False Pass is located on the eastern shore of Unimak Island on a strait connecting the Pacific Gulf of Alaska to the Bering Sea. It is 646 air miles southwest of Anchorage.
Official Tribal Name: Native Village of False Pass
Recognition Status: Federally Recognized
Alaskan Ethnic Group: Aleut
Alaskan Native Culture: The community is primarily Unangan (Aleut).
Alaska Geographical Region: Aleut Region
Alaska Borough / Census Area: Alutians East
Alaska Native Regional Corporation: Aleut Corporation, (Official Website)
Alaskan Village Corporation: Isanotski Corporation
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The name False Pass is derived from the fact that the Bering Sea side of the strait is extremely shallow and cannot accommodate large vessels.
The area was originally settled by a homesteader in the early 1900s, and grew with the establishment of a cannery in 1917. Natives immigrated from Morzhovoi, Sanak Island and Ikatan when the cannery was built.
The cannery has operated continuously, except for 1973 – 1976, when two hard winters depleted the fish resources. The cannery was subsequently purchased by Peter Pan Seafoods.
It was destroyed by fire in 1984, and was not rebuilt.
The City was incorporated in 1990.
Climate and Topography:
False Pass lies in the maritime climate zone. Temperatures range from 11 to 55 degrees farenheit. Snowfall averages 56 inches, with total annual precipitation of 33 inches.
Prevailing southeast winds are constant and often strong during winter. Fog is common during summer months.
Transportation Services and Facilities:
Boats and aircraft provide the only means of transportation into False Pass. A state-owned 2,100 foot gravel airstrip and a seaplane base are available. Mail and passenger flights arrive three times weekly.
There is no boat harbor, but new dock facilities and a boat ramp were recently completed. A boat haul-out and storage facility are under construction.
Cargo barges are available from Seattle.
No local taxi or delivery services exist in False Pass.
The State Ferry operates bi-monthly from Kodiak between May and October.
Local Governmental Services:
A post office was established in 1921.
Other Services and Utilities:
Water is derived from a nearby spring and reservoir, is treated and stored in a 60,000-gallon tank. Most homes are connected to the piped water system. Almost 80% of homes are fully plumbed.
Many residents have individual septic tanks; wastewater from seafood processing flows directly into an outfall line.
The City collects refuse twice a week. There are no recycling programs available.
Water system improvements and a new landfill are needed.
Employment / Economy:
Fishing, fish processing and subsistence activities are the mainstays of the lifestyle. The local economy is driven by commercial salmon fishing and fishing services.
False Pass is an important refueling stop for Bristol Bay and Bering Sea fishing fleets. 11 residents hold commercial fishing permits.
A floating processor from Homer, The Dipper, began processing salt cod in January 2000 for the Norwegian company Aleutian Quality Seafoods.
Bering Pacific Seafoods also opened in June 2000.
Cash income is supplemented by subsistence hunting and fishing. Salmon, halibut, geese, caribou, seals and wild cattle on Sanak Island are utilized.
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