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Bettles

Bettles

Browse Locations Bettles

 

Bettles

(BET-ullz); formerly Bettles Field

 

Current Population: 14   (2011 Alaska Department of Labor Estimate)

Incorporation Type: 2nd Class City

Located In:Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area

Taxes: Sales: None, Property: None, Special: 2% Fuel Transfer Tax

 

 

Location and Climate

Bettles is located about 180 air miles and 250 road miles northwest of Fairbanks, adjacent to Evansville. It lies just north of the Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge. Bettles is located on the S.E. bank of the Koyukuk River. The community lies at approximately 66.917880° North Latitude and -151.515130° West Longitude.  (Sec. 16, T024N, R019W, Fairbanks Meridian.)   Bettles is located in the Fairbanks Recording District.  The area encompasses 1.6 sq. miles of land and 0.0 sq. miles of water.

The area experiences a cold, continental climate with extreme temperature differences. The average high temperature during July is 70 °F. The average low temperature during January is well below 0 °F. Extended periods of -40 °F are common. The highest temperature ever recorded was 93 °F, and the lowest was -82 °F. Average annual precipitation is 13.4 inches, and average annual snowfall is 77 inches.

 

History, Culture and Demographics

Several Native groups have lived in the area, including Koyukon Athabascans and Kobuk, Selawik, and Nunamiut Eskimos from the north and northwest. The Koyukon lived in several camps throughout the year, moving as the seasons changed, following the wild game and fish. "Old Bettles," located 6 miles from the present community, was named for Gordon Bettles, who opened a trading post during the 1899 gold rush. Old Bettles was the northern terminal of the Koyukuk River barge line, and a post office operated there from 1901 to 1956. Today, the new site of Bettles is also known as Bettles Field. The Bettles Runway was constructed in 1945 by the U.S. Navy under Navy Contract Noy-12081 with Lytle and Green Construction as contractor. The U.S. Navy used these facilities as a support base for exploring National Petroleum Reserve. Later, the FAA took over the runway and its maintenace. Work opportunities at Bettles Field attracted both Natives and non-Natives to the new airfield. Wilford Evans, Sr., opened a sawmill at the present site of Evansville and built the Bettles Lodge and General Store. A post office was established at the Bettles Lodge in 1950. A school was constructed in 1956. A health clinic opened in 1980. Bettles incorporated as a city during 1985. The city boundaries do not include the Village of Evansville.

Residents of Bettles are both Native and non-Native. The school was closed in 2002, due to low enrollment.

According to Census 2010, there were 25 housing units in the community and 9 were occupied. 75 percent white; 8.3 percent black; 16.7 percent of the local residents had multi-racial backgrounds.

 

Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care

The majority of homes have individual water wells, septic tanks, and complete plumbing. A permitted landfill is operated by the Native Village of Evansville. Electricity is provided by Alaska Power Company. There are schools located in the community, Local hospitals or health clinics include Frank Tobuk Sr. Health Clinic in Evansville.  Emergency Services include river and air access. Emergency service is provided by volunteers and a health aide

 

Economy

The economy is linked to air transportation, visitor services, and government. 100% of the heads of household are employed, most full-time, which is unique for a rural community. The community is accessible by road during winter months, which dramatically reduces the cost of goods and supplies. The FAA, National Park Service, school, tribe, city, general store, and lodging provide year-round employment. During the summer, tourist-oriented businesses and guides for the Brooks Range provide seasonal employment. Subsistence activities are important to the Native residents; subsistence use by the non-Natives is substantially lower. Salmon, moose, bear, caribou, and sheep are used.

The 2006-2010 American Community Survey (ACS) estimated 181 residents as employed. The percentage of workers not in labor force was 18.2%1. The ACS surveys established that average median household income (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) was $112,500 (MOE +/-$67,462)1. The per capita income (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) was $45,891 (MOE +/-$10,442)1



 

 

Transportation

During four months of the year, the Bettles Winter Road, a 30-mile winter trail, gives resident’s access to the Dalton Highway, which leads to Fairbanks. The Koyukuk River is used in the summer, but no commercial barge is available. The state-owned airport is classified as a transport center, with a manned FAA contract weather station, a 5,190' long by 150' wide gravel runway, and a float pond. Trucks, cars, snowmachines, and ATVs are used for local transportation.


Organizations with Local Offices

City - City of Bettles
P.O. Box 26023
Bettles Field, AK 99726
Phone 907-692-5191
E-mail 
cityofbtt@gmail.com

Electric Utility - Alaska Power Company
P.O. Box 3222
Port Townsend, WA 98368
Phone 800-982-0136
Fax 360-385-5177
E-mail 
apt@aptalaska.com
Web http://www.aptalaska.com/ 
 

 

Regional Organizations

School District - Yukon-Koyukuk School District
4762 Old Airport Way
Fairbanks, AK 99709-4456
Phone 907-374-9400
Fax 907-374-9442
E-mail 
kboyd@yksd.com
Web http://www.yksd.com

Regional Native Corporation - Doyon, Limited
1 Doyon Place, Suite 300
Fairbanks, AK 99701-2941
Phone 907-459-2000
Fax 907-459-2060
E-mail 
info@doyon.com
Web http://www.doyon.com

Regional Native Health Corporation - Tanana Chiefs Conference
122 First Ave, Suite 600
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Phone 907-452-8251
Fax 907-459-3851
E-mail 
jerryisaac@tananachiefs.org
Web http://www.tananachiefs.org

 

 



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