in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area
- Area Type
- Place of Interest
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 Department of Labor Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- Community's Judicial District
- Recording District
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Geography and Climate
- Wiseman is located on the middle fork of the Koyukuk River, at the junction of Wiseman Creek in the Brooks Range. It is about 260 miles northwest of Fairbanks off the Dalton Highway, 13 miles north of Coldfoot, and 75 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Wiseman is located in a valley, at 1,180' elevation.
- The climate of the area is strongly continental. Winter temperatures can be extremely cold: -50 to -70 °F in January and February. There is a total loss of sunlight between December 5 and January 9. High temperatures occasionally reach 90 °F. Annual precipitation averages 12-15 inches, and snowfall averages 36 inches. The Aurora Borealis is especially vivid over this portion of the Brooks Range and is visible from September through March.
- Community Map Available
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- In response to increased mining on the Nolan Creek and the Hammond River in the early 1900s, locals began to abandon Coldfoot, 13 miles to the south. Supplies were brought up the Koyukuk River to Wiseman Creek by horse-drawn barge, where a new town developed in 1907. It was first called Wrights, then Nolan, and finally Wiseman in 1923. A log post office operated from about 1909 to 1956, with mail and supplies freighted or flown in. A territorial school operated from 1934 to 1941. By 1974, the 414-mile pipeline "haul road" was constructed, which passes near Wiseman. Travel was restricted for the general public until December 1994. The road is now known as the Dalton Highway, named for James William Dalton, an arctic engineer. In 1979 Florence Jonas (or Kalhabuk), the last full Eskimo resident, passed away in Wiseman at the age of 82. A nearby mountain and the chapel were named in her honor. The school, operated in the community center, was closed in November 2002, because it was unable to meet the state's minimum enrollment. Children are home schooled.
- Subsistence hunting, fishing, and trapping sustain year-round residents.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
Facilities, Utilities, and Health Care
- The partially-paved Dalton Highway connects Wiseman to Alaska's road system. A state-owned gravel airstrip is available but is not consistently maintained.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection
- Community's Senate District
- Community's House District