Gakona, Alaska

Gakona is a census-designated place in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2000 census, the population of the CDP was 215.

Geography and climate

Gakona is located at (62.301940, -145.30194) (Sec. 18, T006N, R001E, Copper River Meridian). Gakona is located in the Chitina Recording District.

Gakona is at the confluence of the Copper and Gakona Rivers, 15 miles northeast of Glennallen. It lies at mile 2 on the Tok Cut-Off to the Glenn Highway, just east of the Richardson Highway. Gakona is located in the continental climate zone, with long, cold winters and relatively warm summers. Temperature extremes have been recorded from -62 to 91. Snowfall averages 61 inches, with total precipitation of 13 inches per year.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 61.3 square miles (158.9 km²), all of it land.

History and culture

Ahtna Alaska Natives have lived in the Copper River basin for 5,000 to 7,000 years. Gakona served as a wood and fish camp, and later became a permanent village. In 1904 Doyle's Roadhouse was constructed at the junction of the Valdez-Eagle and Valdez-Fairbanks Trails, and became an essential stopping point for travelers. There was also a post office, stagecoach station and blacksmith shop here. Some buildings are still standing. Gakona Lodge was built in 1929 and is on the National Register of Historical Places. The lodge contains many old relics of the gold rush era.

A federally-recognized tribe, the Native Village of Gakona, is located in the community.


As of the census of 2000, there were 215 people, 84 households, and 60 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 3.5 people per square mile (1.4/km²). There were 90 housing units at an average density of 1.5/sq mi (0.6/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 75.35% White, 12.09% Native American, 1.86% from other races, and 10.70% from two or more races. 1.40% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 84 households out of which 35.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.9% were married couples living together, 3.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.4% were non-families. 22.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 28.8% under the age of 18, 3.7% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 31.6% from 45 to 64, and 8.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 133.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 131.8 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $33,750, and the median income for a family was $44,375. Males had a median income of $41,250 versus $46,875 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $18,143. About 9.4% of families and 10.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.4% of those under the age of eighteen and 10.5% of those sixty five or over.

Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care

All residences have individual wells and septic systems and complete plumbing. The school uses its own well water system. Funds have been requested to construct a new water well and storage tank for a HUD housing complex. Refuse collection services are available from Copper Basin Sanitation, which hauls waste to the Glennallen landfill. Electricity is provided by Copper Valley Electric Assoc. There is one school located in the community, attended by 17 students. Local hospitals or health clinics include Gakona Health Clinic (822-3646); Cross Road Medical Center in Glennallen (822-3203). Gakona is classified as an isolated village, it is found in EMS Region 2E in the Copper River Region. 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 Auxiliary health care is provided by Copper River EMS (822-3671) and Gulkana Clinic; Cross Road Medical Center in Glennallen.

Economy and Transportation

Gakona depends upon local businesses and seasonal tourist travel. There is a motel, restaurant, bar, newspaper print shop, sawmill and dog sled maker in Gakona. Summers provide income for local fishing and hunting guides, rafting operations and outfitters. Three residents hold commercial fishing permits. Some residents rely on subsistence activities and trapping. Recording equipment for the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) is located near Gakona.

The Glenn Highway/Tok Cut-Off and Richardson Highway provide access to the Anchorage, Fairbanks and the Lower 48. A 5,000' paved runway is available at nearby Gulkana.

Regional Organizations

Regional Health Corporation - Mt. Sanford Tribal Consortium
P.O. Box 357
Gakona, AK 99586
Phone 907-822-5399
Fax 907-822-5810

Village Council - Gakona Village Council
P.O. Box 102
Copper Center, AK 99586
Phone 907-822-5997
Fax 907-822-5977

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

Regional Native Health Corporation - Mt. Sanford Tribal Consortium
P.O. Box 357
Gakona, AK 99586
Phone 907-822-5399
Fax 907-822-5810

Native Housing Authority - Copper River Basin Reg Housing
P.O. Box 89
Glennallen, AK 99588
Phone 907-822-3633
Fax 907-822-3662

External links and references


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