Polly Creek, Cook Inlet

Polly Creek is on the west shore of Cook Inlet and within Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. The tide flats of Polly Creek have supported a razor clam fishery for centuries. Ancient house pits provide evidence that a Dena'ina village was once located here. Since the early 20th century commercial operations provided clams to the Snug Harbor cannery on Chisik Island as well as canneries in Seldovia. Today Polly Creek supports the only commercial razor clam fishery in Alaska. Clams are hand dug by seasonal workers that live in tents from mid-May to mid-August. They are paid by the pound for digging razor clams along a six-mile stretch of shoreline between Polly Creek and the Crescent River. The job is back-breaking work performed in a beautiful landscape. When the tides are very low, the clam diggers walk to the beaches or take a skiff or raft to harvest clams, returning to camp when their buckets are full. Individual workers can harvest about 200 to 250 pounds a day. Coolers are filled with whole clams and flown four to six times a day from the beach to the Pacific Alaska Shellfish plant in Nikiski. Read more here and here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore the beaches of Polly Creek.