Great Land of Alaska

Alaskan Towns & Communities

Alaska towns map

1. Barrow • 2. Deadhorse • 3. Kotzebue • 4. Coldfoot • 5. Nome • 6. Unalakleet • 7. Galena • 8. Manley Hot Springs • 9. Minto • 10. Fairbanks and Fox • 11. Chena Hot Springs • 12. Central • 13. Circle Hot Springs • 14. Circle • 15. Cantwell • 16. Delta Junction • 17. Paxson • 18. Tok • 19. Chicken • 20. Eagle • 21. Mountain Village • 22. Bethel • 23. Aniak • 24. Talkeetna • 25. Wasilla • 26. Palmer • 27. Glennallen • 28. Chitina • 29. McCarthy • 30. Dillingham • 31. Homer • 32. Kenai and Soldotna • 33. Anchorage • 34. Hope • 35. Eagle River/Chugiak • 36. Seward • 37. Whittier • 38. Valdez • 39. Cordova • 40. Kodiak • 41. Skagway • 42. Haines • 43. Juneau • 44. Hoonah • 45. Sitka • 46. Ketchikan


Anchorage

Approximate population: 269,070, with 10% being Native or part-Native
Area: 1,697.2 square miles of land, 263.9 square miles of water
Location: Southcentral Alaska, at the head of Cook Inlet.
Accessibility: Air, highway, ship
Climate: Maritime in summer, continental in winter.
Precipitation: Average annual precipitation of 15.9 inches, with 69 inches of snowfall.
Temperatures: Winter: 8° to 21° F (-13° to -6° C); Summer: 51° to 65° F (11° to 18° C).

Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, is located in southcentral Alaska at the head of Cook Inlet. It is bordered on the north by Knik Arm, west by Cook Inlet, south by Turnagain Arm, and east by the Chugach Mountains. Anchorage begun in 1914 as the construction headquarters for the Alaska Railroad which was being constructed to connect the port town of Seward to the coal fields and gold claims of the interior. The city has experienced many population booms in its history, such as during pipeline construction during the 1970s.

Anchorage is Alaska's commerce center. Oil industry, communications, real estate, and transportation companies are headquartered in Anchorage. Many tourist facilities are available to visitors.


Aniak

Approximate population: 539, with 73% being Native or part-Native.
Area: 6.5 sq. miles of land, 2.3 sq. miles of water.
Location: South bank of the Kuskokwim River at the head of Aniak Slough, 317 miles west of Anchorage.
Accessibility: Air, boat (summer only)
Climate: Maritime in summer and continental in winter.
Precipitation: Average yearly precipitation is 19 inches, with snowfall of 60 inches.
Temperatures: Winter: as low as -55° F (-48° C); Summer: up to 87° F (31° C).

Aniak had once been a Yup'ik village but was abandoned long before 1914 when Tom L. Johnson homesteaded the site and opened a store and post office. The Native community was reestablished as more Native families moved to the site from nearby areas.

Aniak is the largest city in its area, and so serves as a transportation hub for the location. The city's economy is based on local government, transportation, and retail services.


Barrow

a.k.a. Ukpeagvik

Approximate population: 4,434, with 64% being Native or part-Native.
Area: 18.4 square miles of land, 2.9 square miles of water.
Location: Northern Alaska on the Chukchi Sea coast, about 725 miles north of Anchorage.
Accessibility: Air, boat (summer)
Climate: Arctic
Precipitation: 5 inches average, annual snowfall of 20 inches.
Temperatures: Winter: as low as -56° F (-49° C); Summer: up to 78° F (26° C), averaging 40° F (4° C); Daily low is below freezing for about 324 days of the year.
Sun: The sun does not set between May 10 and August 2, and does not rise between November 18 and January 24.

Archaeological sites have indicated Inupiat habitation from 500 to 900 A.D. Meteorological and magnetic research stations were established in 1881, followed by the Cape Smyth Whaling and Trading Station in 1893, a Presbyterian Church in 1899, and a post office in 1901. The construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline further contributed to the development of Barrow.

The majority of the residents are Inupiat Eskimo. Traditional marine mammal hunts and other subsistence practices are still an important and active part of the culture.

Barrow is the economic center of the North Slope Borough. Tourism is a source of income, with the midnight sun and arts and crafts attracting visitors.


Bethel

a.k.a. Orutsararmuit

Approximate population: 5,736, with 68% being Native or part-Native
Area: 43.8 square miles of land, 5.1 square miles of water
Location: At the mouth of the Kuskokwim River, 40 miles inland from the Bering Sea, 400 miles west of Anchorage.
Accessibility: Air, boat (summer)
Climate: Continental
Precipitation: 16 inches average, annual snowfall of 50 inches.
Temperatures: Winter: -2° to 19° F (-19° to -7° C); Summer: 42° to 62° F (6° to 17° C)

Bethel was originally known as 'Mumtrekhlogamiut' which means 'Smokehouse people', named for the nearby fish smokehouse. The city served as an Alaska Commercial Company trading post in the late 1800s. The establishment of a Moravian Church in 1884 and opening of a post office in 1905 led to further development, with Bethel becoming the trading, transportation, and distribution center for the region. Rapid development did not occur before the importance of protecting the Native culture was realized, so many traditional Yup'ik Eskimo practices and language remain predominant.

Bethel is the regional center for 56 Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta villages, providing food, fuel, transportation, medical care, and other services. Bethel Airport is Alaska's third busiest airport.


Cantwell

Approximate population: 225, with 27% being Native or part-Native
Area: 118.3 square miles of land, .5 square miles of water
Location: Along the Parks Highway on the western end of the Denali Highway, 211 miles north of Anchorage and 28 miles south of Denali Park.
Accessibility: Highway, railroad, air
Climate: Continental
Precipitation: 15 inches average, annual snowfall of 78 inches.
Temperatures: Winter: extremes as low as -54° F (-48° C); Summer: extremes as high as 89° F (32° C).

The earliest inhabitants of Cantwell were nomadic Indians who trapped, hunted, and fished throughout interior Alaska. Cantwell used to be a flag stop on the Alaska Railroad.

Highway tourism and transportation are the major part of Cantwell's economy, with busses and the Alaska Railroad providing service.


Central

Approximate population: 120, with 9.7% being Native or part-Native
Area: 248.0 square miles of land, 1.5 square miles of water
Location: Along the Steese Highway, about 125 miles northeast of Fairbanks.
Accessibility: Highway, air
Climate: Continental subarctic, with short summers and long, harsh winters.
Precipitation: 6.5 inches average, annual snowfall of 43.4 inches.
Temperatures: Winter: as low as -50° to -60° F (-46° to -51° C); Summer: from 65° to 72° F (18° to 22° C).

