Blurb: Bethel, Alaska is also the location of the Orutsararmuit Native Council.
Location / Coordinates: Bethel, Alaska is part of an unorganized borough. Located at the mouth of the Kuskokwim River, just 40 miles east of the Bering Sea, and over 400 air miles west of Anchorage.
Coordinates: Latitude N60.79 and Longitude W-161.75.
Population / Elevation: Bethel, Alaska has just under 6,000 residents. Bethel, Alaska is about 120 feet above sea level.
Description: The Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge surrounds Bethel, Alaska and over 30 other Native Villages. This wildlife refuge supports one of the largest aggregations of water birds in the world. Most of this area is a vast tundra, treeless, broad and flat with lots of water in the form of lakes, sloughs, and ponds, streams and rivers. Bethel, Alaska is surrounded by all of this beauty and wildlife.
Traditional Yup’ik Eskimo practices and language continue to be part of everyday life in Bethel, Alaska. Commercial fishing and the governmentprovide many jobs. Subsistence activities provide most residents with their food supply—salmon, Freshwater fish, game birds and berries. Slowly, Western ways of daily life are making their way into Bethel. Many have running water and indoor plumbing, electricity, and health clinics. There are two radio stations and a newspaper in Bethel, Alaska.
Bethel, Alaska is still the hub of activity for the surrounding communites of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Necessities like groceries, fuel, transportation, and medical care are found in Bethel. Bethel is the regional transportation center and the state-owned Bethel Airport is the third busiest airport in Alaska.
What to do there: In January every year, Bethel, Alaska hosts the Kuskokwin 300 Sled Dog Race. Camai is an important event held each year for the communities at large. A Yup’ik word meaning “a warm , genuine hello,” Camai is a three day gathering, of over 450 dancers, drummers, and singers of all ages. They gather to celebrate the Yup’ik Eskimo tration of dance. The festival offers cultural renewal and immersion into indigeous dance.
History: The Yup’ik Eskimos first established Bethel, or “Mumtrekhlogamute” as their village was called. The Native name means “Smokehouse People” for the nearby fish smokehouse located there. In 1880 the U.S. Census recorded only 41 people living in Bethel. Then, Bethel was the Alaska Commercial Company Trading Post. Erosion caused the little town to move to its present location. At the turn of the century, Bethel had a post office, and served as a trading post, transportation and distribution center for the region.
How to get there: the easiest way to get to Bethel, Alaska is to fly there. There are commercial flights as well as float planes. Bethel does have a small boat harbor, and it is accessible by river during the summer season. IN the winter season, the river becomes 150 miles of ice road to the surrounding villages.
Facilities: Grocery stores, banks and ATMs can be found in Bethel, Alaska.
RV info: There are no RV facilities in Bethel, Alaska.