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Browse Locations Chefornak



(chuh-FORE-nuck); alt. Chefarnok


Current Population:     437   (2011 Alaska Department of Labor Estimate)

Incorporation Type:     2nd Class City

Located In:                   Bethel Census Area

Taxes:                          Sales: 2%, Property: None, Special: None




Location and Climate

Chefornak is located on the south bank of the Kinia River, at its junction with the Keguk River, in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The village lies within the Clarence Rhode National Wildlife Refuge, established for migratory waterfowl protection. Chefornak is 98 air miles southwest of Bethel and 490 miles southwest of Anchorage. The community lies at approximately 60.160000° North Latitude and -164.265830° West Longitude.  (Sec. 19, T001N, R086W, Seward Meridian.)   Chefornak is located in the Bethel Recording District.  The area encompasses 5.7 sq. miles of land and 0.8 sq. miles of water.

Chefornak is located in a marine climate. Precipitation averages 22 inches, with 43 inches of snowfall annually. Summer temperatures range from 41 to 57 °F. Winter temperatures range 6 to 24 °F.


History, Culture and Demographics

The area has historically been occupied by Yup'ik Eskimos. In the early 1950s, Alexie Amagiqchik founded a small general store at the site. He had moved from a village on the Bering Sea to the new location one mile inland to escape potential floodwaters. Others from the original village followed and settled in Chefornak. The city was incorporated in 1974.

A federally-recognized tribe is located in the community -- the Village of Chefornak. A traditional Yup'ik Eskimo community, Chefornak residents practice a subsistence lifestyle with some commercial fishing. The sale and importation of alcohol is banned in the village.

According to Census 2010, there were 99 housing units in the community and 92 were occupied. Its population was 95.7 percent American Indian or Alaska Native; 3.4 percent white; 0.2 percent black; 0.7 percent of the local residents had multi-racial backgrounds.


Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care

One well and a water treatment plant serve 12 watering points. The treated water is undrinkable due to salt water intrusion. Residents drink melted ice cut from a local pond in the winter and rain catchment the rest of the year. High snow drifts make the boardwalk impassable for winter haul service. The community has requested a grant for a new water treatment plant. The school is in the process of establishing its own water system using reverse osmosis to treat the salty water. Electricity is provided by Naterkaq Light Plant. There is one school located in the community, attended by 163 students. Local hospitals or health clinics include Chefornak Clinic.  Chefornak Clinic is a Primary Health Care facility with floatplane and air access.



Other than government positions, most employment in Chefornak is seasonal, supplemented by subsistence activities. In 2010, 32 residents held commercial fishing permits. Coastal Villages Seafood, Inc., processes halibut and salmon in Chefornak. Trapping is also a source of income.

The 2006-2010 American Community Survey (ACS) estimated 1141 residents as employed. The public sector employed 24.6%1 of all workers. The local unemployment rate was 25.0%1. The percentage of workers not in labor force was 37.7%1. The ACS surveys established that average median household income (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) was $39,583 (MOE +/-$32,157)1. The per capita income (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) was $11,562 (MOE +/-$3,179)1. About 24.2%1 of all residents had incomes below the poverty level. 




A state-owned 2,500' long by 28' wide gravel airstrip provides chartered and private air access year-round, and a seaplane base is available. Although there are no docking facilities, a number of fishing boats and skiffs are used for local travel. Snowmachines are relied upon during the winter. Winter trails are marked to Kipnuk (20 mi) and Kasigluk (83 mi).

Organizations with Local Offices

City - City of Chefornak
P.O. Box 29
Chefornak, AK 99561
Phone 907-867-8147
Fax 907-867-8704

Electric Utility - Naterkaq Light Plant
P.O. Box 11
Chefornak, AK 99561-0011
Phone 907-867-8213
Fax 907-867-8724

Tribe - federally recognized - Village of Chefornak
P.O. Box 110
Chefornak, AK 99561-0110
Phone 907-867-8850 or 8502
Fax 907-867-8711

Village Corporation - Chefarnrmute, Incorporated
P.O. Box 70
Chefornak, AK 99561
Phone 907-867-8115
Fax 907-867-8895


Regional Organizations

School District - Lower Kuskokwim School District
P.O. Box 305
Bethel, AK 99559-0305
Phone 907-543-4810
Fax 907-543-4904

Regional Native Corporation - Calista Corporation
301 Calista Court # A
Anchorage, AK 99518-3000
Phone 907-279-5516
Fax 907-272-5060

Regional Native Health Corporation - Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation
P.O. Box 528
Bethel, AK 99559
Phone 907-543-6020
Fax 907-543-6006

Regional Native Non-Profit - Association of Village Council Presidents
P.O. Box 219
Bethel, AK 99559
Phone 907-543-3521
Fax 907-543-3596

Native Housing Authority - AVCP Regional Housing Authority
P.O. Box 767
Bethel, AK 99559
Phone 907-543-3121
Fax 907-543-3933

Regional Development - Lower Kuskokwim Economic Development Council
P.O. Box 2021
Bethel,  99559
Phone 907-543-5967
Fax 907-543-3130

Economic Development - CDQ Group - Coastal Villages Region Fund
711 H Street, Suite 200
Anchorage, AK 99501-3461
Phone 907-278-5151
Fax 907-278-5150



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