Kiska Island is a Canadian island located in the Hudson Bay, approximately 640 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. The island is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, and was added to the Canadian Register of Historic Places in 1985. The Kiska Island bear population was discovered in 1951 by G.A. Skutch and was the first population of bears to be studied in detail in the Arctic.
Kiska Island was first sighted by Europeans in 1615 by the Spanish expedition led by Gonzalo Perez de Haro. The island was named Kiska after the Eskimo word for ” Flintstone “. In 1898, during a Canadian Arctic Expedition led by Robert McClure, Kiska Island and nearby Little Kisco were discovered. The island was visited again in 1951 when G.A. Skutch and his team of bear researchers from the University of Manitoba happened upon a population of grizzlies on the island while conducting aerial surveys for gold mines leases in Hudson Bay Territory . As the most arctic island in Canada, Kiska is of particular interest to polar researchers such as the Polar Bear Specialist Group. In 1957 a scientific hut was built on the southern part of the island by Parks Canada and Dr Gilbert Rondeau remained on site until 1966 when it was taken over by SARA (Special Areas Research Board). Between 1977-1977 several Franklin expedition artifacts were found including metal plumb bobs and kettles that date back to 1845–1848..
Kiska experiences a subarctic climate (Köppen “Dfc”). The island receives only of snowfall annually, but temperatures can be very cold even in the summer. Precipitation is sparse, and falls mainly as rain or sleet. Summers are short and very cool, with highs of only a few degrees above freezing. With little evaporation or heat-isolation from the cold land masses Kiska’s temperature variations have wide bands such as -30 to +50°C (with an average max/min temperature of 18° in January 1979). Summers can be quite severe due to low temperatures but this is offset by long periods without precipitation including over 200 days without any rain at all for some years.
There is no permanent population on the island and it has been closed to visitors since 1931. There is no soil available except at the shoreline on southwestern and northeastern parts of Kiska. The island’s permafrost soils have become unfrozen during many winter cold snaps since 1931, but remain frozen until thawed in summer. Some lichens still survive on low exposed bluffs by Kiska Inlet below treeline that may be climbed to view northern coastal mountains including nearby Pennet Range.
There are still some remaining Inuit living around Pond Inlet Narrows where they hunt seals with small homemade boats known as “pilots” (iceboats). These people are primarily involved in whale-hunting and they are so isolated that they have never had any contact with westerners. The island was visited by Ojibwe people, Aleuts tending their sledge dogsleds, Russian seal hunters and whalers, along with the Makah Indians of Neah Bay flying over on a two engine plane to establish radio communications between Seattle Washington & Cape Horn during World War II.
The island is uninhabited and closed to visitors. It has been claimed by both the United States and Russia since World War II. The US administers the island as part of their Aleutian Islands National Wildlife Refuge while Russia maintains a small weather station on its southern tip administered from Unalaska Island, about 800 miles away across the Pacific Ocean . Neither nation is prepared to be the sole caretaker of this remote island.
The Island is not serviced by a regular mail delivery and telephone service is spotty at best. There are arctic mission houses on the northern tip of the island that provide limited services to visitors who can arrange transportation there. It is only accessible by small boat (less than 7 feet). An isolated northern village provides airport security, medical and postal services, radio repair service & fishing supplies. A lighted totem pole serving as a beacon guides planes, ships or boats out of Kiska Inlet to these distant shores.
An unmanned weather station maintains two radios to provide Emergency Broadcast Service for the island at VHS frequencies 1120 kHz AM plus 122 kHz FM repeated on about 30-minute interval cycles 24 hours per day year around except sandy seasons when there is no fog .
The idea of tourism has been brought up on the island but is difficult due to its remote location and lack of amenities. The only visitor services available are from the northern village, which charges a fee. There are no roads, but it is possible to walk or hitch ride around the island on foot. There is a ramshackle lighthouse and mailbox at one end of the island that supports a cast iron wood framed building 70 feet high with concrete block foundations originally used as an observation point/storage shed (closed to public, locked).
There is no regular or scheduled transportation to or from the island, making it difficult for visitors to get there. The only way to reach the island is by small boat (less than 7 feet) which can be difficult to arrange and expensive.
Kiska Island is one of the most fascinating places you will ever visit. Nestled in the Canadian Arctic, it offers visitors a number of activities to enjoy such as hiking, skiing, kayaking and camping. The island is also home to a small population of Inuit who have been living on Kiska for centuries. The island’s terrain ranges from flat tundra to steep mountains, making it a perfect spot for skiing, snowboarding and hiking. Despite its small size, Kiska Island has a rich history that is worth exploring.
1Where Is Kiska Island Located?
Kiska Island is located in the Hudson Bay, approximately 640 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.
What Are The Climate Conditions Like On Kiska Island?
The average temperature on Kiska Island ranges from -2°C in winter to 18°C in summer.
What Kinds Of Wildlife Can Be Found On Kiska Island?
Some of thespecies that can be found on Kiska include polar bears, caribou, eagles and foxes.
What Are The Government Services Available On Kiska Island?
There are limited government services available on Kiska Island, however visitors can access a few harbours and camping areas.
Is There Any Tourist Infrastructure Available On Kiska Island?
No, unfortunately there is no tourism infrastructure available on Kiska Island. However, visitor can enjoy hiking, skiing and kayaking in the area.