How we rescued the Ascension of our Lord Church in Karluk, Alaska, from falling off a cliff

Source: National Park Service

December 9, 2021


Alaska’s Kodiak Island is the second largest island in the United States. It is the homeland and traditional territory of the Alutiiq/Sugpiaq people.

On the west coast of the island lies the village of Karluk. It sits at the mouth of the Karluk River, one of the most important salmon fisheries in the world. Alutiiq speakers refer to Karluk Village as Kal’ut. This translates in English to “sun sets,” which speaks to its strikingly beautiful setting. The settlement is nestled on the shores of the Karluk Lagoon, flanked by dramatic hillsides rising up to cliffs that tower above Shelikof Strait. People have lived in the Karluk area for at least six thousand years, and possibly longer.

Since the early twentieth-century, ships have traveled the fierce and unpredictable waters of Shelikof Strait. From afar, seafarers can see the gleaming Ascension of Our Lord Church perched high on a hillside where the river meets the sea. The sight of the church brings them relief and comfort. The prominent and iconic church, a structure of remarkable architectural ingenuity, is a beacon of hope for ships on the strait. And it has been a sacred place of worship and gathering for Karluk residents for well over a century.

It was also almost lost forever.

... Read the rest at National Park Service.


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