Tourism in Katmai Country
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Cover photograph:
Joe Phillips of Seattle with rainbow trout, taken on a fly on the Brooks River in 1951. During the 1950s, most fishermen visiting the camps sought out rainbows. Phillips used a Pflueger Medalist fishing reel. Interview with Raymond F. Petersen, December 19, 1991. Photo credit: Don Horter, Wien Collection, Anchorage Museum of History and Art.

Cover drawing:
The Katmai Slider is a dry fly composed of a white poly yarn body with a natural deer hair tail attached by bright red-orange thread. Excellent for silver salmon, steelhead, rainbow trout and grayling, it was developed on the Brooks River and is widely used on Katmai streams. Anthony J. Route, Flies for Alaska (Boulder, Colo., Johnson Books, 1991), 106-08.

List of Maps

List of Tables

List of Photographs



List of Acronyms

Chapter 1. Early History of Katmai National Monument

Chapter 2. Establishing the Northern Consolidated Concession

Chapter 3. Northern Consolidated Concession Operations

Chapter 4. The Wien Consolidated and Wien Alaska Concessions

Chapter 5. The Katmailand Concession Operation

Chapter 6. Other Concession Operations

Chapter 7. Commercial Licenses and Permits



A. Holders of the Katmai Concession Contract

B. Structures in the Concessions Camps

C. National Park Service Officials at Katmai

D. Katmai Visitor Use Statistics, 1956-1990


Index (omitted from the online edition)

Original graphic design by Keith Hoofnagle, National Park Service.

Printed by Arbor Graphic Images, Portland, Oregon.


Map 1. Katmai National Park and Preserve (overview map)

Map 2. Organized Camps in Katmai National Park and Preserve

Map 3. Brooks River Area

Map 4. Brooks Camp Buildings

Map 5. Areas of Commercial Use License Activity


Table 1. Summary of Commercial Use License Activity at Katmai National Park and Preserve, 1980-1990

Table 2. Sports Fishing and Float Trip Activity in Katmai National Park and Preserve, 1980-1990


1. Capt. Joe Griffiths, a KLM pilot, fished at Brooks Camp in 1964.

2. Ray Petersen, barely old enough to vote, flew for Bethel Airways during the mid-1930s.

3. NCA advertised in various sportsman's magazines in the early 1950s.

4. An early-day NCA Katmai tour brochure.

5. In the late 1950s, NCA teamed up with Northwest Airlines to offer Katmai travel packages.

6. Chief Needahbeh, a Penobscot Indian and avid angler, helped publicize the Katmai camps.

7. Bill Hammersly, a local homesteader, managed one of the NCA camps. In the off-season, he promoted visitation to the Katmai region.

8. By the mid-1950s, Brooks River was being advertised as one of the world's top fishing spots.

9. John Walatka operated his own airline in the 1940s. From 1950 until his death in 1970, he teamed up with Ray Petersen to run the Katmai camps.

10. Grosvenor Camp, known as Coville Camp until 1954, was initially composed entirely of framed tents.

11. This photo, looking south, shows a few of the original Brooks Camp cabins. The old camp structures were levelled in the mid-1980s.

12. Anglers casting their line at Brooks Falls in 1954. Note the fish ladder on the left, which was constructed from 1948 to 1950.

13. When Brooks Camp opened, Ray Petersen insisted on limiting Brooks River to fly fishing. Perhaps for that reason, fishing has remained excellent over the years.

14. Breakfast preparations under way in the Brooks Camp cookhouse.

15. Dining at old Brooks Camp was an informal affair in 1954.

16. A corner of one of the Brooks Camp cabins was used as an informal gift shop.

17. Adlai Stevenson, who visited in 1954, was one of many well-known personalities who has signed the Brooks Camp guest register over the years.

18. John Walatka, the longtime camp superintendent, is shown at Nonvianuk Camp filetting a rainbow trout.

19. A Native fish camp, downriver from NCA's Nonvianuk Camp.

20. An aerial photo of Brooks Camp, taken about 1970.

21. Brooks Lodge, August 1968.

22. Brooks Camp cabins, 1971.

23. Inside of one of the Skytel rooms.

24. A sawmill and planing mill were installed at Kulik Camp in 1956. They operated intermittently until the early 1970s.

25. Kulik Lodge in the late 1950s.

26. The interior of Kulik Lodge, 1960.

27. An overview of Kulik Camp in the late 1950s.

28. A similar view of the camp with new improvements, 1960.

29. A group of guests in front of the Panabode cabin at Grosvenor Camp.

30. During the 1950s, many of the guests bound for the Katmai camps flew out of King Salmon on an NCA Cessna.

31. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the concessioner flew a Fairchild F-27B turboprop into the Kulik Lake airstrip from time to time.

32. Vice President Richard Nixon and his wife dedicated the new F-27B in Anchorage in December 1958. Ray Petersen looks on.

33. A Pilatus Porter, used by the concessioner from the early 1960s through the early 1970s.

34. The concessioner flew a Grumman Mallard to the camps in the late 1960s and 1970s.

35. Ray Petersen, president of NCA, and Sigurd Wien, head of Wien Air Alaska, agreed to merge in 1967 into Wien Consolidated Airlines.

36. Wien Consolidated's Board of Directors, taken in 1973.

37. Ray Petersen and Jim Flood. Flood took over the presidency from Petersen in 1976.

Please note: This report is a NPS publication, which is normally considered to be in the public domain. However, this report may contain illustrations that are copies of materials NOT in the public domain, for which one-time reprint permission was obtained prior to publication. Persons wishing to use these illustrations of non-NPS origin for any purpose beyond educational perusal must obtain their own permissions from the owners of the original materials.

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Last Updated: 13-Oct-2004