Central began in 1894 as a roadhouse centrally located between Circle and gold mining operations at Mammoth, Mastodon, Preacher, and Birch Creek. A road connecting Central to Birch Creek was completed in 1908, a post office was established in 1925, and in 1927 the Steese Highway link to Fairbanks was completed. Mining declined in the 50s and 60s but began to increase again in the 70s with the rise in gold prices.

Central's economy is based on seasonal provision for area mining operations, with tourism also contributing to the economy.


Chicken

Approximate population: 24, with 0% being Native or part-Native
Area: 115.4 square miles of land
Location: Mile 66 of the Taylor Highway, 58 miles southwest of Eagle.
Accessibility: Highway (summer only), air
Climate: Continental subarctic
Precipitation: 11.3 inches average
Temperatures: Winter: as low as -60° F (-51° C); Summer: July averaging from 50° to 72° F (10° to 22° C).

The area around Chicken (a common name for Ptarmigan) has been the historical home to Han Kutchin Indians. Gold was discovered in Franklin Gulch in 1886 and Upper Chicken Creek in 1896. Chicken became a large community in the southern portion of the Forymile Mining District. Many miners left during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. A post office was established in 1903.

Chicken's economy is dependent upon summer tourists, with many historical buildings and mines.


Chitina

Approximate population: 131, with 48.8% being Native or part-Native
Area: 84.6 square miles of land, 11.1 square miles of water
Location: Western boundary of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, at the confluence of the Copper River and Chitina River, mile 34 of the Edgerton Highway.
Accessibility: Highway (summer only), air
Climate: Continental, with long, cold winters and relatively warm summers.
Precipitation: 12 inches average, annual snowfall of 52 inches.
Temperatures: Winter: extremes of -58° F (-50° C); Summer: extremes of 91° F (33° C).

The region has been inhabited by Athabascan Indians for the last 5,000 to 7,000 years. The Native population was decimated by the arrival of outsiders, disease, and conflicts. The discover of copper deposits in the late 1800s brought in a rush of prospectors and homesteaders. After the mines closed in 1938, almost all of the Chitina residents left, with only the Natives and a few non-Natives staying behind.

Economy is based on local government and the National Park Service. Seasonal services are provided for the summer influx of fishermen, tourists, and campers.


Circle Hot Springs

See Central


Circle

Approximate population: 84, with 85% being Native or part-Native
Area: 107.7 square miles of land, 0.5 square miles of water
Location: Eastern end of the Steese Highway, on the south bank of the Yukon River, about 160 miles northeast of Fairbanks.
Accessibility: Highway, air, boat/barge (summer only)
Climate: Continental subarctic, with long harsh winters and short summers.
Precipitation: Average rainfall of 6.5 inches, annual snowfall of 43.4 inches.
Temperatures: Winter: 0° to -71° F (-18° to -57° C); Summer: 65° to 72° F (18° to 22° C).

Circle was established in 1893 as a supply point for goods shipped up the Yukon River then transported overland to the gold mining camps. So-named because early miners believed it was located on the Arctic Circle. In 1896, Circle was the largest mining town on the Yukon, with a population of about 700. It had an Alaska Commercial Company store, several dance halls, an opera house, a library, a school, a hospital, an Episcopal Church, and its own newspaper, the Yukon Press. The population plummeted with the discovery of gold in the Klondike and Nome.

Tourism is part of Circle's economy. Subsistence is an important way of life in this area.


Coldfoot

Approximate population: 16, with 0% being Native or part-Native
Area: 37.0 square miles of land
Location: The mouth of Slate Creek on the east bank of the Middle Fork Koyukuk River, mile 175 of the Haul Road (Dalton Highway).
Accessibility: Highway, air
Climate: Continental
Precipitation: Average annual precipitation of 6.5 inches, annual snowfall of 63 inches.
Temperatures: Winter: average -14° F (-26° C); Summer: average 50° F (10° C).

Coldfoot was named in 1900 when gold prospectors traveled up the Koyukuk River to this point, then got 'cold feet' and turned around. In 1902, Coldfoot had two roadhouses, two stores, seven saloons and a gambling house. A post office was also opened that year, then shut down in 1912 when the mine was abandoned in favor of mines at Nolan and Wiseman Creeks.

Most employment in Coldfoot is in government and services to travelers of the Haul Road.


Cordova

Approximate population: 2,434, with 15% being Native or part-Native
Area: 61.4 square miles of land, 14.3 square miles of water
Location: Orca Inlet, at the base of Eyak Mountain, 52 air miles southeast of Valdez.
Accessibility: Air, ship/boat
Climate: Continental
Precipitation: Annual average of 167 inches, including 80 inches of snowfall
Temperatures: Winter: 17° to 28° F (-8° to -2° C); Summer: 49° to 63° F (9° to 17° C).

The area was historically the home to the Alutiiq, as well as migrating Athabascans and Tlingits. The city was formed in 1906, becoming the railroad terminus and ocean shipping port for copper ore from the Kennecott Mine up the Copper River. The Bonanza-Kennecott Mines shut down in 1938.

Fishing is a major source of income for Cordova. The famous Copper River Sockeyes come from this area, as well as Pink Salmon, herring, halibut, and other fish.


Deadhorse

Approximate population: 7, with 80% being Native or part-Native.
Area:416.3 square miles of land, 141.8 square miles of water.
Location: Near the coast of the Beaufort Sea, along Alaska's north coast.
Accessibility: Highway, air.
Climate: Arctic
Precipitation: Seasonal average of 5 inches, with 20 inches of snow.
Temperatures: Winter: as low as -56° F (-49° C); Summer: as high as 78° F (26° C).

Deadhorse lies at the end of the Haul Road, North America's northernmost highway. Almost all the facilities at Deadhorse are for support of the oil fields. Almost all of the 5,000 or so inhabitants of this area are oilfield workers who live elsewhere.

Deadhorse's main economy is based on oil. Summer tourism also provides income for this area.


Delta Junction

Approximate population: 856, with 5.6% being Native or part-Native.
Area: 17.3 square miles of land.
Location: Approximately 95 miles southeast of Fairbanks, at the convergence of the Richardson and Alaska Highways.
Accessibility: Highway, air.
Climate: Continental.
Precipitation: Annual precipitation is 12 inches, including 37 inches of snow.
Temperatures: Winter: average -11° F (-24° C); Summer: 69° F (21° C); Extremes: -63° F (-53° C) in winter; 92° F (33° C) in summer.

