Although our 2019 season was one for the books, we’re already looking forward to next year. Why? Because next season will be our 70th anniversary at Kulik Lodge! With that in mind, Kulik Lodge manager, Bo Bennett, put together a write up for this huge milestone for our humble little fishing lodge.
Give it a read, below!
Looking Ahead to Our 70th Season
A major milestone is occurring at Kulik Lodge next season. When the lodge opens in June, 2020, Kulik will celebrate its 70th year of continuous operation as the premier fishing lodge in the fabulous Bristol Bay region of Southwest Alaska. Those of you old enough may remember Harry S. Truman was President; the average US income was
$3210.00. The average cost of a new home was $8450.00, a new car averaged $1510.00 and a gallon of regular gas was 18 cents. Wow – have things changed.
Kulik has seen many positive changes since Ray Petersen and John Walatka opened the sparse wood-framed tent camp in 1950 on the shores of Kulik Lake- only to relocate and rebuild the camp on Nonvianuk Lake a few weeks later after a vicious windstorm destroyed the camp. Probably the most significant change occurred in 1952 when financier Gordon Rupp demanded “flush toilets” be installed for his next visit. While not every cabin was completed, enough were done to secure Gordon and his wife’s continued financial support.
Kulik modernized slowly over time culminating in 1999 with an addition to the main lodge building, a new kitchen and three new cabins. Sonny Petersen sold the lodge business to the Bristol Bay Native Corporation in 2016. Under their leadership, 2019 saw the replacement of cabins 1, 2 and 3 and the 2020 season will open with a newly surfaced runway, new cabins 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, and upgrades made to cabins 9, 11 and 12; but new cabins and physical upgrades do not make Kulik the legendary fishing lodge it is.
In my book, Rods & Wings: A History of the Lodge Business in Bristol Bay, Alaska, I repeatedly referred to “the way it was.” Unfortunately we cannot turn back the clock to the good old days – if indeed there ever were good old days! Because Kulik was the first and has no peers in terms of continuous operation, I can assure you the fishing database collected since 1950 is monumental. Interestingly enough, however, year after year our clients seem to catch more and bigger fish than seasons past.
One fact remains constant – there are few fishing secrets anymore! What does matter and has mattered to the 15000+ previous Kulik guests is Kulik’s desire to provide a quality experience for every angler we host. In my opinion, that was the essence of Kulik in 1950 and remains our goal for the future.