Ekwok, AK

  • Location and Climate

    Ekwok is located along the Nushagak River, 43 miles northeast of Dillingham, and 285 miles southwest of Anchorage. The community lies at approximately 59.349720° North Latitude and -157.47528° (West) Longitude.  (Sec. 35, T009S, R049W, Seward Meridian.)   Ekwok is located in the Bristol Bay Recording District.  The area encompasses 16.0 sq. miles of land and 1.4 sq. miles of water.  Ekwok is in a climatic transition zone. The primary influence is maritime, although a continental climate also affects the weather. Average summer temperatures range from 30 to 66; winter temperatures average from 4 to 30. Precipitation averages 20 to 35 inches each year. Extremely strong winds are common during winter months. Fog is prevalent during summer months. The River is ice-free from June through mid-November.

    History, Culture and Demographics

    Ekwok means "end of the bluff," and is the oldest continuously occupied Yup'ik Eskimo village on the river. During the 1800s, the settlement was used in the spring and summer as a fish camp, and in the fall as abase for berry-picking. By 1923, it was the largest settlement along the river. In 1930, a BIA school was constructed. Mail was delivered by dog sled from Dillingham until a post office opened in 1941. Many of the earliest homes in Ekwok were located in a low, flat area near the riverbank. After a severe flood in the early 1960s, villagers relocated on higher ground, to the current location. The City was incorporated in1974. 

    A federally-recognized tribe is located in the community -- the Ekwok Village Council. The population of the community consists of 93.8% Alaska Native or part Native.  Ekwok is a Yup'ik Eskimo village with a fishing and subsistence lifestyle. During the 2000 U.S. Census, total housing units numbered 56, and vacant housing units numbered 14. Vacant housing units used only seasonally numbered 5. U.S. Census data for Year 2000 showed 28 residents as employed. The unemployment rate at that time was 20 percent, although 55.56 percent of all adults were not in the work force. The median household income was $16,250, per capita income was $11,079, and 32.08 percent of residents were living below the poverty level.

    Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care 

    Individual wells provide water for the majority of the community. 20 HUD homes have individual wells and a piped septic system. The City operates a piped sewage system with sewage lift station which connects to 16 additional residences. The remaining homes use septic systems or a flush/haul system; a sewage pumper is available. 36 of 42 homes have complete plumbing. The community needs a washeteria with a water source and treatment system. Refuse collection services are provided. Electricity is provided by Ekwok Electric. There is one school located in the community,  attended by 26 students. Local hospitals or health clinics include Ekwok Clinic (464-3322).  Ekwok is classified as an isolated village, it is found in EMS Region 2I in the Bristol Bay Region. Emergency Services have coastal and air access. Emergency service is provided by a health aide  Auxiliary health care is provided by Ekwok Fire & EMS (VPSO 907-464-3326) and Ekwok First Responders (CHP 907-464-3322).

    Economy and Transportation

    A few residents trap. The entire population depends on subsistence activities for various food sources. Salmon, pike, moose, caribou, duck and berries are harvested. Summer gardens are also popular, because families do not leave the village to fish for subsistence purposes. Most residents are not interested in participating in a cash economy. Only six residents hold commercial fishing permits in Ekwok. The village corporation owns a fishing lodge two miles downriver. Gravel is mined near the community.

    Air transport is most frequently used to reach Ekwok. Regular and charter flights are available from Dillingham. There is a State-owned 2,720' long by 75' wide gravel runway. Float planes land on the Nushagak River. Cargo is brought in during ice-free months from Dillingham by Coastal Marine Transport barge service. There are no docking facilities, but a barge off-loading area exists. Skiffs, ATVs and snowmachines are used for local transportation to other villages.

    Information taken from State of Alaska Online Community Database