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USCGC Sycamore: Keeper of the Sound

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Area Information

Welcome to Cordova, Alaska


Cordova is a small fishing community located at the southeastern end of Prince William Sound in South Central Alaska. It lies at approximately 60 33' N Latitude, 145 46' W Longitude. It is about 150 air miles southeast of Anchorage and 50 air miles south of Valdez. Cordova can only be reached by plane or ferry. The Copper River Highway extends 36 miles outside of town. The bridge that accesses the Million Dollar Bridge and Child's Glacier was washed out and will most likely not be re-built until 2015.


 Cordova is built on Orca Inlet, which was originally called "Puerto Cordova" by Don Salvador Fidalgo in 1790. Within the next hundred years, a small settlement had grown around the native village of Eyak. Michael Heney, the builder of the Copper River and Northwestern Railroad, moved the town a little and named it "Cordova" in 1906. The community was officially established in 1908. The area has a strong Alaskan Native heritage, most notably the Eyaks. The Kennecott Copper Mine located up the Copper River produced over $200 million by the time it closed in 1938. Although fishing had always been part of the community's economy, it became the predominant industry by the 1940s. Even today, the famed wild Copper River salmon is fanatically sought by local anglers and commercial fishermen alike. The 1964 Good Friday earthquake raised the seafloor of Cordova making it inaccessible to large cruise ships. This along with the lack of a road to the outside world has given Cordova the reputation as being one of Alaska's best kept secrets.


Things to do outside:

Cordova is a haven for any outdoor enthusiast. Hunting, fishing, hiking, bird watching, skiing, four wheeling, boating (including kayaking and canoeing) and berry picking opportunities abound year round. Check out the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for hunting and fishing rMap of Alaskaegulations. See the U.S. Forest Service for information on the numerous hiking trails and rental cabins as well as flora and fauna. The Ice Worm Festival is celebrated in February with great fanfare. It is a great break during winter with a parade, contests and a Miss Ice Worm. In May, the Shorebird Festival celebrates around 14 million birds as they transit back to Alaska from their southern hiatus. The Copper River Wild Salmon Festival in July celebrates the beginning of the salmon runs (there are five species) and includes food, music and a marathon.

Things to do inside:

All members and dependents are free to use the Bidarki gym (Council & 2nd St.) and the Korn Memorial swimming pool (near City Hall/AC Value Center). The Library and museum are on 1st street. If you enjoy crafts, there are several craft stores in town. Although there is not a commercial movie theater, movies are shown periodically as fundraisers or through the Library. There are also various places in town where you can rent DVDs.


Cordova receives about 170 inches of precipitation each year, half of which is snowfall. This is a very wet place. It is important to note that during the winter you can go from snow to sleet to rain and back to snow all in one day! Bring good wet weather, layered coats, waterproof gloves etc. Also, it can be very icy in the winter so you may want to bring 'grippers' for your feet. Temperatures average in the winter between 15 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit and in the summer between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. During the winter, it can get pretty dry with humidity dropping to 30% inside, so you may want to bring a humidifier for your bedroom.


Two places to check for employment opportunities in Cordova are the Alaska Job Bank (select Gulf Coast) and the City of Cordova. It may, however, be easiest to look for work once situated in Cordova. There are also various volunteer opportunities including various churches, organizations, the schools and the historical society.


Cordova Public Schools are Mt. Eccles Elementary (907)424-3236 and Cordova Jr/Sr High School (907)424-3266. There is also the Cordova branch of the Prince William Sound Community College (907)424-7598. Preschools available are the Baptist Church (907)424-7771 and Children's Pallas (907)424-4323.


There are three grocery stores in Cordova, one on 1st street and two by the boat harbor. On 1st (Main) Street there is a bookstore, hardware store, organic store/gift shop, a drugstore/ electronics store, gift shop, diner, hotel & bar, Salvation Army thrift shop, Wells Fargo Bank and First National Bank Alaska. Ask your Sponsor for a Cordova Phone Book to get a better feel of what is in town. There is one gas station on 1st Street across from the library. There is one veterinarian (907-424-3498) which comes to Cordova regularly (they post info on scanner channel) and one pet store located on Council Ave. If there are any specialty food or non-perishable foods that you can stock up on you may want to do so prior to arriving. In general, all specialty and heavy items will cost more in Cordova, and delivery, if you order something will also take a little longer. If you are planning to keep any of your hunting/fishing spoils you may want to bring a stand alone freezer.


All dependents whether claiming residency or not (and members claiming residency) must obtain an Alaska driver's license within 90 day of moving to the state. This requires a written test and fee. The DMV office is located in the bottom of the Prince William Sound Community College and is currently open M-W.


Cordova Times: (907)424-7181. KLAM/KCDV Radio: (907)424-3796. There is also the "scanner" TV channel 6 where almost anything going on in town is posted.


There is no mail delivery to street addresses in Cordova. Coast Guard members and dependents are not charged the PO Box rental fee, however, do have to pay the key deposit. You can call the Post Office (907) 424-3564 prior to moving to set up your mail box. UPS does deliver M-F to street addresses.


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Last Modified 4/18/2013