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Volcanoes on the Alaska Peninsula
Peulik Volcano and cottongrass meadow
Gorge in Valley of 10,000 Smokes
Hiker near Chiginagak Volcano
Peulik Volcano and Ukinrek Maars
The Alaska Peninsula is a peninsula extending about to the southwest from the mainland of Alaskamarker and ending in the Aleutian Islandsmarker. The peninsula separates the Pacificmarker Ocean from Bristol Baymarker, an arm of the Bering Seamarker.

In literature (especially Russian) the term ‘Alaska Peninsula’ was used to denote the northwest part of North America, or all of what is now the state of Alaskamarker with the exception of the Aleutian Islandsmarker and the Alaska Panhandlemarker.

Geography

The Aleutian Range is a highly active volcanic mountain range which runs along the entire length of the Peninsula. Within the Peninsula are several U.S. National Parks and Wildlife Refuges, including the Katmai National Park and Preservemarker, the Aniakchak National Monument and Preservemarker and the Becharof National Wildlife Refugemarker, the Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refugemarker, and the Izembek National Wildlife Refugemarker.

The southern side of the Alaska Peninsula is rugged and mountainous, created by the uplifting tectonic activity of the North Pacific Plate subsiding under a western section of the North American Plate; the northern side is generally flat and marshy, a result of millennia of erosion and general seismic stability. The northern and southern shores are likewise quite different. The northern Bristol Baymarker coastal side is generally turbid and muddy, experiences tidal extremes, and is relatively shallow; the Pacificmarker side has relatively small tidal activity and is deep and clear.

Administration

All of the Peninsula is organized as a part of four adjacent boroughs; the Aleutians East Borough, Bristol Bay Borough, Kodiak Island Borough, and Lake and Peninsula Borough; and also the entire small Bristol Bay Borough. The Lake and Peninsula Borough includes most of the peninsula's territory.

Climate

Average annual precipitation ranges from 24 to 65 in (610 to 1,650 mm). Coastal areas are subject to intense storms, wind, and rain. Winter temperatures average between -11°C and 1°C, and in summer between 6°C and 15°. Frosts can occur any day of the year at higher elevations. The climate can be compared to that of the Aleutian Islandsmarker, Icelandmarker, and Tierra del Fuegomarker.

Flora and fauna

The peninsula is devoid of trees.The Alaska Peninsula and Bristol Baymarker are home to the world's largest sockeye salmon runs in large part because the Alaska Peninsula is host to so many large lakes, which are an important element in the lifecycle of Oncorhynchus nerka, sockeye salmon. These salmon, after returning from their short life at sea, swim into the lakes and their contributing streams to spawn. Their offspring, or fry, overwinter in the deep and food-abundant depths of these lakes until their migration to the sea in one or two years.

The Alaska Peninsula is also home to some of the largest populations of native and undisturbed wildlife in the United States. Besides the famous McNeil Rivermarker and Katmai brown bear populations, large herds of caribou, moose, wolves and waterfowl inhabit the area.

Exceptionally large seabird colonies exist along the coast.

Demographics

Besides the communities on the (see: Bristol Baymarker) coast, the Alaska Peninsula also is home to several well-known villages: Cold Baymarker, King Covemarker, Perryvillemarker, Chignikmarker, Chignik Lakemarker, Chignik Lagoonmarker, and Port Moller. Each is primarily inhabited by Alaska Natives and each, likewise, is mostly dependent on the fishing industry for sustinance.The village of Sand Pointmarker should be included here, despite its location on Popof Island, an island of the Sumagin Islands, just off the southern coast of the Peninsula.

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