Scammon Bay is a village in the Calista Region located a mile away from the Bering Sea. The community sits along the south bank of the Kun River, a waterway filled with rainbow trout, red, silver and king salmon. To the south towers the 2,300-foot Askinuk Mountains.
Scammon Bay is home to 518 residents, according to a 2013 State of Alaska Department of Labor estimate. This Yup’ik community was given the Eskimo name Mariak and its residents were called Mariagamiut . The community’s name changed to honor Captain Charles Scammon, who was the marine chief of the Western Union Telegraph Expedition during the mid 1800’s. Captain Scammon’s expedition studied the Bering Sea in hopes of laying a telegraph cable under the ocean from California to Russia. Ultimately, the expedition failed but the data collected by Scammon proved to be very useful.
The Yup’ik Eskimo community practices subsistence, harvesting moose, seals, salmon and waterfowl from the land. Every summer, many of the residents make the 50-mile trek north to the Black River for fish camp. Several people also hold commercial fishing permits for the Bering Sea.
Snowmachines and skiffs are the most common forms of transportation in the village. There is a state-maintained airstrip but the maritime climates can cause weather delays for pilots. Severe easterly winds during the fall and winter limit accessibility, according to the state. Temperatures swing between -25 and 79 °F, with an annual precipitation of 14 inches and 65 inches of snow.
Residents of Scammon Bay describe their community as hardworking. They say everyone tries to live by the values of Yuuyaraq, the Yup’ik word for way of life; the fundamental principles are honesty, caring, sharing and hard work. Scammon Bay is a community committed to preserving its culture and traditional values.