Unalaska Island



Unalaska Island


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Unalaska Island is an uninhabited island located in the eastern Bering Sea, about 160 km east of Dutch Harbor, Alaska. It’s the northernmost island in the US state of Alaska, and the easternmost point of mainland North America. The island is part of the Aleutian Islands chain and was part of the Russian Empire until sold to the United States in 1867. Unalaska Island is 8,969 acres (3,567 ha) in size.

Unalaska Island



Unalaska Island was first visited by Europeans on August 17, 1596, when the Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan saw it from afar and named it Isla de San Francisco after Saint Francis of Assisi. On March 20, 1867 Unalaska Island was sold to the United States for $50,000. The island then served as a military base during World War II and later became home to a naval air station.

In 1988 a portion of Unalaska Island was designated as Wilderness Area (WA-401) under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). The first nuclear reactors at the former Naval Air Station at Unalaska Island began operating in 1965, operated by Babcock and Wilcox. Several other nuclear facilities have since been built on the island, with several decommissioned ones closed.

Units 3 through 5 were populated between 1966 and 1988, but not as of 2006 due to high costs of operation compared to global cooling fuel usage risk per kW-year (source: Nuclear Information Clearinghouse).


The climate is temperate, with strong seasonal variations. The average annual temperature is about 10 °C (50 °F). There are no monthly averages below −5 °C (−21 °F) and three monthly averages above 30°C (86°F). Periods of heavy fog are characteristic.

Useful for aviation: Unalaska has a warm summer average, and temperatures there routinely have lower differences between day and night than other places on earth (US stations). That is why the USAAF chose this as one of three seaports to serve as emergency bases in case of attack by Japan. The East Umpqua Mountains formed a natural barrier separating Corvina Bay from Awaki Inlet, where seaplanes on final approach could land without risk that they would collide with nearby mountainsides or cliffs. Scenery at Unalaska was used by Walker Evans & John Tauler in 1942.

The southern tip of the island, after which Unalaska means ‘southern extremity’ (un taarsaaq ), is part of the Aleutian Range bordering on Chichagof Island across Kanakanai Strait and British Columbia, Canada (a sub-range of the Alaskan Mountains).


The only permanent population on the island is a U.S. Coast Guard station and its related support facilities. The other residents are transient workers who come to do summer cleaning or construction, as well as contract researchers employed by universities and government laboratories on the island year-round.

Unalaska also has a Russian military base abandoned in 1993 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union; currently it houses a few hundred personnel living in tents while they await instructions from Moscow concerning their future status .

Unalaska Island has the second-largest concentration of military personnel (768) in Alaska, after Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson. The detachment is primarily involved with search and rescue as well as icebreaking duties across the Bering Sea.

July 2010 saw a sudden jump in base population when 25 physicists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who had been living on Unalaska for two weeks working on an experiment to develop new high-capacity disintegration chambers at lesser expense than their normal facility near Sunnyvale, California were told there was no more funding but could stay because of staff shortages.

The main economy of Unalaska is fishing and shipping to Alaska mainland, as well as salmon farming for spawning.


The island is a part of the Unalaska District, one of fiveods in Alaska. The other four are: Anchorage, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Kenai Peninsula Borough and Kodiak Island Borough.

The 2010 United States Census revealed that the population was 1,724 (1 July 2010). There were 868 households out of which 37.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.5% were married couples living together, 7.4% had a female householder with no husband present and 26.8% were non-families . 17.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.24.

Government services

The island government provides fire protection and ambulance service.



The only transportation on the island is by boat, as there is no airport or road access. Each year the U.S. Coast Guard spends more than $2 million per year on contracts with boat operators, who in turn depend economically upon it; there are no trucking services to Unalaska and Anchorage due to a lack of road access for hauling supplies either short or long distances by truck..

Unalaska has many boating adventures each summer from July–August: whale watches available daily (July-Aug) some level of fishing charters ,canoe expeditions.


Unalaska Island is one of the United States’ most remote and inaccessible places. It also happens to be one of the most diverse islands in the country, boasting a wide variety of plant and animal life. Spanning over 1,000 square miles, Unalaska is home to more than 400 plant species, as well as 37 mammal, reptile, and bird species. Visitors can enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, birdwatching, and more in the wilderness.


What Is The Population Of Unalaska Island?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it changes on a regular basis, depending on the season and number of visitors. However, according to some estimates, there are currently only about 50 permanent residents living on Unalaska Island – most notably Native Alaskans and service workers who live in small villages scattered around the island.

Is Unalaska An Inhabited Place?

No – it’s an uninhabited island that is part of the US state of Alaska.

How Long Has Unalaska Island Been Inhabited?

Unalaska Island has probably not been continuously occupied for very long – estimates range from several hundred years to more than 500. However, people have probably lived on Unalaska since at least the early 14th century .

What Is The Climate On Unalaska Island?

The climate on Unalaska Island is generally mild, with a range of temperature from around −63 °F (−53 °C) in winter to 68 °F (20 °C) in summer. However, there are also significant variations between different parts of the island – for example, Bethel has an average July temperature of 81.8° F (27.2° C), while Wrangell experiences an average January temperature of 34.2 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 degree Celsius).

  1. What Do People Use To Access Unalaska Island And To Live There?

People who want to get off the ground on Unalaska must either be willing or able pay a $1,200 round trip flight.

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