. Shuyak Island is a 40-minute flight from Kodiak and about a 50-minute flight from Homer. Visitors can also access the island via water and there are a number of charter boats who could provide this service from Kodiak.