Tourism is quite new to the False Pass area. With the advent of reliable air transportation and Alaska State Ferry service to False Pass, more tourists are appearing every summer. Since there are few developed tourist facilities the focus of tourist activity is on the Wilderness.

Tourists are attracted to the False Pass area for several reasons:

  • Spectacularly beautiful landscapes untouched by human activity.
  • Mountain Climbing: Mts. Shishaldin, Round Top, Isanotski, Westdahl group and Fisher Caldera.
  • Viewing Wildlife: Brown Bear, caribou, wolf, wolverine, river otter, sea otter, fox, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, numerous ducks and geese, tundra swan, sea lions, seals, whales and abundant salmon, halibut etc.

We hope that visitors will respect the wilderness character of our area and help us preserve it for future generations.

This space photo-map shows the location of False Pass on Unimak Island with the Bering Sea to the north and the Gulf of Alaska to the south. The landscape is dominated by rugged volcanic mountains.


The jagged mountain in the foreground is Isanotski Peak (known locally as Ragged Jack), and has had no clearly documented eruption activity in the historical period. In the background is Shishaldin Volcano with smoke coming out of its crater. Shishaldin is currently quite active and had a major eruption in April 1999.

During the early native Aleut period, Sea Otter formed an important part of the local economy. During the Russian occupation period, Sea Otter pelts became the most important commercial product of the Aleutian Islands. The last commercial hunt occurred in 1910. They have now made a comeback and are to be seen quite commonly in the kelp beds of the area.

Gray Whales appear in Isanotski Strait and Ikatan Bay in late April or early May each year, having traveled north from their winter grounds off Baja California. They are commonly seen locally through June, often accompanied by calves. Their only natural enemy in our area is the Orca.

Orcas usually travel in small pods of between 3 and 10 individuals with a large-finned alpha male leading the pod. They may appear in our area any time of the year. They feed on fish, seals, sea lions and whales. Recent research suggests they may be responsible for a decline in the Sea Otter population because their favorite food, pollock, is heavily fished.

Red Fox are numerous in our area and from the 1920's through the 1940's formed an important part of the local economy when they were trapped for their pelts. Foxes are opportunistic hunters and scavengers and eat a wide variety of foods, often living mostly off the beach during winters with heavy snow. Their population may fluctuate widely in synchrony with their favorite prey, the Red-Backed Vole.

This adult Bald Eagle shows the typical white or bald head and black body feathers. It is a year-around resident in the Aleutians. The Alaska Territorial Legislature placed a bounty on Bald Eagles from1917 until 1953 and 50 cents was paid for each set of claws. Approximately 100,000 eagles were taken for bounty. Now, however, the Eagle is protected and they are found in fairly large numbers in the Aleutian area. In winter they often congregate in large numbers where there is a good food source. They are the largest of all the raptors and feed on fish, which they can catch right out of the water, other birds, which they can catch in mid-air, and carrion.

The Bald Eagle is the most common raptor in our area. This is a photo of an immature Bald Eagle before it changes plumage and acquires the white head and black body feathers and yellow beak of the adult. The color change will not happen until the age of five years. The breeding age is also four or five years.

The Emperor Goose or Beach Goose, as it is known locally, is a beautiful winter resident. Most Emperors nest on the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta in Northwestern Alaska. While other species of geese migrate south in the fall, the Emperor stays to feed on kelp, snails and mussels along the beaches during the winter.

The Alaska Brown Bear is the largest bear in the world. The so-called Kodiak and Grizzly bears are variations of the Brown Bear. They are omnivorous in their food habits, feeding primarily on roots and other plant material and Arctic Ground squirrels in the spring. Salmon, berries and vegetation are eaten in the summer and fall. They also routinely scavenge the beaches for dead whales, seals and other animals that may wash up. Bears are very numerous in our area

These Harlequin Ducks are called "Rock Ducks" in our area. They are year-around residents and are commonly seen swimming and diving near kelp beds close to shore. Their nests are seldom seen by people because they choose nesting sites near inland rivers in secluded areas. They are excellent divers and swimmers and feed on mussels, small crabs etc.

This Merganser is a year-around resident in our area. Both the Red Breasted and American Merganser are found in the Aleutians. They are excellent divers and feed primarily on small fish. They frequent both salt water and coastal lagoons and streams.

The common Raven is a year-around resident in the Aleutian area. Ravens are known for their sharp intelligence, playfulness and versatility. Good fliers, they are often seen doing aerial acrobatics. They are very gregarious and make a variety of calls to their companions. They mate for life and may live to be nearly 30 years old.They feed on nearly anything that is remotely edible. Ravens were important symbols for most Alaskan Native Americans and images of Ravens are common in folk art, religion and mythology.

These pelagic Cormorants are locally known as Shags. During the breeding season they develop a small white patch on the body under the wing near the tail, otherwise their feathers are black which shines irridescent in the sunlight. They are proficient divers and feed mostly on fish. They nest on rocky islets or sea cliffs. In winter they roost at night on protected beach cliffs.

Some of these green wingTeal breed in our area and many winter over in the Aleutian area. They are rapid fliers and rise quickly from the water. They are one of the smallest and most beautiful of all the dabbler ducks.

Caribou populations go through large fluctuations on Unimak Island due to wolf and bear predation and other factors. Some of the herd even swims across Isanotski Strait to the Alaska Peninsula. Subsistence hunting is currently allowed by permit.

These early summer flowers, Lupine and Anemone (Lupinus nootkatensis & Anemone narcissaflora), are but two of a very large number of flowering plants in our area. Wave after wave of colorful flowers blanket the landscape from late spring through early fall. Most of the flowering plants are perennials. Besides showy, colorful flowering plants, there are extensive areas of berry-producing plants such as blueberry, salmonberry, crowberry, cranberry and cloudberry. The vegetation in our area at sea level is classified as "Sub-Apline" and so it shares many of the same plant species as areas near the timberline level in the mountains of Oregon, Washington and California.

This plant (Heracleum lanatum), is known locally as "Putchki". It is in the same plant family as carrots and celery. In early spring when the leaf stems are still tender and juicy, the local children pick the stems, peel them and then eat them raw like celery. They have a fairly strong pungent taste.

This Ptarmigan is a common upland game bird in our area. The photo was taken in early spring when the plumage was just beginning to change from the usual winter white to the summer mottled brown colors. Ptarmigan gather in large flocks in the winter and forage mostly on willow, salmonberry, crowberry and other shrub buds. In the summer breeding season the flocks break up and mating pairs move to the high tundra to nest and rear their young.