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Bethel

Bethel

Browse Locations Bethel

 

Bethel

(BETH-ul); a.k.a. Orutsararmuit

 

Current Population: 6,228   (2011 Alaska Department of Labor Estimate)

Incorporation Type:; 2nd Class City

Located In: Bethel Census Area

Taxes: Sales: 6%, Property: None, Special: 12% Bed Tax; 6% Alcohol Tax; 6% Gaming Tax

National Flood Insurance Program Participant: Yes

 

 

Location and Climate

Bethel is located at the mouth of the Kuskokwim River, 40 miles inland from the Bering Sea. It lies in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, 400 air miles west of Anchorage. The community lies at approximately 60.792220° North Latitude and -161.755830° West Longitude.  (Sec. 09, T008N, R071W, Seward Meridian.)   Bethel is located in the Bethel Recording District.  The area encompasses 43.8 sq. miles of land and 5.1 sq. miles of water.

Precipitation averages 16 inches a year, and snowfall averages 50 inches per year. Summer temperatures range from 42 to 62 °F. Winter temperatures range from -2 to 19 °F.

 

History, Culture and Demographics

Bethel was first established by Yup'ik Eskimos, who called the village "Mumtrekhlogamute," meaning "Smokehouse People," named for the nearby fish smokehouse. There were 41 people in Bethel during the 1880 U.S. Census. At that time, it was an Alaska Commercial Company Trading Post. The Moravian Church established a mission in the area in 1884. The community was moved to its present location due to erosion at the prior site. A post office was opened in 1905. Before long, Bethel was serving as a trading, transportation, and distribution center for the region, which attracted Natives from surrounding villages. The city was incorporated in 1957. Over time, federal and state agencies established regional offices in Bethel.

A federally-recognized tribe is located in the community -- the Orutsararmuit Native Village. The region is fortunate in that rapid development did not occur before the importance of protecting Native culture was realized. The traditional Yup'ik Eskimo practices and language remain predominant in the area. Subsistence activities and commercial fishing are major contributors to residents' livelihoods.

According to Census 2010, there were 2,364 housing units in the community and 1,896 were occupied. Its population was 65 percent American Indian or Alaska Native; 23.3 percent white; 0.9 percent black; 2.5 percent Asian; 0.4 percent Pacific Islander; 7.3 percent of the local residents had multi-racial backgrounds. Additionally, 2.2 percent of the population was of Hispanic descent.

 

Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care

Some residents are connected to the central piped water and sewer system. Approximately 75% of households have water delivered and sewage hauled by truck. Several facilities in Bethel have individual wells and septic tanks. Electricity is provided by Bethel Utilities Corporation. There are 6 schools located in the community,  attended by 1,375 students. Local hospitals or health clinics include Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Regional Hospital Bethel Family Clinic.  The hospital is a qualified Acute Care facility and the clinic is a qualified Emergency Care Center and a Primary Health Care facility. Specialized Care: YKHC Phillips Alcohol Program (City-operated health care lodging rehabilitation) YKHC Outpatient Services (Calista-operated health care information) Bethel Community Services' Malon. Emergency Services have limited highway river floatplane and airport access. Emergency service is provided by 911 Telephone Service volunteers and a health aide.  Auxiliary health care is provided by Bethel Fire Department (907-543-3781/2131) Yukon Kuskokwim EMS Region (907-543-6423).

 

Economy

Bethel serves as the regional center for 56 villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Food, fuel, transportation, medical care, and other services for the region are provided by Bethel. 50% of the jobs in Bethel are in government positions. Commercial fishing is an important source of income. In 2010,189 residents held commercial fishing permits. Subsistence activities contribute substantially to villager's diets, particularly salmon, freshwater fish, game birds, and berries. Poor fish returns since 1997 have significantly affected the community.

The 2006-2010 American Community Survey (ACS) estimated 2,8071 residents as employed. The public sector employed 24.0%1 of all workers. The local unemployment rate was 10.1%1. The percentage of workers not in labor force was 24.4%1. The ACS surveys established that average median household income (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) was $86,935 (MOE +/-$14,330)1. The per capita income (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) was $29,220 (MOE +/-$2,913)1. About 7.8%1 of all residents had incomes below the poverty level. 

 

 

Transportation

The state-owned Bethel Airport is the regional transportation center and is served by a number of passenger airlines, cargo carriers, and numerous air taxi services. Bethel is the third busiest state-owned airport in Alaska. It offers 6,400' long by 150' wide and 4,000' long by 75' wide asphalt runways and a 1,860' long by 75' wide gravel crosswind runway. Two float plane bases (Hangar Lake and H Marker Lake) are nearby. The Port of Bethel includes a small boat harbor, dry land storage, and up to 5,000 feet of transient moorage on the seawall. River travel is the primary means of local transportation in the summer, and it becomes a 150-mile ice road to surrounding villages in the winter. A barge service based in Bethel provides goods to the Kuskokwim villages. There are 16 miles of graded dirt roads maintained by the city and 22 miles of paved roads maintained by the state DOT.


