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Browse Locations Chisana



(CHEE-san-uh); a.k.a. Shushana (SHOO-sha-na)

Current Population:     0   (2011 Alaska Department of Labor Estimate)

Incorporation Type:     Unincorporated

Located In:                   Valdez-Cordova Census Area

Taxes:                          No taxing authority




Location and Climate

Chisana lies deep within Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. It lies on the north bank of Chathenda Creek, 1.7 miles east of its junction with the Chisana River. It is located about 30 miles southeast of Nabesna. The community lies at approximately 62.066110° North Latitude and -142.040830° West Longitude.  (Sec. 6, T003N, R019E, Copper River Meridian.)   Chisana is located in the Chitina Recording District.

The area experiences a continental climate, with long, cold winters, and relatively warm summers. Temperature extremes range from a low of -62 to a high of 91 °F. Total precipitation averages 13 inches per year, with annual snowfall averaging 61 inches.


History, Culture and Demographics

Chisana is derived from an Athabascan word meaning "red river." Chisana is the location of Alaska's last significant gold rush. In 1913, Billy James, Andy Taylor, Fred Best, and Matilda Wales staked the first mining claims on the Bonanza, Little Eldorado, and Big Eldorado creeks. From 2,000 to 8,000 persons joined the Chisana rush. Other townsites were developed in the area: Woodrow, Johnson City, Reliance City, and Gasoline City. A Native village was located nearby on Cross Creek. By 1924, mining had dwindled, and, according to Milton B. Medary, a member of a Smithsonian expedition, Chisana consisted of "452 log cabins in which one man lives alone." The Chisana Post Office operated from 1913 to 1938. Mining continued in the district but declined until World War II. The Chisana Mining District was placed on the National Historic Register in 1985.

According to Census 2010,


Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care

There are no public facilities in Chisana. Most year-round homes have plumbing. Residents draw water from Johnson Creek (Chathenda Creek) during the summer and the Chisana River during the winter. Septic drainfields are used for waste disposal. Most year-round residents use solar energy systems. Electricity is provided by Individual Generators. There are schools located in the community,  Local hospitals or health clinics include Cross Road Medical Center in Glennallen.



The area is popular for seasonal recreation. General aviation, air taxis, guides, and independent travelers utilize the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. There are two bed-and-breakfast businesses and two hunting guides. Hunters frequent the area from August through mid-September.

The 2006-2010 American Community Survey (ACS) estimated zero1 residents as employed. 




There is no road access. A 3,000' long by 50' wide state-owned gravel and turf airstrip is available, but it is not maintained. (Skis only during winter months.) There are several private airstrips. A mail plane provides passenger service twice weekly.

Organizations with Local Offices



Regional Organizations

School District - Copper River School District
P.O. Box 108
Glennallen, AK 99588
Phone 907-822-3234
Fax 907-822-3949

Regional Native Corporation - Ahtna, Incorporated
P.O. Box 649
Glennallen, AK 99588
Phone 907-822-3476
Fax 907-822-3495

Regional Native Health Corporation - Copper River Native Association
Mile 104 Old Richardson Highway, P.O. Box H
Copper Center, AK 99573
Phone 907-822-5241
Fax 907-822-8803

Regional Development - Copper Valley Development Association
P.O. Box 9
Glennallen,  99588
Phone 907-822-5001
Fax 907-822-5009


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