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Big Delta

Big Delta

Browse Locations Big Delta


Big Delta

Current Population:              583   (2011 Alaska Department of Labor Estimate)

Incorporation Type:              Unincorporated

Located In:                           Southeast Fairbanks Census Area

Taxes:                                   No taxing authority




Location and Climate

Big Delta is located at the junction of the Delta and Tanana Rivers, 73 miles southeast of Fairbanks on the Richardson Highway. The community lies at approximately 64.152500° North Latitude and -145.842220° West Longitude.  (Sec. 08, T009S, R010E, Fairbanks Meridian.)   Big Delta is located in the Fairbanks Recording District.

This area of Interior Alaska experiences seasonal extremes. The average low temperature in January is -11 °F. The average high temperature during July is 69 °F. Temperature extremes, ranging from a low of -63 to a high of 92 °F, have been recorded. The average annual liquid equivalent precipitation is 11 inches, and the average annual snowfall is 37 inches.


History, Culture and Demographics

Oral history and a substantial inventory of Native place names suggest that Tanana Athabascans occupied the site throughout most of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Big Delta Natives began leaving their ancestral homeland shortly after the peak of the Alaska gold rush between 1898 and 1903. In 1899 the U.S. Army sent parties to investigate the Susitna, Matanuska, and Copper River Valleys to find the best route for a trail north from Valdez, through the Copper River Valley. By 1901 the army had completed the Trans-Alaska Military Road, which extended from Valdez to Eagle City. In 1902 gold was discovered in the Tanana Valley, and, shortly after, a spur trail was created from Gulkana on the Valdez-Eagle route to the new mining camp in Fairbanks. This trail became the Valdez-Fairbanks Trail. During 1903, Lt. Billy Mitchell of the U.S. Army Signal Corps supervised the construction of a telegraph line from Eagle to the mouth of the Goodpaster River. The Goodpaster telegraph station was part of the Washington/Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System (WAMCATS). During the winter of 1904-05, the Goodpaster Station was destroyed by fire and relocated to Big Delta. In April 1904, a prospector named Ben Bennett staked out 80 acres and built a trading post at Big Delta on the left bank of the Tanana River. In April 1905, Bennett sold his trading post to Daniel G. McCarty. Although Bennett owned the trading post and surrounding acreage, he was grubstaked for all of the merchandise by his partner, E.T. Barnette, the wealthy founder of the City of Fairbanks. Thus, when Bennett decided to sell out to McCarty, all of the goods at the trading post still belonged to Barnette. However, in the early 1900s, the trading post and roadhouse built by Bennett became commonly known as McCarty's or McCarty Station. Another prospector named Alonzo Maxey, along with a friend, set up Bradley's Roadhouse in the hope of diverting travelers from McCarty's.

Many residents are members of "Whitestone Farms" (Church of the Living Word, Inc.), who collectively pool individual assets and income for the good of the community. A school, YMCA, and visitor center are among the available facilities.

According to Census 2010, there were 305 housing units in the community and 206 were occupied. Its population was 2.4 percent American Indian or Alaska Native; 92.6 percent white; 0.2 percent black; 0.3 percent Asian; 0.5 percent Pacific Islander; 3.7 percent of the local residents had multi-racial backgrounds. Additionally, 1.5 percent of the population was of Hispanic descent.


Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care

The majority of residences have individual water wells, septic tanks, and plumbing. Refuse is disposed of at the Delta Junction landfill. Electricity is provided by Golden Valley Electric Association. There are schools located in the community, Local hospitals or health clinics include Delta Junction Family Medical Center in Delta or Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.  Emergency Services have highway and air access and are within 30 minutes of a higher-level satellite health care facility. Emergency medical service is provided by volunteers.  Auxiliary health care is provided by Delta Junction Rescue Squad (907-895-4356) Rural Deltana Volunteer Fire (907-895-5036) and Delta Junction Health Clinic/Family Medical Center.



Big Delta's location along the Richardson Highway provides the opportunity to serve summer tourist traffic. Whitestone Farms, Inc., operates Rika's Roadhouse in the Big Delta State Historical Park. Agriculture, small business, and state and federal highway maintenance jobs have provided sources of employment. Jobs were created with the development of the Pogo Mine, which began commercial production in April 2007. It is a world-class gold deposit located in the upper Goodpaster River Valley 85 miles east-southeast of Fairbanks and 38 miles northeast of Delta Junction. The mine operates 2year-round. Pogo employs somewhere between 150 and 250 employees.

The 2006-2010 American Community Survey (ACS) estimated 2071 residents as employed. The public sector employed 23.2%1 of all workers. The local unemployment rate was 20.1%1. The percentage of workers not in labor force was 40.2%1. The ACS surveys established that average median household income (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) was $52,019 (MOE +/-$7,269)1. The per capita income (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) was $19,319 (MOE +/-$7,076)1. About 9.2%1 of all residents had incomes below the poverty level. 




An airstrip is available nearby at Delta Junction for chartered or private aircraft.

Organizations with Local Offices

Community Non Profit - Deltana Community Corporation
P.O. Box 1024
Delta Junction, AK 99737
Phone 907-895-4150
Fax 907-895-5190

Electric Utility - Golden Valley Electric Association, Incorporated
P.O. Box 71249
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Phone 907-458-5754


Regional Organizations

School District - Delta-Greely School District
P.O. Box 527
Delta Junction, AK 99737-0527
Phone 907-895-4657
Fax 907-895-4781

Regional Native Corporation - Doyon, Limited
1 Doyon Place, Suite 300
Fairbanks, AK 99701-2941
Phone 907-459-2000
Fax 907-459-2060

Regional Native Health Corporation - Tanana Chiefs Conference
122 First Ave, Suite 600
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Phone 907-452-8251
Fax 907-459-3851


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