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Browse Locations Ambler





Current Population:                                           276   (2011 Alaska Department of Labor Estimate)

Incorporation Type:                                           2nd Class City

Located In:                                                         Northwest Arctic Borough

Taxes:                                                                Sales: 3%, Property: None, Special: None

National Flood Insurance Program Participant: Yes



Location and Climate

Ambler is located on the north bank of the Kobuk River, near the confluence of the Ambler and the Kobuk Rivers. It lies 45 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It is 138 miles northeast of Kotzebue, 30 miles northwest of Kobuk, and 30 miles downriver from Shungnak. The community lies at approximately 67.086110° North Latitude and -157.851390° West Longitude.  (Sec. 31, T020N, R005E, Kateel River Meridian.)   Ambler is located in the Kotzebue Recording District.  The area encompasses 9.5 sq. miles of land and 1.3 sq. miles of water.

Ambler is located in the continental climate zone. Temperatures average -10 to 15 °F during the winter and 40 to 65 °F during the summer. Temperature extremes have been recorded from -65 to 92 °F. Snowfall averages 80 inches and precipitation averages 16 inches per year. The Kobuk River is navigable from early July to mid-October.


History, Culture and Demographics

Ambler is named after Dr. James M. Ambler, a U.S. Navy surgeon on the U.S.S. Jeannette, who perished in 1881 in the Lena River Delta while with the Arctic expedition under the command of Lt. Comdr. G.W. DeLong (1879-1880). Ambler was permanently settled in 1958 when people from Shungnak and Kobuk moved upstream because of the variety of fish, wild game, and spruce trees in the area. An archaeological site is located nearby at Onion Portage. A post office was established in 1963. The city was incorporated in 1971.

A federally-recognized tribe is located in the community -- the Native Village of Ambler. The residents of Ambler are Kowagniut Inupiat Eskimos, with a traditional subsistence lifestyle. The sale and importation of alcohol is banned in the village.

According to Census 2010, there were 99 housing units in the community and 75 were occupied. Its population was 84.5 percent American Indian or Alaska Native; 11.2 percent white; 0.4 percent black; 3.9 percent of the local residents had multi-racial backgrounds.


Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care

The main source of water for the community is a 167' well near the Kobuk River. Water is pumped 940 feet to the treatment facility, stored in a 210,000-gallon insulated tank, and then piped to most homes. An 80' standby well is also located at the water treatment plant. Sewage is collected through two lift stations via 6- and 8-inch arctic pipes and flows to a facultative lagoon, where it discharges to a natural watershed and then to the Kobuk River. The landfill is not permitted. Electricity is provided by AVEC. There is one school located in the community,  attended by 68 students. Local hospitals or health clinics include Ambler Health Clinic.  Ambler Health Clinic is a Primary Health Care facility with river and air access.



Cash employment is limited to the school, city, clinic, and local stores, though some mining occurs. In 2010, one resident held commercial fishing permits. Subsistence is a major part of the local economy. Chum salmon and caribou are the most important food sources. Freshwater fish, moose, bear, and berries are also harvested. Birch baskets, fur pelts, and jade, quartz, bone, and ivory carvings created in Ambler are sold in gift shops throughout the state.

The 2006-2010 American Community Survey (ACS) estimated 761 residents as employed. The public sector employed 15.8%1 of all workers. The local unemployment rate was 36.1%1. The percentage of workers not in labor force was 44.9%1. The ACS surveys established that average median household income (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) was $55,313 (MOE +/-$24,612)1. The per capita income (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) was $12,504 (MOE +/-$4,098)1. About 44.5%1 of all residents had incomes below the poverty level. 




Ambler's major means of transportation are by barge, plane, small boat, and snowmachine. There are no roads linking the city to other parts of the state. A state-owned 3,000' long by 60' wide lighted gravel airstrip with a 2,400' long by 60' wide gravel crosswind airstrip is located one and a half miles from the city. In addition, daily scheduled services are provided out of Kotzebue, and air taxis provide charter flights. Crowley Marine Services barges fuel and supplies to Ambler each summer. Boats are used for inter-village travel and subsistence activities. ATVs and snowmachines are commonly used in winter.

Organizations with Local Offices

City - City of Ambler
P.O. Box 9
Ambler, AK 99786
Phone 907-445-2122
Fax 907-445-2174

Electric Utility - Alaska Village Electric Cooperative
4831 Eagle St.
Anchorage, AK 99503
Phone 907-561-1818
Fax 907-562-4086

Tribe - federally recognized - Native Village of Ambler
P.O. Box 47
Ambler, AK 99786
Phone 907-445-2238
Fax 907-445-2257



Regional Organizations

School District - Northwest Arctic Borough School District
P.O. Box 51
Kotzebue, AK 99752
Phone 907-442-3472
Fax 907-442-2246

Regional Native Health Corporation - Maniilaq Association
P.O. Box 256
Kotzebue, AK 99752
Phone 907-442-3311
Fax 907-442-7678

Native Housing Authority - Northwest Inupiat Housing Authority
P.O. Box 331
Kotzebue, AK 99752
Phone 907-442-3450
Fax 907-442-3486

Regional Development - Northwest Arctic Borough Economic Development Council
P.O. Box 1110
Kotzebue,  99752
Phone 907-442-2500
Fax 907-442-3740


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