Construct Gabion Baskets and Protect Oldest Known Archeological Site on Katmai Coast

Katmai National Park & Preserve » Construct Gabion Baskets and Protect Oldest Known Archeological Site on Katmai Coast » Document List

The National Park Service (NPS) is considering the installation of rock-filled wire baskets (gabions) in summer of 2006 to protect the oldest known archeological site at Mink Island on the coast of Katmai National Park and Preserve.

The Mink Island Archeological Site is the oldest dated site on the Katmai coast with occupations spanning over 7,000 years. This site is located within the Amalik Bay Archeological District National Historic Landmark (NHL) on the National Register of Historic Places. The site is open and exposed to seas of the Shelikof Strait. Pursuant to reports of erosion and vandalism and evaluation of site significance, the NPS conducted archeological data recovery at this site between 1997 and 2000. At the end of this four-year project, excavated areas subject to coastal storms were backfilled with biodegradable sand-filled bags and covered with biodegradable geotextile material to protect the site and encourage revegetation at the site. Annual site visits revealed by 2003 that most of the sand bags were missing after winter storms. Storm surges have and are continuing to erode the island, which was formerly much larger in size, for thousands of years, and a significant portion of the remnant archeological site is currently in imminent danger of being washed away in the next few major storms coupled with high tide events. Burials dating back over 1,000 years from present that were eroding from the site have been removed, but additional scattered human remains have been observed on the present erosional surface.

The proposed project would anchor and interlock rock gabions using local beach rock to the bedrock using hand labor. This would protect, stabilize, and preserve the remaining site from future storm events.

Contact Information

Helen Lons
Katmai National Park and Preserve
P.O. Box 7
King Salmon, AK 99613