Delta Junction began in 1903 as a roadhouse along an overland trail from Valdez to Fairbanks. Mining activity in interior Alaska as well as the Chisana Gold Strike of 1913 brought many prospectors and other travelers to the area. Construction of the Alaska Highway, establishment of a nearby military base, and the construction of the Alaska Pipeline increased the population and local economy.

About 40,000 acres are farmed in this area, producing barley, other grains, potatoes, dairy products, cattle, and pigs. Services are also provided for travelers on the Alaska and Richardson Highways.


Dillingham

a.k.a. Curyung; Kanakanak

Approximate population: 2,475, with 60.9% being Native or part-Native.
Area: 33.6 square miles of land, 2.1 square miles of water.
Location: About 327 miles southwest of Anchorage, at the extreme northern end of Nushagak Bay in northern Bristol Bay, at the confluence of the Wood and Nushagak Rivers.
Accessibility: Air, boat. There is a 23-mile gravel road to Aleknagik.
Climate: Maritime, with influences of the Arctic climate of the Interior.
Precipitation: Annual precipitation of 26 inches, with 65 inches of snow.
Temperatures: Winter: 4° to 30° F (-16° to -1° C); Summer: 37° to 66° F (3° to 19° C).

The surrounding area was inhabited by both Eskimos and Athabascans. It became a trade center with the Russian establishment of the Alexandrovski Redoubt (Post) in 1818, with local Natives and Natives from the Kuskokwim Region, the Alaska Peninsula, and Cook Inlet coming to visit or live at the post. A Russian Orthodox mission was established in the area in 1837, which was called Nushagak at the time. Several salmon canneries were established in the area between 1884 and 1901. In 1918-1919, a flu epidemic stuck the region, leaving only about 500 survivors.

Dillingham is the economic, transportation, and public service center for Western Bristol Bay. Several seafood companies have processing plants in Dillingham. The population doubles every summer as many people obtain seasonal employment with the fishing companies. Many residents depend on subsistence activites and hunt or trap beaver, otter, mink, lynx, and fox. Salmon, grayling, pike, moose, bear, caribou, and berries are harvested.


Eagle

Approximate population: 150, with 7% being Native or part-Native.
Area: 1.0 square miles of land.
Location: On the Taylor Highway, approximately 6 miles west ofthe Alaska-Canada border.
Accessibility: Highway (summer only), air, river boat (summer only).
Climate: Continental/arctic.
Precipitation: 11.3 inches.
Temperatures: Winter: -2° to -22° F (-19° to -30° C), as low as -60° F (-51° C); Summer: 50° to 72° F (10° to 22° C).

Eagle has been the historical home to the Han Kutchin Indians. A log house trading station was established in 1874, operating as a supply and trading center for miners working along the upper Yukon and its tributaries. The city was founded in 1897, being incorporated as the Interior's first city in 1901. By 1910, many local inhabitants were lured away by the Fairbanks and Nome gold prospects and the population declined from over 1,700 to around 180.

Year-round opportunities are limited. Several inhabitants of Eagle obtain food through subsistence means. Mining and summer tourism help support Eagle's economy.


Eagle River / Chugiak

Approximate population: Eagle River: 22,000; Chugiak, Birchwood, Peters Creek, Thunderbird Falls, and Eklutna: 8,000.
Location: Approximately 20 miles northeast of Anchorage, between Knik Arm and the Chugach Mountains.
Accessibility: Highway, air.
Climate: Maritime in summer, continental in winter.
Precipitation: Average annual precipitation of 15.9 inches, with 69 inches of snowfall.
Temperatures: Winter: 8° to 21° F (-13° to -6° C); Summer: 51° to 65° F (11° to 18° C).

Eagle River and the surrounding area was settled by homesteaders in the early to mid 1900's. A local post office was established in 1961. Despite opposition from Eagle River / Chugiak residents, the area was annexed by Anchorage in 1975. Residents are currently attempting to secede from Anchorage.

Most Eagle River / Chugiak residents work in nearby Anchorage and commute to and from the city. Eagle River, Chugiak, Birchwood, Peters Creek, Thunderbird Falls, and Eklutna offer services for travelers on the Glenn Highway, such as hotels, restaurants, and fuel stations. Visitors are attracted to Chugach State Park, Thunderbird Falls, and Eklutna Lake.


Fairbanks

Approximate population: 29,670, with 13.3% being Native or part Native.
Area: 31.9 square miles of land, 0.8 square miles of water.
Location: Interior Alaska, the banks of the Chena River in the Tanana Valley, about 358 miles north of Anchorage.
Accessibility: Highway, air, train, river boat (summer only).
Climate: Continental.
Precipitation: Average annual precipitation of 11.3 inches.
Temperatures: Winter: average -12° F (-24° C); Summer: average 61° F (16° C); Extremes: -78° F (-61° C) in winter, 93° F (34° C) in summer.
Sun: About 21 hours of daylight between mid-May and early August; about 20 hours of night between mid-November and late January.

Koyukon Athabascans have lived in this area for thousands of years. Captain E.T. Barnette established a trading post on the Chena River in 1901. A year later, gold was discovered about 16 miles to the north of the post, bringing in prospectors and travelers, causing the population to grow. Additional population growth was stimulated with the addition of the court, government offices, a jail, a post office, and the Northern Commercial Company. Construction of nearby Fort Wainwright in 1938, the Alcan Highway in the 1940s, and the pipeline in the 1970s further fueled the growth and development of Fairbanks.

Fairbanks is the service and supply center for Interior Alaska. Government, transportation, communication, manufacturing, financial, and medical services are an important part of Fairbanks' economy. The main campus for the University of Alaska is located in Fairbanks, and is also a major employer. Over a quarter million tourists visit Fairbanks each summer.


Fox

Approximate population: 334, with 9.7% being Native or part Native.
Area: 13.6 square miles of land.
Location: 10 miles northeast of Fairbanks, at the junction of the Steese Highway and the Haul Road.
Accessibility: Highway, air.
Climate Continental.
Precipitation: Averagle annual percipitation of 11.3 inches.
Temperatures: Winter: -2° to -22° F (-19° to -30° C); Summer: 50° to 72° F (10° to 22° C).

Fox was established as a mining camp prior to 1905.

Many residents are employed in Fairbanks and commute. A local roadhouse and restaurant provides some employment.


