Twin Hills, AK

  • Location and Climate

    Twin Hills is located near the mouth of the Twin Hills River, a tributary of the Togiak River, 386 miles southwest of Anchorage. The community lies at approximately 59.079170° North Latitude and -160.275°(West) Longitude.  (Sec. 03, T013S, R066W, Seward Meridian.)  Twin Hills is located in the Bristol Bay Recording District.  The area encompasses 21.8 sq. miles of land and 0.3 sq. miles of water. The area experiences a transitional climate, primarily maritime, although the arctic climate also affects this region. Average summer temperatures range from 37 to 66; winter temperatures average 4 to 30. Precipitation ranges from 20 to 26 inches annually. Fog and high winds are prevalent during winter months. The Togiak River is ice-free from June through mid-November.

    History, Culture and Demographics

    The village was established in 1965 by families who moved from Togiak to avoid the recurrent flooding there. Some residents migrated from Quinhagak on Kuskokwim Bay. The people have strong cultural ties to the Yukon-Kuskokwim region, because many of their ancestors migrated to Togiak following the 1918-19 influenza epidemic. School was first conducted in the church during 1967-68. A school building was constructed in 1972, but it burned in 1976. A new school was built in1978. A post office was established around 1977, although there have been some interruptions of service. 

    A federally-recognized tribe is located in the community -- the Twin Hills Village Council. The population of the community consists of 94.2% Alaska Native or part Native.  Twin Hills 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 33, and vacant housing units numbered 9. Vacant housing units used only seasonally numbered 1. U.S. Census data for Year 2000 showed 15 residents as employed.
    The unemployment rate at that time was 0 percent, although 50 percent of all adults were not in the work force. The median household income was $29,375, per capita income was $16,856, and 27.91 percent of residents were living below the poverty level.

    Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care

    Piped water and sewer systems were installed in Twin Hills in 1977. Water is drawn using a submersible pump, is treated and stored in a 60,000-gal.steel tank. The gravity sewage system feeds to a disposal lagoon on the far west side of town. 22 occupied households have piped services and complete plumbing. As of March 2003 there are 7 new HUD housing units with individual wells and septic tanks. The school operates its own system. A coin-operated washeteria is available. Water, sewer and landfill improvements are currently being studied. Electricity is provided by Twin Hills Village Council. There is one school located in the community,  attended by 13 students. Local hospitals or health clinics include Twin Hills Village Clinic (525-4326).  Twin Hills is classified as an isolated village, it is found in EMS Region 2I in the Bristol Bay Region. Emergency Services have limited air and river access. Emergency service is provided by a health aide  Auxiliary health care is provided by Twin Hills First Responder Group (525-4821).

    Economy and Transportation

    Steady employment is limited to those working for the Village Council and Post Office. 15 residents hold commercial fishing permits, primarily for salmon, herring, herring roe on kelp, or sac roe. Fishermen use special flat-bottomed boats for the shallow waters of Togiak Bay. Togiak Fisheries and other cash buyers provide a market for fishermen. The community depends heavily on subsistence activities for various food sources. Seal, sea lion, walrus, whale, salmon, clams, geese, and ducks are harvested. An exchange relationship exists between Twin Hills,Togiak and Manokotak. Seal oil is exchanged for blackfish. Handicrafts also supplement incomes.

    Twin Hills is primarily accessible by air and water. Regular and charter flights are available from Dillingham. There is a State-owned 3,000' long by 60' wide lighted gravel runway on a ridge east of the village. Most cargo is delivered by air. There is a boat landing but no docking facilities; bulk goods must be lightered to shore. Autos, ATVs and snowmachines are used for local transportation. Residents drive along the beach to access the Togiak Fisheries cannery.

    Information taken from State of Alaska Online Community Database