300 Villages: Larsen Bay

This week, we’re heading to Larsen Bay, a small community on Kodiak Island. Kara Darling works for the tribal office in Larsen Bay.

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“My name is Kara Darling. I live in Larsen Bay, Alaska and I work at the tribal office.

“Well, we are in a bay — Larsen Bay — so we are on the coast, you see the ocean and there’s mountain all around.

“We have about two roads and, um, when you first get there you would see the post office, the school and the city building which is pretty much the extent of our office buildings besides the tribal office and the clinic.”

“We’re known as bear country because we have a lot of bears, um, in Larsen Bay in the summertime. We have about seven different — I think seven — lodges that people come out to see the bears and do the fishing. I think we even had Jonathan Taylor Thomas out here I heard.

“Right outside the tribal there’s a creek that leads to the ocean. And during the summertime you can go out there and just see bears about 10-15 feet away eating fish; and they’ll pretty much just leave you alone or they’ll just eat the fish. And like this last summer me and my supervisor looked out the window and there was a big baby cub just standing on its hind legs about three feet from our office.

“It’s actually even illegal to walk up to our dumpster in the summertime; you have to have a motor vehicle because there’s so many bears.”

“We also have a cannery here, so there’s a lot of people who come from all over the world to work here during summertime.

“In the winter it’s very very quiet… we probably only have, I would say less than 60 people. In the summertime it’s a lot more busy because we have all the lodges open and we have the cannery open.”

“I’ve lived here about a year and a half now.

“The rent is really cheap out here, to be honest. That’s probably one of the best things.

“It’s nice to be in a small community — everybody knows everybody — and practically everybody is related.

“We just had a, this Halloween carnival at the school last weekend — that was a lot of fun. The kids put it on, um, they decorated the gym all spookily and did a cakewalk and sold hot dogs and that type of stuff — played games.”

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