People

Archeological, ethnographic, and historic research tell us that people first came to the Lake Clark region around the end of the last ice age. Dena'ina, Yup'ik, and Sugpiaq peoples, Russian explorers, gold prospectors, trappers, aviators, and American pioneers are the forebearers of today's residents.

Residents of communities around the Park and Preserve have hunted, fished, and gathered berries and other materials from the land for many generations. Six Resident Zone Communities are identified for Lake Clark National Park and Preserve:

Lime Village, Port Alsworth, Nondalton, Iliamna, Newhalen, and Pedro Bay

English is primarily spoken throughout the area now, but there are still Dena'ina and Yup'ik speakers in these rural areas as well. The majority of the residents in these villages are Dena'ina, an Athabascan-speaking people, but there is a mix of various ethnicities throughout the area. While Nondalton and Lime Village are primarily Dena'ina, Newhalen is primarily Yup'ik speaking. Iliamna is home to Dena'ina, Yup'ik, European American and people of other ethnic groups.

Port Alsworth

Port Alsworth is where the Park Headquarters and Visitor Center are located. It has a large European American base, and a unique history of developing around mining and trapping interests, but has also been home to a core of Dena'ina families from the north.

The current land status divisions in and around Lake Clark National Park & Preserve is a complicated quilt of various kinds of land ownership. There are homesteads, Native allotments, lands and subsurface rights claimed by village or regional Native corporations, and navigable waters controlled by the state. Prior to these divisions, and for many years into the distant past, lands that now make up Lake Clark National Park & Preserve were occupied by communities of people who settled primarily on the shores of lakes, along rivers, and at the confluence of rivers and streams.

Meet the People of Lake Clark

 
a sunset on a lake with trees in the foreground

Connected to the Land: Dena'ina Culture

Qizhjeh Vena/Lake Clark is the ancestral homelands for the Dena'ina Athabascan people. Discover more about people that call this area home.

Dr. de Laguna stands with other archeologists on a steam ship

Frederica de Laguna

An anthropologist and archeologist known for seminal work in the Cook Inlet region, Prince William Sound, and other regions of Alaska.

Historic image of woman playing accordion and man playing guitar.

Katie Trefon Wilson

Discover Katie Trefon Wilson's perspective of growing up in the early 1900s at Tanalian Point, in rural Alaska.

Vintage photo of a man filming with an old movie camera on a tripod near a blue lake and mountains.

Proenneke: the Man, the Myth, the Legend

The source of Sam Keith's book "One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey," Proenneke embodies humanity's fascination with wilderness.

a black and white picture of a man with a dapper mustache

Charles L. McKay

A Smithsonian biologist in Nushagak, Alaska from 1881-1883

a man stands next to a wood cabin

Joe Thompson

Thompson's craftmanship and skilled work played a significant role in the development of Lake Clark area.

Historic photo of woman and child in front of tent with fish and furs in foreground.

Story of a Photo: A Grateful Heart

The land and water continue to provide physical and spiritual sustenance for the Dena’ina people.

Last updated: June 18, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 227
Port Alsworth, AK 99653

Phone:

(907) 781-2218

Contact Us