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Big Lake

Big Lake

Browse Locations Big Lake


Big Lake

Current Population:   3,399   (2011 Alaska Department of Labor Estimate)

Incorporation Type: Unincorporated

Located In: Matanuska-Susitna Borough

Taxes: Sales: None, Property: 10.35 mills (borough); excludes service area taxes, Special: 5% Bed Tax (Borough); 5.29% Tobacco Excise Tax (Borough)

National Flood Insurance Program Participant: Yes



Location and Climate

Big Lake is a community on the Shore of Big Lake, 13 miles southwest of Wasilla, in the Chugach Mountains. It lies adjacent to Houston and Knik-Fairview. The community lies at approximately 61.525590° North Latitude and -149.941500° West Longitude.  (Sec. 28, T017N, R003W, Seward Meridian.)   Big Lake is located in the Palmer Recording District.

January temperatures range from -33 to 33 °F. July temperatures can vary from 42 to 83 °F. Precipitation averages 14 inches of rain and 48 inches of snow per year.


History, Culture and Demographics

Early inhabitants were the Athabascan Dena'ina Natives. Around 1899, the Boston and Klondike Company made the first sled trail north into the Talkeetna Mountains from Knik via Big Lake. Homesteaders in 1929 and after World War II settled Big Lake. Materials were transported from Pittman Railroad Station over eleven miles of rough trail. By 1959, a number of lodges and several children's camps were operating on the lake, and at least 300 cottages and camps were owned by individuals. Lake-front lots became accessible in the 1960s and 1970s, with the expansion of roads and power. In June 1996, the "Miller's Reach" wildfire destroyed more than 37,500 acres in the Big Lake and Houston area, including 433 buildings and homes valued at $8.9 million. Low housing costs, the semi-rural lifestyle, and a 45-minute commute to Anchorage have supported growth in the Mat-Su Valley.

Boating and fishing are extremely popular on the lake during the summer months. High school students attend Houston Middle and High Schools.

According to Census 2010, there were 2,780 housing units in the community and 1,372 were occupied. Its population was 7 percent American Indian or Alaska Native; 86.1 percent white; 0.2 percent black; 0.5 percent Asian; 0.1 percent Pacific Islander; 5.4 percent of the local residents had multi-racial backgrounds. Additionally, 3.1 percent of the population was of Hispanic decent.


Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care

85% of homes have individual water wells and septic systems, with complete plumbing. The schools and shopping mall also have individual well systems. The remainder of residents haul water and use outhouses. A borough refuse transfer station is located at Big Lake. Piped natural gas is used to heat homes. Electricity is provided by Matanuska Electric Association. There is one school located in the community,  attended by 403 students. Local hospitals or health clinics include Valley Hospital in Palmer or Anchorage hospitals.  Emergency Services have highway and air access and are within 30 minutes of a higher-level satellite health care facility. Emergency service is provided by 911 Telephone Service and volunteers



Most residents are employed in Anchorage, Palmer/Wasilla, or at businesses serving the community. There are several lodges on the lake to support summer recreational boating and fishing activities. Unemployment is relatively low. In 2010, nine residents held commercial fishing permits.

The 2006-2010 American Community Survey (ACS) estimated 1,4741 residents as employed. The public sector employed 22.2%1 of all workers. The local unemployment rate was 7.9%1. The percentage of workers not in labor force was 33.6%1. The ACS surveys established that average median household income (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) was $61,250 (MOE +/-$17,943)1. The per capita income (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) was $25,987 (MOE +/-$3,529)1. About 13.5%1 of all residents had incomes below the poverty level. 




Big Lake Road is accessible from mile 52 of the George Parks Highway. A state-owned 2,435' long by 70' wide lighted gravel airstrip and float plane dock are available. Several boat launches and a marina support recreational watercraft.

Organizations with Local Offices

Community Non Profit - Big Lake Community Council Non Profit Corporation
P.O. Box 520931
Big Lake, AK 99652-0931
Phone 907-892-6723
Fax 907-892-6724

Economic Development - Chamber of Commerce - Big Lake Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 520067
Big Lake, AK 99652
Phone 907-892-6109
Fax 907-892-6189

Electric Utility - Matanuska Electric Association, Incorporated
P.O. Box 2929
Palmer, AK 99645
Phone 907-761-9328


Regional Organizations

School District - Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District
501 N. Gulkana
Palmer, AK 99645
Phone 907-746-9255
Fax 907-761-4076

Regional Native Corporation - Cook Inlet Region, Incorporated
P.O. Box 93330
Anchorage, AK 99509-3330
Phone 907-274-8638
Fax 907-263-5182

Regional Native Health Corporation - Southcentral Foundation
4501 Diplomacy
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone 907-729-4955
Fax 907-729-4972

Regional Native Non-Profit - Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Incorporated
3600 San Jeronimo Dr
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone 907-793-3600
Fax 907-793-3602


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