Galena

a.k.a. Louden

approximate population: 713, with 67.4% being Native or part Native.
Area: 17.9 square miles of land, 6.1 square miles of water.
Location: North bank of the Yukon River, about 270 miles west of Fairbanks.
Accessibility: Air, river (summer only).
Climate: Continental.
Precipitation: 12.7 inches annual average, with 60 inches of snowfall.
Temperatures: Winter: 10° F (-12° C) or less, -40° F (-40° C) temperatures common; Summer: 70° to 75° F (21° to 24° C); Extremes: 92° F (33° C) on record.

Koyukon Athabascans had seasonal camps in the area that they migrated among as they followed the wild game that they depended upon. Galena was established in 1918 near an old Athabascan fish camp. It became a supply and trans-shipment point for nearby lead ore mining operations. In 1920, Athabascans living about 14 miles upriver at Louden began moving to Galena to work hauling freight for the mines. A school was established in the mid-1920s, and a post office opened in 1932. During the 1950s, an Air Force base was constructed, and closed in 1993. Due to several seasons of severe flooding, a new city site was established in 1971 about 1.5 miles east of the original townsite.

Galena is the transportation, government, and commercial center for the western Interior. Government provides many jobs, with others being provided in transportation and retail businesses. Many residents subsist on local game and fish.


Glennallen

Approximate population: 517, with 12.1% being Native or part Native.
Area: 114.1 square miles of land, 0.8 square miles of water.
Location: About 189 miles east of Anchorage, at the junction of the Glenn and Richardson Highways.
Accessibility: Highway, air.
Climate: Continental.
Precipitation: 9 inches per year, with 39 inches of snow.
Temperatures: Winer: average of -10° F (-23° C); Summer: average of 56° F (13° C).

The name comes from Edwin Glenn and Henry Allen, leaders in the early explorations of the Copper River region. It is one of the few communities in the region that was not built on the site of a Native village.

Glennallen is the supply hub of the Copper River region. Local businesses provide services for area residents and travelers on the Glenn and Richardson Highways.


Haines

Approximate population: 1,714, with 18.5% being Native or part Native.
Area: Location: Western shore of Lynn Canal, between the Chilkoot and Chilkat rivers, 80 miles northwest of Juneau.
Accessibility: Highway, air, ship.
Climate: Maritime.
Precipitation: Averaging 52 inches per year, with 133 inches of snow.
Temperatures Winter: 10° to 36° F (-12° to 2° C); Summer: 46° to 66° F (8° to 19° C); Extremes: between -16° and 90° F (-27° and 32° C).

The area was originally called Dei Shu ("end of the trail") by the Chilkat Tlingit. George Dickinson, an agent for the North West Trading Co., was the first non-Native to settle here in 1880. In 1881, S. Young Hall, a Presbyterian minister, received permission from the Chilkat to build Willard Mission and school. During the Klondike gold rush of the late 1890s, the settlement grew as a mining supply center. Growth was further fueled by the establishment of fish canneries and the timber industry.

Commercial fishing, timber, government, tourism, and transportation are the basis for the area's economy. The deep-water port is ice-free, making Haines a major trans-shipment point. It is one of the northern terminus points of the Alaska Marine Highway.


Homer

Approximate population: 4,721, with 6.2% being Native or part Native.
Area: 10.6 square miles of land, 11.9 square miles of water.
Location: 277 road miles south of Anchorage, on the north shore of Kachemak Bay on the southern end of the Kenai Peninsula.
Accessibility: Highway, air, boat/ship.
Climate: Maritime.
Precipitation: Average annual precipitation of 24 inches, including 55 inches of snow.
Temperatures: Winter: 14° to 27° F (-10° to -3° C); Summer: 45° to 65 ° F (7° to 18° C).

The Homer area has been home to the Kenaitze Inidans for thousands of years. The Geological Survey studied the area for coal and gold resources in 1895. The Homer Spit was a disembarking point for Hope- and Sunrise-bound prospectors. In 1896, Homer Pennock built living quarters on the spit for his mining crew. In 1899, Cook Inlet Coal Fields Company built a town and dock on the spit and a coal mine at Homer's Bluff Point. During the 1930s and 40s, homesteaders moved in as well as others hoping to work in the fish processing plants. The spit sank as much as 6 feet in the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake, so several buildings had to be relocated.

Homer is primarily a fishing, fish processing, trade and service center, and tourist destination. Several cruise ships dock at the spit each summer. Sport fishing for Pacific Halibut and Pacific Salmon contribute significantly to the local economy. Many fishing, seafood processing, and wood chip processing companies operate on the Homer Spit.


Hoonah

Approximate population: 868, with 69.4% being Native or part Native.
Area: 6.6 square miles of land, 2.1 square miles of water.
Location: Northern shore of Chichagof Island, 40 miles west of Juneau.
Accessibility: Air, boat/ship.
Climate: Maritime.
Precipitation: Average of 100 inches annually, with 71 inches of snowfall.
Temperatures: Winter: 26° to 39° F (-3° to 4° C); Summer: 52° to 63° F (11° to 17° C).

Hoonah (from the Tlingit word meaning "village by the cliff") is the principal village for the Huna, a Tlingit tribe which has occupied the Glacier Bay / Icy Strait area since prehistory. The first store in Hoonah was built in 1880, by the Northwest Trading Company. A Presbyterian mission and school was built in 1881. A post office was established in 1901. A fish cannery was built in 1912. In 1944, a large fire destroyed much of Hoonah, and many priceless Tlingit cultural objects were lost.

The local economy is based on fishing and local government. Employment is also provided by the Whitestone Logging Inc. company and Southeast Steverdoring (a short yard and timber transfer facility). Subsistence activities are an important component of the lifestyle of many residents.


Hope

Approximate population: 155, with 5,8% being Native or part Native.
Area: 51.7 square miles of land, 0.1 square miles of water.
Location: Northern end of Kenai Peninsula, on the south shore of Turnagain Arm.
Accessibility: Highway, air.
Climate: Maritime/continental.
Precipitation: 20 inches average annual precipitation.
Temperatures: Winter: 14° to 27° F (-10° to -3° C); Summer: 45° to 65° F (7° to 18° C).

Hope was established in 1896 as a mining camp for Resurrection Creek. A post office began operating in 1897.

The local school and retail businesses are the only employers. A campground and several salmon streams draw summertime visitors.


