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Alatna, Alaska

Alatna, Alaska aerial view.jpg
Location of Alatna, Alaska
Location of Alatna, Alaska
Country United States
State Alaska
Census Area Yukon-Koyukuk
 • Total 36.48 sq mi (94.49 km2)
 • Land 36.48 sq mi (94.49 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
 • Total 15
 • Density 0.41/sq mi (0.16/km2)
Time zone UTC-9 (Alaska (AKST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-8 (AKDT)
Area code(s) 907
FIPS code 02-01305

Alatna (Alaasuq in Iñupiaq) is a census-designated place (CDP) in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area of the Unorganized Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. The population was 37 at the 2010 census.


Alatna is at 66°34′01″N 152°39′59″W / 66.56694°N 152.66639°W / 66.56694; -152.66639 (66.548906, -152.844806) (Sec. 33, T021N, R024W, Fairbanks Meridian) in the Fairbanks Recording District.

Alatna is on the north bank of the Koyukuk River, southwest of its junction with the Alatna River, approximately 190 miles (310 km) northwest of Fairbanks and 57 miles (92 km) upriver from Hughes. Alatna lies just west of the municipal boundaries of the city of Allakaket.

The area experiences a cold, continental climate with extreme temperature differences. The average high temperature during July is 70 °F (21 °C). The average low during January is well below 0 °F (-18 °C), and extended periods of -40 °F/C are common. The highest temperature ever recorded was 94 °F (34 °C); the lowest, -75 °F (-59 °C). Average annual precipitation is 13 inches (33 cm) and average annual snowfall is 72 inches (183 cm). The Koyukuk River is ice-free from June through October.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has an area of 36.5 square miles (95 km2), all of it land.


Climate data for Alatna
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) −9
Average low °F (°C) −31
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.8
Source: Weatherbase

History and culture

Several Alaska Native groups have lived in the area, including Koyukon Athabascans and Kobuk, Selawik, and Nunamiut from the north and northwest. The Koyukon lived in several camps throughout the year, moving as the seasons changed, following the wild game and fish. The various bands established joint settlements after 1851. The old site of Alatna was a trading center for Athabascans and Inuit. The first mission on the Koyukuk River, St. John's-in-the-Wilderness Episcopal Mission, was established in 1906. A post office was opened in 1925. In 1938, the community's name was changed to Allakaket (the old name for the mission), and the name Alatna was assumed by the small Eskimo community across the river. The first public school was established in 1957. A flood caused by ice jamming inundated 85% of the community in the Spring of 1964. In 1975, the community incorporated as a city, including both settlements of Allakaket and Alatna. A clinic and airport were built in 1978. A school and community roads were built in 1979. In September 1994, flood waters destroyed nearly all of the community's buildings, homes, and food caches for the winter. Residents have rebuilt near the old city site, but Alatna is no longer within the incorporated city boundaries.

A federally recognized Alaskan village is in the community—the Alatna Village. The population of the community consists of 97.1% Alaska Native or part Native. The Alatna population consists largely of descendants of Kobuk Eskimos; Athabascans predominantly live in Allakaket. Subsistence activities are prevalent.


As of the census of 2000, there were 35 people, 12 households, and 6 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 1.0 people per square mile (0.4/km²). There were 17 housing units at an average density of 0.5/sq mi (0.2/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 2.86% White, 94.29% Native American, and 2.86% from two or more races.

There were 12 households out of which 50.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 16.7% were married couples living together, 25.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.7% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals and none had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.92 and the average family size was 3.43.

In the CDP, the population was spread out with 37.1% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females there were 84.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.0 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $20,313, and the median income for a family was $52,500. Males had a median income of $22,500 versus $16,250 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $14,109. There were no families and 9.1% of the population living below the poverty line, including no under eighteens and none of those over 64.

Economy and transportation

The economy is seasonal and subsistence-based. Salmon, whitefish, moose, bear, small game and berries provide most food sources. Caribou are taken when available. A few earn income from trapping or traditional Native handicrafts. Construction and BLM emergency firefighting also provide summer jobs.

Alatna has no road link, but winter trails connect it with Hughes, Bettles and Tanana. River transportation is important during the summer. A state-owned 3,500' lighted runway is accessible year-round in Allakaket. There is no barge service due to shallow water.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Alatna (Alaska) para niños

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