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Location/Climate: On Nushagak Bay of Bristol Bay, 380 air miles west-southwest of Anchorage. 26"/yr. precip., 65"/yr. snowfall, 4°F66°F.
Population: 2,243 (55.8 percent native).
Travel Attractions: Wood-Tikchik State Park, Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, and Bristol Bay.
Getting There: Scheduled air service from Anchorage and other points.
Information: Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 348, Main Street, Dillingham, AK 99576, 842-5115, www.nushtel.com/~dlgchmbr.
Dillingham is the regional center of trade and transport for Bristol Bay. Located on the west shore at the head of Nushagak Bay and the confluence of the Wood and Nushagak Rivers, the area has long been populated by Sugpiak Eskimos. In 1818 Russian fur traders erected the Alexandrovsky Trading Post across the bay at the settlement of Nushagak. A mission was established in 1837 and a school was built at the present townsite around 1900. A dozen canneries were in operation in the early 1900s before the influenza epidemic of 191819 killed all but about 500 residents of the region. The Sam Fox Museum preserves regional history (Seward and D Streets, 842-5610).
Today fishing dominates the economy; more than 300 residents hold commercial licenses. The Peter Pan Cannery runs daily tours of historic cannery buildings at 1 p.m. (842-5415). Travelers can take advantage of relatively inexpensive flights from Anchorage to Dillingham to gain access to Wood-Tikchik State Park, Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, and Walrus Islands State Game Refuge. Air and boat shuttle services offer flightseeing, boat tours, drop-offs, and pick-ups (see the Appendix). A road runs about 20 miles north to the town of Aleknagik on the shores of Lake Aleknagik near the south boundary of Wood-Tikchik State Park (see above).
Where to Stay and Eat in Dillingham
Beaver Creek Bed and Breakfast, 842-5500 weekdays, 842-5366 evenings and weekends. Breakfast, airport pick-up, magi (Alaskan sauna).
Bristol Inn, 104 Main Street, 842-2240. Rooms $110$135. The nicest place in town.
Camillas Fishermans Cafe, 842-2929. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Muddy Rudder, 100 Main Street, 842-2634. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Ricardos of Dillingham, 842-1205. Pizza and Mexican, bar.