Kitten Pass, Pye Islands

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Kitten Pass, Pye Islands

by | Dec 28, 2019

Kitten Pass is a water passage between Rabbit Island and Outer Island, in the Pye Islands group of the Alaska Maritime Wildlife Refuge, about 48 miles (77 km) east-southeast of Seldovia, and 63 miles (102 km) southwest of Seward, Alaska. The pass was named in 1927 by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, presumably suggested by nearby Wildcat Pass. The Pye Islands are on the east side of Nuka Bay and first shown on charts in 1786 by Captain Nathaniel Portlock and named “Pye’s Islands”. These islands were called “Ostrova Piy” or “Piy Islands” by Captain Tebenkov in 1852 and “Pye Islands” by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries in 1888.

In 1940, the Aircraft Warning Service, part of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, received authorization to construct a network of observing stations to warn of approaching hostile aircraft. In October 1942, the Alaska’s Air Defense Plan was expanded to include Very High Frequency stations. The Outer Island Aircraft Warning Service Station was built in response to these initiatives. Outer Island was one of more than 20 Alaska AWS stations which were either operating or under construction by the end of 1942.

By August 1942, a small temporary construction camp was established at the island’s southeastern tip, about 325 feet (99 m) above sea level. The plans for the camp were to house 150 men, with buildings that included a headquarters, two 50-man barracks, three Quonset huts for materials storage, three latrines, a cold storage building, a powerhouse, and the detector site. Water would be provided by two concrete-lined storage tanks, connected to the camp by water lines. The camp would be connected to a landing site at Kitten Pass on the north side of the island by a dirt road. The landing site had a dock located at the base of a cliff, that was connected to the road by a short aerial tram and stairway. Read more here and here. Explore more of Kitten Pass and Outer Island here:

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