Location and Climate
Togiak is located at the head of Togiak Bay, 67 miles west of Dillingham. It lies in Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, and is the gateway to Walrus Island Game Sanctuary. The community lies at approximately 59.061940° North Latitude and -160.37639° (West) Longitude. (Sec. 12, T013S, R067W, Seward Meridian.) Togiak is located in the Bristol Bay Recording District. The area encompasses 45.2 sq. miles of land and 183.3 sq. miles of water. Togiak is located in a climatic transition zone, however the arctic climate also affects this region. Average summer temperatures range from 37 to 66; winter temperatures average 4 to 30. Precipitation is 20 to 26 inches annually. Fog and high winds are prevalent during the winter. The Bay is ice-free from June through mid-November.
History, Culture and Demographics
In 1880, "Old Togiak," or "Togiagamute," was located across the Bay, and had a population of 276. Heavy winter snowfalls made wood-gathering difficult at Old Togiak, so gradually people settled at a new site on the opposite shore, where the task was easier. Many residents of the Yukon-Kuskokwim region migrated south to the Togiak area after the devastating influenza epidemic in 1918-19. A school was established in an old church in 1950. A school building and a National Guard Armory were constructed in 1959. Togiak was flooded in 1964, and many fish racks and stores of gas, fuel oil and stove oil were destroyed. Three or four households left Togiak after the flood and developed the village of Twin Hills upriver. The City government was incorporated in1969.
A federally-recognized tribe is located in the community -- the Togiak Traditional Council. The population of the community consists of 92.7% Alaska Native or part Native. Togiak is a traditional Yup'ik Eskimo village with a fishing and subsistence lifestyle. The sale, importation or possession of alcohol is banned in the village. During the 2000 U.S. Census, total housing units numbered 221, and vacant housing units numbered 19. Vacant housing units used only seasonally numbered 7. U.S. Census data for Year 2000 showed 173 residents as employed. The unemployment rate at that time was 26.84 percent, although 66.67 percent of all adults were not in the workforce. The median household income was $23,977, per capita income was $9,676, and 29.9 percent of residents were living below the poverty level.
Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care
Water is derived from a well, is treated and stored in a 500,000-gal. tank. The majority of households (125 residences) are connected to the piped water and sewer system installed in 1976; the remaining homes have new individual wells and septic tanks. 35 new HUD housing units were recently completed in the Togiak Heights Subdivision, with a sewage system. In all, 210 homes are fully plumbed, and 14 are not. The water system is 25 to 30 years old and suffers from broken or corroded pipes, valves and service connections. A new landfill was recently completed. Electricity is provided by AVEC. There is one school located in the community, attended by 229 students. Local hospitals or health clinics include Togiak Sub-Regional Health Clinic (493-5511). The clinic is a qualified Emergency Care Center. Togiak is classified as an isolated town/Sub-Regional Center, it is found in EMS Region 2I in the Bristol Bay Region. Emergency Services have coastal and air access. Emergency service is provided by volunteers and a health aide Auxiliary health care is provided by Togiak First Responders Group (493-5511/5435).
Economy and Transportation
Togiak's economic base is primarily commercial salmon, herring, and herring roe-on-kelp fisheries. 244 residents hold commercial fishing permits; fishermen use flat-bottom boats for the shallow waters of Togiak Bay. There is one on-shore fish processor and several floating processing facilities near Togiak. The entire community depends heavily on subsistence activities. Salmon, herring, seal, sea lion, whale and walrus are among the species harvested. A few residents trap.
A State-owned 4,400' long by 98' wide lighted gravel airstrip with a 1,200' long by 49' wide crosswind airstrip and navigation aids is available. Scheduled and chartered flights are available from Dillingham. Freight is brought in by air or barge and lightered to shore. There are no docking facilities. Skiffs, autos, ATVs and snowmachines are used for local transportation.
Information taken from State of Alaska Online Community Database