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Clam Gulch State Recreation Area

Clam Gulch State Recreation Area
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General Information

Description - *This information is provided by Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation*

Situated on the bluffs overlooking scenic Cook Inlet, the recreation area offers visitors a panoramic view of the Aleutian Mountain Range and its three tallest peaks - Mount Iliamna, Mount Redoubt and Mount Spurr.

The razor clam, a filter feeder that relies on plankton for food, is found on sandy tidal beaches from the Bering Sea to Southern California. However, there are only eight known major concentrations of clams on the Pacific Coast, with four of those in Alaska. The beaches from Clam Gulch to Ninilchik are the most popular razor clam beaches in the state.

The life cycle of razor clams is simple and unique. Razor clams usually reproduce first at age four or five and live about 14 to 18 years. Reproduction is triggered when Cook Inlet waters reach a temperature of about 55 degrees F, usually between late July and early August. Eggs and sperm are released simultaneously into the surf, where fertilization occurs randomly. Although this method of reproduction is not very efficient, the female clam compensates by releasing an estimated five to fifteen million eggs.

After floating in the larval stage for four to six weeks, the clams form a small shell and settle into the sandy tidal beach. The clams are ready for harvest in about four years.

Attractions - Wildlife in the area includes moose, bald eagles, gulls and many small birds and mammals. A wide variety of wild flowers may also be found within the recreation area, including the lupine, Jacob's ladder, wild geranium and the prickly rose.

Recreation - Clams may be dug during any low tide, but a tide of minus two feet or lower is recommended for best results. Consult a tide book for times of minus tides.

Woman Clamming To locate razor clams look for small round dimples or holes on the surface of the sand. Once a dimple has been located use a clam shovel to dig a small hole about six inches from the dimple and search through the sand until you find the clam. Be careful when handling the clams as they are "razor" sharp. State law requires that all clams dug be kept regardless of size and condition. Anyone 16 years or older must have a valid Alaska sport fishing license to dig clams. Contact the Department of Fish and Game for the daily limit of clams per person.

For more information on razor clams contact the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Soldotna at (907)262-9368.

Climate - The climate in Alaska varies with terrain and region. The south-central region of the state is most temperate because it is protected from cold northern winds by the Alaska Range. The large bodies of water that lies closely to this area create a stabilizing factor for the air temperature. Southeast Alaska is wet. An average of 80 inches of rain comes to this region directly from the Gulf of Alaska.

In contrast to the southeastern region, the interior receives very little precipitation. The winters are long in this region with spring, summer and fall taking place from May through September. The western coast of Alaska experiences long, cold winters and short, chilly summers. This area is very far north and at the mercy of huge water bodies that don't warm. Southwestern Alaska experiences foggy, wet summers with high temperatures reaching 60 degrees F. Winters are severe on this long peninsula of land with storms rising from the surrounding waters frequently. The average rainfall for the region is 75 inches/year.

Location - This park is near Ninilchik.

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More Information

Contact Information:
Clam Gulch State Recreation Area , PO Box 1247 , Soldotna, AK, 99669, Phone: (907)262-5581

Additional Information:
Alaska Travel Region - Southcentral -
Alaska State Parks -

Clam Gulch State Recreation Area - Official site of Clam Gulch State Recreation Area


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