Juneau

Approximate population: 30,981 (including Douglas, Auke Bay, and Aukquan), with 16.6% being Native or part Native.
Area: 2,716.7 square miles of land, 538.3 square miles of water.
Location: On the mainland of Southeast Alaska, along Gastineau Channel, about 577 miles southeast of Anchorage.
Accessibility: Air, boat/ship.
Climate: Maritime.
Precipitation: Annual precipitation is 92 inches with 101 inches of snowfall.
Temperatures: Winter: 25° to 35° F (-4° to 2° C); Summer: 44° to 65° F (7° to 18° C).

The area was a fish camp for Tlingit Indians. In 1880, Joe Juneau and Richard Harris staked mining claims in the area. Many prospectors came to the area and in 1900 the City of Juneau was formed. Alaska's capital was transferred from Sitka to Juneau in 1906. Treadwell and Ready Bullion mines became world-scale mines, operating from 1882 to 1917. A 1917 cave-in and flood in Treadwell Mine closed it down. Several other mines operated in the area until their closure in 1944.

Juneau is Alaska's capital. Government agencies provide a large percentage of employment in the community. Tourism is also a major source of income, with museums, cultural history, and surrounding glaciers attracting many visitors. Logging and fish processing also contribute significantly to the economy.


Kenai

Population: 7,166 (including Kenaitze), with 12.1% being Native or part Native.
Area: 29.9 square miles of land, 5.6 square miles of water.
Location: West coast of Kenai Peninsula, about 65 miles southwest of Anchorage.
Accessibility: Highway, air, boat.
Climate: Maritime/continental.
Precipitation: Average annual precipitation of 20 inches.
Temperatures: Winter: 4° to 22° F (-16° to -6° C); Summer: 46° to 65° F (8° to 18° C).

Kenai was a Dena'ina Athabascan village. Russian fur traders arrived in 1741. A Russian trading post, St. Nicholas, was constructed in 1791 for fur and fish trading. It was the second permanent Russian settlement in Alaska. The Holy Assumption Russian Orthodox Church was built in 1849. A post office was established in 1899. The area became further developed in 1940 as homesteaders began settling in the area. In 1957, oil was discovered at Swanson River, northeast of Kenai.

The oil and gas mining and refining are an important part of the area's economy. Sport, fishing, fish processing, timber, agriculture, transportation services, construction, and retail are also important to the economy. The Kenai River's run of world-record size Kings and Sockeyes draw anglers and tourists from all over the world as well as Alaska.


Ketchikan

population: 8,002, with 22.7% being Native or part Native.
Area: 3.4 square miles of land, 0.8 square miles of water.
Location: Southwestern coast of Revillagigedo Island, near the southern boundary of Alaska, 235 miles southeast of Juneau.
Accessibility: Air, boat/ship.
Climate: Maritime.
Precipitation: 162 inches annually, with 32 inches of snowfall.
Temperatures: Winter: 29° to 39° F (-2° to 4° C); Summer: 51° to 65° F (11° to 18° C).

Ketchikan gets its name from the Tlingit word kitschk-hin, meaning "thundering wings of an eagle". Tongass and Cape Fox Tlingits used this area as a fish camp. The abundant fish and timber resources attracted non-Natives to the area. In 1885, Mike Martin bought 160 acres from Chief Kyan, which later became the township. The first fish cannery opened in 1886, followed by four more by 1912. A post office was established in 1892. By 1900, nearby gold and copper discoveries prompted Ketchikan to become a mining supply center. Several logging and pulp mills operated from 1903 until their closure in 1997.

Ketchikan is an industrial center and a major port of entry in Southeast Alaska. A fishing fleet, fish processing, tourism, and timber support the local economy. Several seafood processing and storage facilities support the fishing industry. The Deer Mountain Hatchery produces almost a half million King, Silver, Rainbow, and Steelhead Salmon annually. Cruise ships bring over half a million visitors to Ketchikian each season.


Kodiak

Population: 6,544 (including Shoonaq), with 13.1% being Native or part Native.
Area: 3.5 square miles of land, 1.4 square miles of water.
Location: Eastern tip of Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska, about 252 miles south of Anchorage.
Accessibility: Air, boat/ship.
Climate: Maritime.
Precipitation: Annual rainfall of 67 inches, snowfall of 78 inches.
Temperatures: Winter: 14° to 46° F (-10° to 8° C); Summer: 39° to 76° F (4° to 24° C).

Kodiak Island has been inhabited for the past 8,000 years. The first non-Natives to the island were Russian explorers and trappers: Stephen Glotov in 1763, and Alexander Baranov in 1792. Sea otter pelts were the primary incentive for exploration of the area, and a settlement was established at Chiniak Bay, the site of present-day Kodiak. Kodiak became the first capital of Russian Alaska, later moved to Sitka. Conflicts and introduction of disease from the Russian settlers had a devastating effect on the local Native population. By 1867, the Koniag region Eskimos had almost completely disappeared as a viable culture. Sea otter harvesting almost drove the sea otters to extinction, but later management of this resource has increased their numbers. The opening of a fish cannery in 1882 sparked the development of commercial fishing in the area. In 1964, the Good Friday Earthquake and resulting tsunami leveled downtown Kodiak, destroying the fishing fleet, processing plant, canneries, and 158 homes. The infrastructure was later rebuilt.

The Kodiak economy is based on fishing, seafood processing, retail services, tourism, and government. A satellite launch facility, operated by Alaska Aerospace Dev. Corp., was built in the late 1990s.


Kotzebue

Population: 3,107, with 76.7% being Native or part Native.
Area: 27 square miles of land, 1.7 square miles of water.
Location: 549 miles northwest of Anchorage, on Baldwin Peninsula in Kotzebue Sound, near the mouths of the Kobuk, Noatak, and Sezawick Rivers.
Accessibility: Air, boat/ship.
Climate: Transitional, with long, cold winters and cool summers.
Precipitation: 9 inches per year, with 40 inches of snow.
Temperatures: Winter: average of -12° F (-24° C); Summer: average of 58° F (14° C); Extremes: -52°F (-47° C) in winter, 85° F (29° C) in summer.

The site has been inhabited by Inupiat Eskimos for at least 600 years. The coastal location near a number of rivers made Kikiktagruk an ideal location as the hub of ancient arctic trading routes long before European contact. The German Lt. Otto Von Kotzebue "discovered" the area in 1818 while exploring for Russia. The community was named Kotzebue in 1899 when a post office was established. The harbor is shallow, so cargo ships must anchor 15 miles out and transfer goods to shore via smaller boats. The city is examining the possibility of developing a deep water port.

