Bering Expedition Landing Site National Historic Landmark

An island beach with a sloping mountain in background

NPS Photo

Quick Facts

Kayak Island, Alaska
The location of the first documented contact between Russian explorers and people of Alaska
National Historic Landmark designated on June 2, 1978
U.S. Forest Service

A Meeting Place

The Bering Expedition Landing Site on Kayak Island in the Gulf of Alaska is the location of what many consider the first scientific investigation of Northwestern North America. Naturalist Georg W. Steller, a surgeon and naturalist, who accompanied Vitus Bering on the Great Northern Expedition (1733-1743) made the first attempts at contacts between Europeans and natives of Alaska. Steller’s observations, recorded in his journal, are among the first contributions to the West’s knowledge of the natural and human history of this area of the world.

There are no known remains that survive as evidence of the 1741 landing, yet the descriptions by Steller in his journal, which were later published, documented the location of the landing site on the island.

Additional Information

Steller's Journal of the Sea Voyage from Kamchatka to America and Return on the Second Expedition, 1741-1742. Translated and annotated by Frank A. Golder, Leonhard Stejneger, and Ellsworth P. Bertholf. American Geographical Society, New York, 1922.

National Register of Historic Places - Official Nomination Form

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