About This Place
False Pass (Isanax̂ in Aleut) is a city in Aleutians East Borough, Alaska, United States. Isanax̂ (variously spelled Issannakh, Isanak etc.) is the Aleut name for present day Isanotski Strait and means gap, hole, rent, or tear in the Aleut language which was rendered as Isanotski (or Issanakskie, Isanotskoi, Isanakh etc.) in transliterated Russian. The strait appears as Исанакъ in 1802 and Исаноцкый in 1844 on Russian maps. Isanotski Strait lies between the tip of the Alaska Peninsula and Unimak Island, the first of the Aleutian Islands and it connects the northern Gulf of Alaska with the Bering Sea. This strait was used for safe passage for millennia by Aleuts and later by the Russians during their occupation of the area. The strait is used today by most vessels less than 200 feet in length traveling to and from northern Alaska and points in southwest and southeast Alaska and the "lower 48" states.
False Pass is an early English name for Isanotski Strait on which the City of False Pass is located. The strait was called "False Pass" by early American sailing ship captains because it was thought to be impassable for their deep draft vessels at the northern end. A salmon cannery was built on the Unimak Island side of the strait in 1919 which provided the nucleus for the modern settlement. A U.S. post office with the name of False Pass was established in 1921 which gave official status to the community. Commercial fishing for salmon, cod, halibut and crab continues to be the core of the community's lifestyle and economy. The city population was 64 at the 2000 census.
False Pass is located at 54°49′40″N 163°23′57″W / 54.82778°N 163.39917°W / 54.82778; -163.39917 (54.827886, -163.399090). It is near the eastern end of Unimak Island, in the Aleutian Islands chain. Part of the city (26.093 km², or 10.075 sq mi) is actually on the westernmost tip of the mainland Alaska Peninsula, across the Isanotski Strait (about 600 meters at the closest point), although that section is nearly unpopulated. The city boundaries include the abandoned villages of Morzhovoi and Ikatan.