Aleknagik, AK

  • Location and Climate

    Aleknagik is located at the head of Wood River on the southeast end of Lake Aleknagik, 16 miles northwest of Dillingham. The community lies at approximately 59.273060° North Latitude and -158.61778° (West) Longitude.  (Sec. 31, T010S, R055W, Seward Meridian.)   Aleknagik is located in the Bristol Bay Recording District.  The area encompasses 11.6 sq. miles of land and 7.2 sq. miles of water.  Aleknagik is in a transitional climate zone. The primary influence is maritime, although a continental climate does affect the weather here. Average summer temperatures range from 30 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit. Average winter temperatures range from 4 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Annual precipitation is 20 to 35 inches and annual snowfall is 93 inches. Fog and low clouds are common during July and August, and may preclude access. The lake and river are ice-free from June through mid-November.

    History, Culture and Demographics

    Wood River and Aleknagik Lake have been used historically as summer fish camps. The 1929 U.S. Census found 55 people living in the "Wood River village" area to the south. During 1930, there were five families living on the shores of the lakey ear-round, the Waskeys. Polleys, Hansons, Yakos, and Smiths. A log cabin territorial school was built on the south shore of the lake in 1933, and Josie Waskey was the first teacher. Attracted by the school,other facilities, and plentiful fish, game and timber, a number of families from Goodnews, Togiak, and Kulukak area relocated to Aleknagik. A post office was established in 1937. A two-story framed school with a teacher apartment was constructed in 1938. By 1939, Aleknagik had 78 residents, over 30 buildings, and a small sawmill. In the late 1940s, a Seventh-Day Adventist Mission and School was established on the north shore. During the 1950s, a Moravian Church and a Russian Orthodox Church were built in Aleknagik and over 35 families lived along the lake. In 1959, the state constructed a 25-mile road connecting the south shore to Dillingham. The road was passable only during the summer months, until the late 1980s, when it was upgraded and maintained year-round. The City was incorporated in 1973. Over 24 additional square miles were annexed to the City in April 2000. 

    A federally-recognized tribe is located in the community -- the Aleknagik Traditional Council. The population of the community consists of 84.6% Alaska Native or part Native.  It is a traditional Yup'ik Eskimo area, with historical influences from the Seventh-Day Adventists, Russian Orthodox and Moravians. Fishing and subsistence activities are practiced. During the 2000 U.S. Census, total housing units numbered 107, and vacant housing units numbered 37. Vacant housing units used only seasonally numbered 21. U.S. Census data for Year 2000 showed 69 residents as employed. The unemployment rate at that time was 21.59 percent, although 51.75 percent of all adults were not in the workforce. The median household income was $22,750, per capita income was $10,973, and 40.77 percent of residents were living below the poverty level.

    Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care

    The majority of residents (49 homes) have household plumbing, and most use individual wells. 12 homes do not have water or sewer service -some haul water from the community center, and a few are served by aspring water catchment system. Septic tanks, leechate fields and public sewage lagoons are used for sewage disposal. The North Shore uses eleven shared residential effluent pumps (REP units) which discharge into a piped system. There are three landfill sites. The North Shore landfill is being relocated; the South Shore landfill has an incinerator but is unfenced. A third landfill is located 2 miles from the South Shore, on the West side of the Aleknagik-Dillingham road.Nushagak Electric in Dillingham provides electricity to Aleknagik. Electricity is provided by Nushugak Electric Cooperative. There is one school located in the community,  attended by 33 students. Local hospitals or health clinics include North Shore Health Clinic(842-5512), South Shore Health Clinic (842-2185) or Kanakanak Hospital in Dillingham.  Both, North and South Shore Clinics are Primary Health Care facilities. Aleknagik is classified as a highway village, it is found in EMS Region 2I in the Bristol Bay Region. Emergency Services have limited highway, air and satellite access. Emergency service is provided by volunteers and a health aide  Auxiliary health care is provided by Aleknagik First Responders Group (907-842-2085); or Kanakanak Hospital in Dillingham (25 road miles).

    Economy and Transportation

    Many residents participate in commercial and subsistence activities on the Bristol Bay coast during the summer. 33 residents hold commercial fishing permits. Trapping is also an important means of income. Most families depend to some extent on subsistence activities to supplement their livelihoods. Salmon, freshwater fish, moose, caribou, and berries are harvested. Poor fish returns and prices since 1997 have significantly affected the community.

    Aleknagik is the only regional village with a road link to Dillingham,a 25-mile road which connects the south shore. The "New Aleknagik" airport is a State-owned 2,070' long by 90' wide gravel airstrip located on the north shore, and regular flights are scheduled through Dillingham. The north shore of the lake is not road accessible;residents use skiffs to travel to town on the south shore. Moody's Aleknagik Seaplane Base, also on the north shore, accommodates floatplanes. There are two additional airstrips, the public Tripod Airport,a 1,250' turf-gravel airstrip located 2 miles southeast of Aleknagik, and the 7th Day Adventist's Mission School Airport, a 1,200'gravel/dirt airstrip with a crosswind runway. The State owns and operates a 100' dock on the north shore of Aleknagik Lake. A breakwater, barge landing, boat launch ramp and boat lift are available on the north shore. Vehicles, skiffs, ATVs and snowmachines are the most frequent means of local transportation.

    Information taken from State of Alaska Online Community Database