Seldovia may be secluded and off the beaten path; however, it’s waiting to welcome adventurers. Located on the south shore of Kachemak Bay, Seldovia represents one of the Kenai Peninsula's best kept secrets. Those seeking an accessible Alaskan experience will enjoy all that Seldovia has to offer: nature trails, beaches, wildlife, small-town atmosphere and friendly people. Whether you choose to spend a day or a lifetime, there's plenty to discover.
Seldovia offers nearly 200 beds in its 20 recreational lodging facilities for overnight guests. Seldovia has a planted king salmon run, five sport fishing charter operations, and sees sport fishing as a significant tourist attraction. Seldovia also has several hunting guides who lead visitors on black bear and wildfowl hunts. Wildlife viewing is also a major tourist draw. Seldovia has two bicycle rental businesses, a kayak rental business, an ATV rental business, and two well maintained hiking trails for use by visitors.
The Alutiiq were the original residents of Seldovia at least 2,000 years ago. Seldovia’s modern history began in the 1800s when Russian settlers came to the area following the discovery of a coal mine. The bay was originally named "Zaliv Seldevoy," meaning "Herring Bay", from which the present name of Seldovia is derived. In the 1870s Seldovia became a fur-hunting and trading center, making the town one of the oldest in the Cook Inlet area. In the early 1900s Seldovia became a stopping off place for prospectors en route to the gold fields in Alaska’s interior. The first salmon cannery was built in 1910. In the 1920s many Scandinavians immigrated to Seldovia to capitalize on the herring boom. The City of Seldovia was incorporated in 1945. In 1964 the land mass on which Seldovia was built subsided four feet due to the Good Friday earthquake and the town was subsequently rebuilt above high tide levels.
The City of Seldovia was incorporated as a first class city in 1945 and has a Council-Manager form of government. Seldovia is home to the Seldovia Village Tribe, a federally recognized Alaska Native Tribe and is also home to a for-profit Native village corporation, the Seldovia Native Association, Inc., formed by Congress in 1972 under the Alaska Natives Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). The Seldovia Village Tribe (SVT) became a federally recognized Indian Tribe in 1992. Their mission is to promote the wellness of their people and communities through health care and social services, economic development and education.
The Seldovia Village Tribe has a unique history and their people are a blend of several native cultures including Aleut, Yupik, Alutiiq and Athabascan peoples. Seldovia Bay's geographic location as the boundary between the ancient Alutiiq and Athabascans, and the actions of nineteenth century Russian Americans created the blend. From the 1850's Russian traders moved Aleuts and Alutiiq from their homelands to a new fur buying/trading post established at Seldovia Bay. Following the American purchase of Alaska the official Russians moved out. Additional native peoples and northern Europeans came to Seldovia drawn by the rich marine resources. In the following hundred years, the native peoples of Seldovia coalesced into one united Tribe always led by one accepted leader. This blending of distinct Alaskan cultures resulted in unique strengths demonstrated by Seldovia Village Tribe today and evident by the number of its members who have filled leadership positions in the Alaska Native Village and Regional Corporations and the Alaska Native Health Care services.
In 2009, the Seldovia Village Tribe unveiled a new permanent exhibit in Seldovia depicting the culture and history of the Dena'ina, Aleut and Sugpiaq peoples who have inhabited the Seldovia area for millennia. The exhibit tells of the origins, lifeways and the traditional and contemporary subsistence activities of the Native tribes that called the Seldovia area home. It also speaks fo the later Russian influence and how that shaped Seldovia as we know it today. In addition to the cultural artifacts and stories, specimens of flora and fauna from the area are displayed to give visitors from afar a glimpse at Seldovia's natural abundance. The exhibit is located at the SVT Visitors Center - 206 Main Street, Seldovia, Alaska and is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.
The Seldovia Village Tribe has produced the following brochures as an introductory guide to visitors:
Seldovia offers a rich and diverse community for the arts. In addition to providing a source of inspiration and home to local artists, the community offers the following events:
The Seldovia Chamber of Commerce coordinates the famous Seldovia 4th of July Celebration and Seldovia Invitational Chainsaw Carving Contest, with support from the entire Seldovia community. See the Seldovia Chamber of Commerce web site for more details.
The Seldovia Arts Council sponsors the Seldovia Summer Solstice Music Festival, a two day event featuring evening performances, afternoon workshops and artist jams throughout the community. Visit Seldovia Summer Solstice Music Festival web site for more information.
Seldovia is located at the base of the Kenai Mountains along the south shore of Kachemak Bay. Here, the waters and land are abundant with life. Please be respectful and help us keep Seldovia clean while you enjoy your time in Seldovia. The following trails offer representational views of the area and excellent opportunities to observe wildlife in their natural environment:
The Otterbahn Trail is about one and a half miles round trip. Beginning in Seldovia, it traverses the coastline through Spruce woods to Outside Beach. The trail crosses woodland meadows, salt marsh and a small creek at the beach. There are boardwalks to traverse the meadow and salt marsh and we ask that you respect the natural environment and stay on the trail. Once you reach the beach, there is a small creek to cross and restrooms available. Hiking boots, water sandals or rain boots are advised. The Indigenous Plants of Seldovia brochure includes area trail maps - please stay on the marked trails..
The Rocky Ridge Trail is a three mile loop through spruce forest with views of Seldovia Bay. This trail is rich in berries and shows the diversity of natural plants in the area. The trail may be challenging as it climbs to the ridge. Water, lightweight rain gear and sturdy shoes are advised. The Indigenous Plants of Seldovia brochure includes area trail maps - please stay on the marked trails.
In 1964 an earthquake changed Seldovia forever as the Seldovia land mass subsided four feet. Following the quake, the town underwent significant renewal; however, one stretch of boardwalk remains adjacent to the Seldovia Slough. This easy walk allows for views of Seldovia's past and opportunities to observe birds take fish from the Seldovia Slough.
A national historic site, the Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church has stood on the hill above Main Street welcoming returning sailors and visitors to Seldovia since 1891. The Church has served as place of worship, as a community center and as an educational facility. The Alaska State Legislature funded a grant to restore the Church in 1981. The Saint Nicholas Church continues to serve as a Seldovia community focal point and place of worship.
Seldovia offers nearly 200 beds in its lodging facilities for overnight guests.
In addition, tent and camping facilities are located at Outside Beach at the end of the Otterbahn Trail. All campers must register and pay a small daily usage fee at the City of Seldovia Offices (907) 234-7643.
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