Kotzebue is the service and transportation center for all villages in the northwest region. Its location at the confluence of three river drainages makes it ideal as the transfer point between ocean and inland shipping. Employment is offered by local government, transport, and commercial fishing industries.


Manley Hot Springs

Population: 73, with 23.6% being Native or part Native.
Area: 54.3 square miles of land.
Location: At the end of the Elliot Highway, 160 road miles west of Fairbanks.
Accessibility: Highway, air, boat.
Climate: Continental.
Precipitation: Annual average of 15 inches, with 59.3 inches of snowfall.
Temperatures: Winter: -6° to -21° F (-21° to -29° C); Summer: 55° to 60° F (13° to 16° C); Extremes: -70° F (-57° C) in winter, 93° F (34° C) in summer.

Manley Hot Springs began in 1902 when John Karshner, a mining prospector, claimed several hot springs and began a homestead and vegetable farm. At the same time, a telegraph station and trading post were built. The area became a service and supply point for miners in the Eureka and Tofty Mining Districts. A roadhouse opened in 1903. Farming and livestock operations in the area provided fresh meat, poultry, and produce. The Hot Springs Resort Hotel was built in 1907, boasting 45 guest rooms, steam heat, electric lights, hot baths, bar, restaurant, billiard room, bowling alley, barber shop, and an Olympic-sized indoor swimming pool. The hotel burned down in 1913. The decline of mining in the area prompted many residents to leave the area. The completion of the Endicott Highway in 1959 gave the area a road link to Fairbanks. A new resort opened in 1985, but closed in 1997.

Local government provides about one quarter of the local jobs. Small businesses support the remainder of the local economy. Gardening, hunting, and fishing provide food sources.


McCarthy

Population: 49.
Area:148.3 square miles of land.
Location: On the Kennicott River at the mouth of McCarthy Creek, 61 miles east of Chitina off the Edgerton Highway.
Accessibility: Highway (summer only), air.
Climate: Continental.
Precipitation: 12 inches per year, including 52 inches of snow.
Temperatures: Extremes: -58° F (-50° C) in winter, 91° F (33° C) in summer.

Kennecott copper mines were established around 1908 across from the Kennicott Glacier, 4.5 miles up the mountain from McCarthy. No gambling or drinking was allowed in Kennicott, nearby McCarthy developed as a diversion for the miners. It provided a newspaper, stores, hotels, restaurants, saloons, a red light district, and housing. Over its 30-year operation, $200 million in ore was extracted from Kennecott mine, the richest concentration of copper ore known in the world. In 1938, the mines closed and most residents left the area.

Employment is seasonal, with local businesses, lodges, a museum, and guide services offering employment.


Minto

Population: 229, with 92.2% being Native or part Native.
Area: 135.1 square miles of land, 3.6 square miles of water.
Location: West bank of the Tolovana River, 130 miles northwest of Fairbanks.
Accessibility: Highway, air, boat (summer only).
Climate: Continental.
Precipitation: 12 inches annual, with 50 inches of snowfall.
Temperatures: Winter: as low as -40° F (-40° C); Summer: up to the low 70s F (21-32° C).

Minto is the western-most portion of traditional Tanana Athabascan territory. Some members of the Minto band traveled to the area in the late 1800s to trade furs for manufactured goods, tea, and flour. More residents came to the area with the discovery of gold north of Fairbanks in 1902. Minto became a permanent settlement to many around this time. The village was relocated in 1969 due to repeated flooding and erosion.

Most of Minto's employment is with the school, lodge, clinic, or village council. Subsistence is an important part of the local economy.


Mountain Village

a.k.a. Asaacarsaq, Asa'carsarmiut

Population: 757.
Area: 4.3 square miles of land.
Location: North bank of the Yukon River at the southern end of the Nulato Hills, 470 miles northwest of Anchorage.
Accessibility: Air, boat (summer only). A 20-mile dirt road connects Asa'carsarmiut to nearby St. Mary's and Pitka's Point.
Climate: Continental with maritime influences.
Precipitation: 16 inches annually, with 44 inches of snowfall.
Temperatures: Ranging between -44° and 80° F (-42° and 27° C).

Asa'carsarmiut was a summer fish camp until the opening of a general store in 1908. A Covenant Church missionary school was also built that year. A post office was established in 1923, followed by a salmon saltery in 1956 and cannery in 1964. The saltery and cannery ceased operations in the 1980s. In 1976, the town was chosen as the headquarters for the Lower Yukon School District.

The seasonal economy is based on fishing and subsistence. There are few full-time jobs, with the majority of employers being the City, school district, government, and native corporation.


Nome

Population: 3,493, with 58.7% being Native or part Native.
Area: 12.5 square miles of land, 9.1 square miles of water.
Location: Along the Bering Sea on the south coast of the Seward Peninsula, 161 miles east of Russia.
Accessibility: Air, boat/ship.
Climate: Transitional.
Precipitation: 18 inches annual, including 56 inches of snowfall.
Temperatures: Winter: -3° to 11° F (-19° to -12° C); Summer: 44° to 65° F (7° to 18° C).

Malemiut, Kauweramiut, and Unalikmiut Eskimos have historically occupied the Seward Peninsula. Gold discoveries as far back as 1865 attracted outsiders, but it wasn't until the large gold strike of 1898 that thousands of prospectors came to the area. By 1902, the easily reached claims were exhausted and large mining companies with better equipment took over the mining operations. Most prospectors left the area. A large fire in 1934 destroyed most of Nome.

Nome is the supply, service, and transportation center of the Bering Strait region. Government services provide the majority of jobs. Retail services, transportation, mining, medical, and other businesses provide additional employment. Several small gold mines continue to operate.


Palmer

Population: 5,159, with 12.5% being Native or part Native.
Area:3.8 square miles of land.
Location: Within Matanuska Valley, 42 miles northeast of Anchorage.
Accessibility: Highway, air.
Climate: Continental.
Precipitation: 16.5 inches annual, with 50 inches of snowfall.
Temperatures: Winter: -36° to 51° F (-38° to 11 ° C); Summer: 37° to 85° F (3° to 29° C).

Ahtna and Dena'ina Athabascans have lived in this region for centuries. A trader, George Palmer, arrived in 1875 and established a trading post on the Matanuska River. A planned agriculture colony was created in 1935. Failure rate was high, but many decendents of the early colonists still inhabit the area.

