The deep, ice-free waters of Resurrection Bay have made the port of Seward an important location for centuries.
First, for the Russian fur traders who explored the area in 1792, later for arriving gold rush prospectors for whom Seward was Mile 0 of the famous Iditarod Trail, and today for the fishers, cruise ship operators, kayakers, and marine researchers who use Seward as a base.
Seward still serves a gateway for visitors to Alaska, and for many it is also the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park.
Within this park, the easy Exit Glacier trail and the more strenuous Harding Ice Field trail both provide glimpses of the glacial forces responsible for Seward’s furrowed coastline.
For a closer look at the Resurrection Bay’s wildlife, visit the Alaska SeaLife Center. This non-profit organization maintains both a public aquarium and a cold-water research station in their Seward facility. The center’s research activities includes holistic ecosystem studies, dedicated study of otters, seals, birds, and salmon, and rehabilitation and release for injured marine mammals.
Seward is also the site of the annual Mount Marathon race.
Runners descend on the town for the grueling footrace up its 3,022-foot peak each July 4, while tens of thousands of spectators come to cheer them on and enjoy other holiday festivities.
If your interest in marine life is specifically focused on salmon, visit the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association’s fish weir at Bear Lake. This counting station monitors the number of coho and sockeye that travel through Bear Creek between the salt water of Resurrection Bay and the fresh water of Bear Lake. Caution is needed when visiting the weir, since the name “Bear Creek” was not chosen for poetic effect.
Where there are salmon, there are also bears, so see page 53 for more information on bear safety.