Army Corps to begin cleanup efforts at Fort Learnard in Unalaska Bay
The Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to clean up Fort Learnard, a former World War II military outpost in Unalaska Bay.
The fort housed anti-aircraft and anti-ship artillery at Eider Point, on the western side of the bay.
The site was decommissioned after the war, and the artillery and munitions were exploded to dispose of them. But according to the corps, the explosion was not done in a controlled way.
“Fragments, and sometimes whole pieces of ammunition, were kicked out of the explosion,” said Ellen McDermott, who works with an engineering firm contracted for the cleanup. At a public meeting held in April, she said more than 200 munitions have been found in the area around Fort Learnard, most recently in 2016.
“The frequency with which items are found at the site suggests that there are a fair number of projectiles still out there, and we don't know where they are,” McDermott said.
The corps plans to visit the site later in May for a preliminary survey, and the actual cleanup is slated for 2024.
If you find munitions while recreating, don’t attempt to touch or handle them. Carefully exit the area from the same direction you came from and call 911 immediately.