Many residents work in Anchorage and commute. The local economy is based on retail and other services, as well as government. There is some light manufacturing. Musk ox are raised for qivuit (underwool) that is made into garments. Agriculture is also practiced in the area, with the fertile soil and long summer days producing many record-breaking vegetables.


Paxson

Population: 33.
Area: 304.0 square miles of land, 14.3 square miles of water.
Location: On Paxson Lake, at the intersection of the Richardson and Denali Highways.
Accessibility: Highway, air.
Climate: Continental.
Precipitation: 11.3 inches annually.
Temperatures: Winter: -2° to -22° F (-19° to -30° C); Summer: 50° to 72° F (10° to 22° C).

Archeological finds indicate that this area has been inhabited for at least 10,000 years. Alvin Paxson established the Timberline Roadhouse in 1906. The Denali Highway was built in the 1950s from Paxson to Cantwell. It was the only access to Denali Park until the construction of the Parks Highway.

Most income is generated during summer months. Lodges and restaurants provide seasonal employment. This area has been a testing site for snowmachines for several years. Hunting and other subsistence activities contribute to the livelihoods of the local inhabitants.


Seward

Population: 2,794, with 20.9% being Native or part Native.
Area: 14.4 square miles of land, 7.1 square miles of water.
Location: The east coast of the Kenai Peninsula, on the western shore of Resurrection Bay.
Accessibility: Highway, air, ship/boat.
Climate: Maritime.
Precipitation: 66 inches of rain annually, with 80 inches of snowfall.
Temperatures: Winter: 17° to 38° F (-8° to 3° C); Summer: 49° to 63° F (9° to 17° C).

Alexander Baranof found unexpected shelter from a storm in a bay in 1792. He named this bay Resurrection Bay because it was the Russian Sunday of the Resurrection. As an ice-free harbor, Resurrection Bay became an important supply center. A railroad connecting Seward to the Interior was constructed between 1915 and 1923. In 1964, tsunamis generated by the Good Friday Earthquake destroyed the railroad terminal (later rebuilt) and killed several inhabitants.

Seward is the southern terminus for the Alaska Railroad. Seward has long been a transportation center. The economy is also supported by tourism, commercial fishing and processing, ship services and repairs, oil and gas development, vocational training, a prison, and the University of Alaska's Institute of Marine Sciences.


Sitka

Population: 8,894, with 24.7% being Native or part Native.
Area: 2,874.0 square miles of land, 1,937.5 square miles of water (world's largest city).
Location: On the west coast of Baranof Island, 95 miles southwest of Juneau.
Accessibility: Air, ship/boat.
Climate: Maritime.
Precipitation: 96 inches annually, including 39 inches of snowfall.
Temperatures: Winter: 23° to 35° F (-5° to 2° C); Summer: 48° to 61° F (9° to 16° C).

Shee Atika was originally inhabited by a major tribe of Tlingits. It was "discovered" by the Vitus Bering expedition in 1741, and the site became New Archangel in 1799. A trading post was built here around that time. Several conflicts occurred between the new settlers and the Tlingits, resulting in the eventual evacuation of the Tlingits around 1822. In 1808, the capital of Russian Alaska was moved from Kodiak to Sitka. Furs were the main export during the mid-1800s, but salmon, lumber, and ice were also exported. After the sale of Alaska, Sitka remained the capital until 1906, when it was moved to Juneau.

Fishing, fish processing, tourism, government, transportation, retail, and health care services are important parts of the economy.


Skagway

Population: 841, with 5.1% being Native or part Native.
Area:452.4 square miles of land, 11.9 square miles of water.
Location: 90 miles northeast of Juneau at the northernmost end of Lynn Canal.
Accessibility: Highway, air, boat/ship, railroad.
Climate: Maritime.
Precipitation: 26 inches per year, with 39 inches of snow.
Temperatures: Winter: 18° to 37° F (-8° to 3° C); Summer: 45° to 67° F (7° to 19° C).

Skagua was the Tlingit name for "the place where the north wind blows". Skagway was a landing point for gold prospectors in the late 1890s. The 33-mile long Chilkoot Trail began at nearby Dyea, and the 40-mile White Pass trail began as Skagway. The two trails were used by gold seekers to reach the headwaters of the Yukon River. Once the gold rush was over in 1900, Skagway would have become a ghost town if it wasn't for the White Pass and Yukon Railroad construction in 1898. The railroad provided freight, fuel, and transportation until the close of the local mines in 1982.

Tourism is an important industry in Skagway. The Klondike Gold Rush Historical Park and White Pass and Yukon Railroad are major attractions.


Soldotna

Population: 3,944, with 6.9% being Native or part Native.
Area: 6.9 square miles of land, 0.5 square miles of water.
Location: On the Kenai Peninsula, about 50 miles southwest of Anchorage, at the junction of the Sterling and Kenai Spur Highways.
Accessibility: Highway, air, boat.
Climate: Maritime/continental.
Precipitation: 17.4 inches annually.
Temperatures: Winter: 6° to 24° F (-14° to -4° C); Summer: 45° to 66° F (7° to 19° C).

The Peninsula has historically been the home to the Kenaitze Indians, and was developed by non-Natives for its rich resources, including fish, timber, and oil. A common misconception is that the name Soldotna comes from the Russian word солдат (soldat) for "soldier", when the name acutally comes from the Dena'ina wordTs'eldatnu meaning "stream fork". The area was homesteaded in the late 1940s. The Sterling Highway was constructed in 1947, connecting Kenai to Cooper Landing. Soldotna was the site for the bridge over the Kenai River. A post office opened in 1949, followed shortly by stores and a community center. In 1957, oil was discovered at Swanson River, bringing further growth and development to the area.

The oil industry is a major employer in the area. Other employers include sport, commercial fishing, seafood processing, government, timber, agriculture, transportation, construction, services, and retail. The area is a destination for anglers from all over the world, hoping to catch one of the trophy-sized Chinook Salmon that the Kenai River is so famous for.


Talkeetna

Population: 868, with 9.1% being Native or part Native.
Area: 41.6 square miles of land, 1.4 square miles of water.
Location: At the junction of the Talkeetna and Susitna Rivers, 115 miles north of Anchorage, at the end of the Talkeetnam Spur Road.
Accessibility: Highway, air, boat, train.
Climate: Continental.
Precipitation: 28 inches annually, including 70 inches of snowfall. Temperatures: Winter: -33° to 33° F (-36° to 1° C); Summer: 42° to 83° F (6° to 28° C).

