Description - *This information is provided by Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation*
It was settled in the early 1800's by Russian colonists. They subsided on fishing, hunting, trapping and gardening. When Alaska was sold to the United States, many of these settlers decided to stay on. Some of the old buildings still exist in the Ninilchik village and many descendants of the old families still live here.
Today, Ninilchik has become a popular staging area for world class salmon and halibut fishing. Mt. Iliamna and Mt. Redoubt, both active volcanoes, greet visitors to the area. While your are in Ninilchik, be sure to see the experience the historical Ninilchik Village and the Russian Orthodox Church.
- The beaches from Clam Gulch to Ninilchik are the most popular areas for digging razor clams in Alaska. The razor clam, a filter feeder, relies on plankton for food. The life cycle of the razor clams is simple and unique. Razor clams usually reproduce first at age four to five, and live about 14 to 18 years. Reproduction is triggered when Cook Inlet waters reach a temperature of about 55 degrees Fahrenheit, usually between late July and early August.
Eggs and sperm are released simultaneously into the surf, where fertilization occurs by chance. Although this method of reproduction is not very efficient, the female clam compensates by releasing an estimated 5 to 15 million eggs. After floating in the larval stage for 4 to 6 weeks, the clams form a small shell and settle into the sandy tidal beach. The clams are ready to harvest in about four years.
Clams may be dug during any minus tide, but a tide of minus two feet or lower is recommended for best results. State law requires that all clams dug be kept regardless of size or 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.
Recreation - Ninilchik Beach - Located at mile 135 of the Sterling Hwy. This is a popular beach for razor clamming. During minus tides there is access to the clamming beds adjacent to the campgrounds. Use caution when working these two areas during incoming tides and please guard against over-exertion. There is a day-use parking area and campsites at Ninilchik Beach.
Ninilchik River - Located at mile 134.5 of the Sterling Hwy. In this beautiful forest there are developed campsites, one group picnic shelter and a hiking trail to the river. The area is home to a variety of birds and small animals. Moose are seen occasionally and there is an abundance of wildflowers.
Ninilchik Scenic Overlook - Located at mile 135.1 of the Sterling Hwy. This ia a great place to view the Ninilchik River and watch the eagles soar.
Ninilchik View - Located at mile 135.7 of the Sterling Hwy. This campground is located on a bluff above Ninilchik Beach. A stairway leads down the bluff to the beach. Bald eagles, squirrels and magpies make their home in this forest setting.
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.
Ninilchik State Recreation Area is located on the west side of the Kenai Peninsula, about 40 miles south of Soldotna.