Organizations with Local Offices

City - City of Bethel
P.O. Box 1388
Bethel, AK 99559
Phone 907-543-2047
Fax 907-543-4171
E-mail 
lfoley@cityofbethel.net; lstrickler@cityof bethel.net
Web http://www.cityofbethel.org 

Economic Development - Lower Kuskokwim Resource Conservation and Development
P.O. Box 1869
Bethel, AK 99559
Phone 907-543-7157

Economic Development - Chamber of Commerce - Bethel Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 329
Bethel, AK 99559
Phone 907-543-2911
Fax 907-543-2255
E-mail 
bethelchamber1@alaska.com
Web http://www.bethelakchamber.org/ 

Electric Utility - Bethel Utilities Corporation
3201 C Street, Suite 500
Anchorage, AK 99503
Phone 907-562-2502
Fax 907-562-2502
Web 
etilbury@bethelutilities.com 

Housing Authority - AVCP Regional Housing Authority
P.O. Box 767
Bethel, AK 99559
Phone 907-543-3121
Fax 907-543-3933
E-mail 
ron@avcphousing.org
Web http://www.avcphousing.org 

Media Newspaper - Tundra Drums
PO Box 868
Bethel, AK 99559
Phone 907-543-3500
Fax 907-543-3312
E-mail 
drums@unicorn-alaska.com
Web http://www.alaskanewspapers.com 

Media Newspaper - The Delta Discovery
P.O. Box 1028
Bethel, AK 99559
Phone 907-543-4113
Fax 907-543-4116
E-mail 
realnews@deltadiscovery.com
Web http://www.deltadiscovery.com 

Other - Cenaliulriit Coastal Resource Service Area
P.O. Box 219
Bethel, AK 99559
Phone 877-827-8747
E-mail 
cenaliulriit@starband.net

Other - Alaska Legal Services Corporation (Bethel Office)
P.O. Box 248
Bethel, AK 99559-0248
Phone 907-543-2237
Fax 907-543-5537
E-mail 
bethel@alsc-law.org

Regional Development - Lower Kuskokwim Economic Development Council
P.O. Box 2021
Bethel, AK 99559
Phone 907-543-5967
Fax 907-543-3130
E-mail 
carl_berger@ddc-alaska.org
Web http://www.lkedc.org/ 

Regional Health Corporation - Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation
P.O. Box 528
Bethel, AK 99559
Phone 907-543-6020
Fax 907-543-6006
E-mail 
gene_peltola@ykhc.org
Web http://www.ykhc.org/ 

Regional Native Non-Profit - Association of Village Council Presidents
P.O. Box 219
Bethel, AK 99559
Phone 907-543-3521
Fax 907-543-3596
E-mail 
mnaneng@avcp.org
Web http://www.avcp.org 

School District - Lower Kuskokwim School District
P.O. Box 305
Bethel, AK 99559-0305
Phone 907-543-4810
Fax 907-543-4904
E-mail 
gary_baldwin@lksd.org
Web http://www.lksd.org 

Tribe - federally recognized - Orutsararmuit Native Village
P.O. Box 927
Bethel, AK 99559-0927
Phone 907-543-2608
Fax 907-543-2639
E-mail 
folrun@nativecouncil.org, msamuelson@nativecouncil.org
Web http://www.nativecouncil.org 

Village Corporation - Bethel Native Corporation
P.O. Box 719
Bethel, AK 99559
Phone 907-543-2124
Fax 907-543-2897
E-mail 
ahoffman@bnc-alaska.com
Web http://bethelnativecorp.org 
 

 

Regional Organizations

School District - Lower Kuskokwim School District
P.O. Box 305
Bethel, AK 99559-0305
Phone 907-543-4810
Fax 907-543-4904
E-mail 
gary_baldwin@lksd.org
Web http://www.lksd.org

Regional Native Corporation - Calista Corporation
301 Calista Court # A
Anchorage, AK 99518-3000
Phone 907-279-5516
Fax 907-272-5060
E-mail 
calista@calistacorp.com
Web http://www.calistacorp.com

Regional Native Health Corporation - Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation
P.O. Box 528
Bethel, AK 99559
Phone 907-543-6020
Fax 907-543-6006
E-mail 
gene_peltola@ykhc.org
Web http://www.ykhc.org/

Regional Native Non-Profit - Association of Village Council Presidents
P.O. Box 219
Bethel, AK 99559
Phone 907-543-3521
Fax 907-543-3596
E-mail 
mnaneng@avcp.org
Web http://www.avcp.org

Native Housing Authority - Orutsararmuit Native Village
P.O. Box 927
Bethel, AK 99559-0927
Phone 907-543-2608
Fax 907-543-2639
E-mail 
folrun@nativecouncil.org, msamuelson@nativecouncil.org
Web http://www.nativecouncil.org

Regional Development - Lower Kuskokwim Economic Development Council
P.O. Box 2021
Bethel,  99559
Phone 907-543-5967
Fax 907-543-3130
E-mail 
carl_berger@ddc-alaska.org
Web http://www.lkedc.org/

 

 



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