The Talkeetna and Chulitna Rivers join the Susitna River at Talkeetna, a Dena'ina word meaning "river of plenty". Talkeetna was settled as a mining town and trading post in 1896. A Susitna River gold rush brought more prospectors to the area, and by 1910 Talkeetna was a riverboat steamer station, supplying miners and trappers in the Cache Creek, Iron Creek, and Broad Creek districts. In 1915, Talkeetna was chosen as the headquarters for the Alaska Engineering Commission, who built the Alaska Railroad. The population decreased following the completion of the railroad.

Talkeetna is a take-off point for fishing and flightseeing trips, and so depends on summer tourism. It is also a staging area for Denali climbers.


Tok

Population: 1,444, with 19% being Native or part Native.
Area: 132.3 square miles of land.
Location: At the junction of the Alaska Highway and the Tok Cutoff to the Glenn Highway, 200 miles southeast of Fairbanks.
Accessibility: Highway, air.
Climate: Continental.
Precipitation: 11 inches annually, including 33 inches of snow.
Temperatures: Winter: as low as -32° F (-36° C); Summer: as high as 72° F (22° C); Extremes: -71° F (-57° C) in winter, 99° F (37° C) in summer.

Tok began in 1942 as a camp for those working on the Alcan Highway. After the completion of the highway, a post office, roadhouse, and school were built. A Customs Office was located in Tok between 1947 and 1979 before being moved to the Alaska-Canada border. Tok faced extinction in 1990 when a lightning-caused forest fire, unaffected by the efforts of over a thousand firefighters, encroached upon the town. At the last minute a "miracle wind" (so labeled by Tok's residents) came up and diverted the fire just short of the first building.

Tok is the transportation, business, service, and government center for the Upper Tanana region. Employment peaks in the summer months, with the rush of travelers along the Alaska Highway. Tok is the first community with services for visitors entering Alaska by highway.


Unalakleet

Population: 725, with 87.7% being Native or part Native.
Area: 2.9 square milesof land, 2.3 square miles of water.
Location: Norton Sound at the mouth of the Unalakleet River, 148 miles southeast of Nome.
Accessibility: Air, ship/boat.
Climate: Subarctic with maritime influences.
Precipitation: 14 inches annually, with 41 inches of snow.
Temperatures: Winter: -4° to 11° F (-20° to -12° C); Summer: 47° to 62° F (8° to 17° C); Extremes: -50° to 87° F (-46° to 31° C).

Archaeological digs have dated house remnants in the area from 200 B.C. to 300 A.D. The name Unalakleet means "place where the east wind blows". The area has long been a major trade center for the Indian-Eskimo trade. A Russian post was built in 1830. In 1898, reindeer herders from Lapland were brought to the area to establish sound herding practices.

Commercial fishing for herring and subsistence activities are important to Unalakleet's economy. Norton Sound Econ. Dev. Council operates a fish processing plant. Tourism is on the increase since there is world-class Silver Salmon fishing in the area.


Valdez

Population: 4,171, with 10.2% being Native or part Native.
Area: 222.0 square miles of land, 55.1 square miles of water.
Location: North shore of Port Valdez, a deep water fjord in Prince William Sound, 364 road miles south of Fairbanks.
Accessibility: Highway, air, boat/ship.
Climate: Maritime.
Precipitation: 62 inches, with 325 inches of snow.
Temperatures: Winter: 21° to 30° F (-6° to -1 ° C); Summer: 46° to 61° F (8° to 16° C).

Port Valdez was named in 1790 by Don Salvador Fidalgo for the celebrated Spanish naval officer Antonio Valdez y Basan. Since the port is ice-free year-round, a town developed in 1898 as a debarkation point for men seeking a route to the Eagle Mining District and Klondike gold fields. Valdez soon became the supply center for its own mining region. A highway connecting Valdez to Fairbanks was completed in the early 1920s. The town was destroyed by the 1964 earthquake and rebuilt on more stable bedrock 4 miles to the west. In the 1970s, Valdez was chosen as the terminal for the Trans-Alaska pipeline. In 1989, the population tripled as Valdez became the center for the massive oil-spill cleanup after the Exxon Valdez disaster.

Employment is offered by the oil companies and shipping companies. Fishing is also a major employer, with several fish processing plants present. Tourism is also an important part to the local enconomy, and several cruise ships dock in Valdez.


Wasilla

Population: 6,343, with 9.1% being Native or part Native.
Area: 11.7 square miles of land, 0.7 square miles of water.
Location: Midway between the Matanuska and Susitna Valleys, 43 miles northeast of Anchorage.
Accessibility: Highway, air, train.
Climate: Continental.
Precipitation: 17 inches anually, with 50 inches of snowfall.
Temperatures: Winter: -33° to 33° F (-36° to 1° C); Summer: 42° to 83° F (6° to 28° C).

Wasilla was named after the respected Dena'ina Indian, Chief Wasilla. In the Dena'ina Athabascan dialect, Wasilla means "breath of air". Other sources say that Chief Wasilla got his name from Russian Василий (Vasili), a variation of the Russian name William. The town began in 1917 as a supply base for gold and coal mining in the region. The area was settled by many homesteaders in the 1930s. Construction of the Parks Highway in the early 1970s provided direct access to Anchorage.

About 30% of the Wasilla workforce commutes to Anchorage. The local economy is based on a variety of government, retail, and professional services. Tourism, agriculture, and wood, steel, and concrete products also contribute to the economy. The official start of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race is in Wasilla.


Whittier

Population: 170, with 12.6% being Native or part Native.
Area: 12.5 square miles of land, 7.2 square miles of water.
Location: Northeast shore of the Kenai Peninsula, at the head of Passage Canal, 75 miles southeast of Anchorage.
Accessibility: Highway, train, air, boat/ship.
Climate: Maritime.
Precipitation: 66 inches of rain and 80 inches of snowfall.
Temperatures: Winter: 17° to 28° F (-8° to -2° C); Summer: 49° to 63° F (9° to 17° C).

Passage Canal was once the quickest route from Prince William Sound to Cook Inlet. Chugach Indians would portage to Turnagain Arm in search of fish. A port and railroad terminus were constructed for transport of fuel and other supplies into Alaska during World War II. The railroad spur and two tunnels through the mountains were completed in 1943. The port remained an Army facility until 1960.

The city, school, local services, and summer tourism support Whittier. Tours, fishing charters, and sport fishing in Prince William Sound attract seasonal visitors. In 2000, the railroad tunnel to Whitter was reconstructed to accommodate both rail and road vehicles.


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