Northwest Arctic Borough
Non-Unified Home Rule Borough
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- a.k.a. Northwest Arctic
- Community's Judicial District
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
Geography and Climate
- The Northwest Arctic Borough is the second-largest borough in Alaska, comprising approximately 39,000 square miles along the Kotzebue Sound and Wulik, Noatak, Kobuk, Selawik, Buckland, and Kugruk Rivers.
- The area experiences a transitional climate, characterized by long, cold winters and cool summers. Temperatures range from -52 to 85 °F. Total precipitation averages 9 inches per year, and average annual snowfall is 47 inches.
- Community Map Available
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- This area has been occupied by Inupiat Eskimos for at least 10,000 years. "Kikiktagruk" was the hub of ancient arctic trading routes. The first non-Native to visit Kotzebue Sound was German Lt. Otto Von Kotzebue, exploring on behalf of Russia in 1818. In 1899, a post office was established in Kotzebue. Most cities in the borough developed as supply stations for Interior gold mining and were settled around schools and churches. The borough was incorporated as a first-class borough in 1986 and became a home-rule borough in 1987.
- The borough population is primarily Inupiat Eskimo, and subsistence activities are a vital part of the lifestyle. Residents rely on caribou, reindeer, beluga whale, birds, four species of seals, berries, greens, and fish.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
Facilities, Utilities, and Health Care
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Schools, Gulanilch Arts Gallery, Planning, Public Safety, Fire Department, Search and Rescue
- The City of Kotzebue is the 'hub' of Northwest Alaska and is the transfer point between ocean and inland shipping. It does not have a natural harbor and is ice-free for only 3 months each year. Deep draft vessels must anchor 15 miles out, and cargo is lightered to the docking facility. Local barge services provide cargo to area communities. Ralph Wien Memorial Airport supports daily jet service and air taxis to Anchorage.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection