Yakutat, Alaska

City and Borough of Yakutat[1]
Yaakwdáat
Home Rule Borough
Official seal of City and Borough of Yakutat[1]
Official logo of City and Borough of Yakutat[1]
Map of Alaska highlighting Yakutat City and Borough
Map of Alaska highlighting Yakutat City and Borough
Coordinates: 59°32′49″N 139°43′38″W / 59.54694°N 139.72722°W / 59.54694; -139.72722
CountryUnited States
StateAlaska
Founded1903
IncorporatedSeptember 22, 1992
Borough seat[1]Yakutat
Government
 • MayorCindy Bremner
Area
 • Borough7,623 sq mi (19,744 km2)
 • Urban104.1 sq mi (269.6 km2)
 • Land (CDP)100.5 sq mi (260.3 km2)
 • Water (CDP)3.6 sq mi (9.3 km2)
Elevation
112 ft (34 m)
Population
 • Borough657
 • Estimate 
(2022)[5]
700
 • Density6.6/sq mi (2.53/km2)
 • Urban
(CDP)[6]
657
 • Urban density6.3/sq mi (2.4/km2)
Time zoneUTC–9 (Alaska (AKST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC–8 (AKDT)
ZIP Code
99689
Area code907
FIPS code02-99282 (borough)
02-86490 (CDP)
GNIS feature ID1415858, 1419986
Sales tax5.0%[7]
Websiteyakutatak.us

The City and Borough of Yakutat[1] (/ˈjækətæt/, YAK-ə-tat;[8] Tlingit: Yaakwdáat; Russian: Якутат) is a borough[9] in the state of Alaska. Yakutat was also the name of a former city within the borough. The name in Tlingit is Yaakwdáat (meaning "the place where canoes rest"). It is derived from an Eyak name, diyaʼqudaʼt, and was influenced by the Tlingit word yaakw ("canoe, boat").

The borough covers an area about six times the size of the state of Rhode Island, making it one of the nation's largest counties or county equivalents. As of the 2020 census the population was 657.[4][6] As of 2010, it was Alaska's least populous borough or census area, and the ninth-least populous county nationwide.[10][11] The population declined from 680 in 2000.

The Borough of Yakutat was incorporated as a non-unified Home Rule Borough[8] on September 22, 1992. Yakutat was previously a city in the Skagway–Yakutat–Angoon Census Area (later renamed the Skagway–Hoonah–Angoon Census Area).[12]

The United States Census Bureau has defined the former City of Yakutat as a census-designated place within the borough.[13] The borough's only other significant population center is the community of Icy Bay, the site of the Icy Bay Airport which is in the west-central part of the borough.

History

Approaching Yakutat on the Alaska Marine Highway, June 2012
Yakutat in the 1940s

The original settlers in the Yakutat area are believed[citation needed] to have been Eyak-speaking people from the Copper River area. Tlingit people migrated into the region and the Eyak were assimilated into the tribe before the arrival of Europeans in Alaska. Yakutat was only one of a number of Tlingit and mixed Tlingit-Eyak settlements in the region. The others have been depopulated or abandoned.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, English, French, Spanish, and Russian explorers came to the region. The Shelikhov-Golikov Company, a precursor of the Russian-American Company, built a fort in Yakutat in 1795 to facilitate trade with the Alaska Natives in sea-otter pelts. The settlement became known as New Russia, Yakutat Colony, or Slavorossiya.[14] After the Russians cut off access to the fisheries nearby, a Tlingit war party attacked and destroyed the fort in 1805.

By 1886, after the 1867 Alaska Purchase by the United States from the Russian Empire, the area's black sand beaches were being mined for gold. In 1889 the Swedish Free Mission Church opened a school and sawmill in the area.

About 1903 the Stimson Lumber Company constructed a cannery, another sawmill, a store, and a railroad. Many people moved to the current site of Yakutat to be closer to work at the Stimson cannery, which operated through 1970. During World War II, the USAAF stationed a large aviation garrison near Yakutat and built a paved runway. The troops were withdrawn after the war. The runway is still in use as Yakutat Airport, which offers scheduled airline service.

Fishing is the largest economic activity in Yakutat.

In 2004 the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe (YTT) received a Language Preservation Grant from the Administration for Native Americans. With this, they have reinvigorated their efforts to teach the Tlingit language to middle-aged and young people. YTT received another ANA grant in 2007 and is expanding its role in the schools. All the YTT Tlingit language revitalization work focuses on using communicative approaches to second-language teaching, such as TPR and American Sign Language (ASLA).

While working at a local cannery from 1912 to 1941, Seiki Kayamori extensively photographed Yakutat and its area; Yakutat City Hall holds a large set of prints of his work.[15]

A locomotive of the Yakutat and Southern Railway Co. in Yakutat, September 1, 1907

Yakutat and Southern Railway was a rail operation in the area. It served several canneries south of Yakutat and primarily hauled fish to the harbor. Service ended in the mid-1960s.[16]

Politics

United States presidential election results for Yakutat[17]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No. % No. % No. %
2020 133 41.96% 160 50.47% 24 7.57%
2016 137 39.60% 163 47.11% 46 13.29%
2012 122 39.87% 171 55.88% 13 4.25%
2008 170 45.58% 188 50.40% 15 4.02%
2004 132 53.88% 105 42.86% 8 3.27%
2000 177 50.00% 118 33.33% 59 16.67%
1996 121 37.58% 149 46.27% 52 16.15%
1992 130 40.50% 108 33.64% 83 25.86%
1988 159 63.10% 80 31.75% 13 5.16%
1984 160 59.26% 96 35.56% 14 5.19%
1980 116 49.57% 76 32.48% 42 17.95%
1976 79 45.14% 90 51.43% 6 3.43%
1972 88 57.89% 58 38.16% 6 3.95%
1968 78 39.00% 102 51.00% 20 10.00%
1964 32 21.19% 119 78.81% 0 0.00%
1960 59 44.70% 73 55.30% 0 0.00%

Geography

Icebergs in Yakutat Bay

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has an area of 9,463 square miles (24,510 km2), of which 7,649 square miles (19,810 km2) is land and 1,813 square miles (4,700 km2) is water.[18] The 2010 census also defines a smaller census-designated place named Yakutat, which has an area of 104.1 square miles (269.6 km2), of which 100.5 square miles (260.3 km2) is land and 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2) is water.[3]

Yakutat's population center is located at 59°32′49″N 139°43′38″W / 59.54694°N 139.72722°W / 59.54694; -139.72722, at the mouth of Yakutat Bay. It lies in an isolated location in lowlands along the Gulf of Alaska, 212 miles (341 kilometres)) northwest of Juneau.

Yakutat borders the Gulf of Alaska to the west, Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Alaska to the northwest, Hoonah-Angoon Census Area, Alaska to the southeast, Stikine Region, British Columbia to the northeast-east, and Yukon Territory to the north.

The borough contains part of the protected areas of Chugach National Forest, Glacier Bay National Park, Glacier Bay Wilderness, Tongass National Forest, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Wrangell-Saint Elias Wilderness, and the Russell Fjord Wilderness.

A unique feature in the borough is Hubbard Glacier, North America's largest tidewater glacier. In 1986 and 2002, the glacier blocked the entrance to Russell Fjord. The resulting Russell Lake rose 83 feet (25.30 m) and 61 feet (18.59 m) until the glacial dam failed. If Russell Lake rises to 135 feet (41.15 m), the water will spill over a pass and flow into the Situk River. That would have a major impact on a world-class fishery. Yakutat would not be affected unless the glacier advances to the townsite, which could take a thousand years.[citation needed] The area's vegetation indicates that water was flowing over the pass until about 1860.

Climate

Yakutat has a subarctic climate (Dfc) or a subpolar oceanic climate (Cfc) with characteristics such as high precipitation, absence of permafrost, and temperate rainforest vegetation of the climate zone of the Pacific Coast. It rivals Ketchikan as the wettest "city" in the United States, with an annual precipitation (1991−2020 normals) of 140 inches (3.56 m), which falls on 240 days of the year, including 150 inches (4 m) of snow. Almost all of it falls from November through April and it occurs on 64 days annually. (However, with an annual precipitation of 197.8 inches (5.02 m), the city of Whittier receives significantly more annual precipitation than both Yakutat and Ketchikan, which makes it the wettest city in Alaska and the United States, and Yakutat and Ketchikan the second- and third-wettest cities in Alaska, respectively.)[19] September and October represent, on average, the year's primary "rainy season" with an average of over 18 inches (0.46 m) of precipitation for both months. On average, the year's driest period is late April through July, though no month qualifies as a true "dry season." The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 28.6 °F (−1.9 °C) in January to 55.4 °F (13.0 °C) in July. Extreme temperatures have ranged from −24 °F (−31 °C) on December 30, 1964, up to 88 °F (31 °C) on August 15, 2004, though on average, there are typically 3.9 days of minima reaching to or below 1 °F (−17 °C) and only 5.8 days of maxima at or above 70 °F (21 °C)+ highs annually. Unlike in South Central Alaska, a day with a high temperature under 0 °F (−18 °C) has never been recorded.[20][21]

Climate data for Yakutat, Alaska (Yakutat State Airport), 1991−2020 normals,[a] extremes 1917−present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 58
(14)
56
(13)
60
(16)
71
(22)
80
(27)
87
(31)
85
(29)
88
(31)
77
(25)
66
(19)
59
(15)
61
(16)
88
(31)
Mean maximum °F (°C) 44.5
(6.9)
46.1
(7.8)
49.5
(9.7)
59.2
(15.1)
68.0
(20.0)
72.7
(22.6)
71.7
(22.1)
71.5
(21.9)
65.5
(18.6)
56.1
(13.4)
48.4
(9.1)
46.0
(7.8)
77.0
(25.0)
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 34.8
(1.6)
37.8
(3.2)
40.0
(4.4)
46.9
(8.3)
53.7
(12.1)
58.8
(14.9)
61.6
(16.4)
61.8
(16.6)
56.9
(13.8)
48.9
(9.4)
40.1
(4.5)
36.4
(2.4)
48.1
(9.0)
Daily mean °F (°C) 28.6
(−1.9)
30.6
(−0.8)
32.0
(0.0)
38.6
(3.7)
45.6
(7.6)
51.9
(11.1)
55.4
(13.0)
54.7
(12.6)
49.4
(9.7)
41.9
(5.5)
33.7
(0.9)
30.8
(−0.7)
41.1
(5.1)
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 22.4
(−5.3)
23.5
(−4.7)
23.8
(−4.6)
30.3
(−0.9)
37.6
(3.1)
45.0
(7.2)
49.2
(9.6)
47.5
(8.6)
41.9
(5.5)
34.8
(1.6)
27.1
(−2.7)
25.1
(−3.8)
34.0
(1.1)
Mean minimum °F (°C) 1.1
(−17.2)
5.8
(−14.6)
7.0
(−13.9)
19.0
(−7.2)
28.2
(−2.1)
35.1
(1.7)
41.5
(5.3)
37.5
(3.1)
29.8
(−1.2)
22.3
(−5.4)
11.2
(−11.6)
7.0
(−13.9)
−3.1
(−19.5)
Record low °F (°C) −22
(−30)
−20
(−29)
−20
(−29)
3
(−16)
9
(−13)
29
(−2)
35
(2)
29
(−2)
16
(−9)
6
(−14)
−10
(−23)
−24
(−31)
−24
(−31)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 12.41
(315)
10.29
(261)
9.52
(242)
7.94
(202)
7.85
(199)
5.41
(137)
7.63
(194)
13.91
(353)
19.03
(483)
18.88
(480)
13.55
(344)
13.94
(354)
140.36
(3,564)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 28.9
(73)
27.5
(70)
30.4
(77)
7.2
(18)
0.3
(0.76)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
3.4
(8.6)
20.0
(51)
29.6
(75)
147.3
(374)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch) 20.7 18.5 18.3 18.6 16.6 16.5 18.8 19.3 21.8 23.0 21.8 23.0 236.9
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 11.3 10.7 11.9 4.5 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 1.4 8.5 13.5 62.1
Average relative humidity (%) 82.8 83.1 81.2 81.4 82.5 84.5 87.7 88.5 89.0 87.6 84.8 84.1 84.8
Average dew point °F (°C) 20.5
(−6.4)
23.4
(−4.8)
25.5
(−3.6)
30.7
(−0.7)
38.1
(3.4)
45.0
(7.2)
49.8
(9.9)
49.8
(9.9)
44.8
(7.1)
37.0
(2.8)
27.0
(−2.8)
22.8
(−5.1)
34.5
(1.4)
Source: NOAA[20][22][23]
Notes
  1. ^ Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the highest and lowest temperature readings during an entire month or year) calculated based on data at said location from 1991 to 2020.

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
1880300
18903082.7%
1900247−19.8%
19102719.7%
1920165−39.1%
193026560.6%
194029210.2%
19502982.1%
1960230−22.8%
1970190−17.4%
1980449136.3%
199053418.9%
200068027.3%
2010662−2.6%
2020657−0.8%
2023 (est.)687[24]4.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[25]
1990-2000[26] 2010-2020[4][27]

Yakutat first appeared on the 1880 U.S. Census as an unincorporated Tlingit-Yakutat village. All 300 residents were listed as Tlingit.[28] In 1890, it reported 308 residents including the populations of the native villages at Dry Bay & Lituya (Bay). 300 were listed as Native, 7 Whites and 1 Creole (Mixed Russian & Native).[29] In 1948 Yakutat formally incorporated. In 1992, it broke away from the Skagway-Yakutat-Angoon Census Area to form its own borough of Yakutat. It disincorporated at its formation and became a census-designated place (CDP).

2010 Census

At the census of 2010,[10][11] there were 662 people, 502 households, and 201 families residing in Yakutat. The racial makeup was 50.37% White, 0.12% Black or African American, 39.60% Native American, 1.24% Asian, 0.74% Pacific Islander, and 7.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.74% of the population.

5.78% reported speaking Tlingit at home.[30]

Of the 265 households, 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.5% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.0% were non-families. 32.1% of households were one person, and 4.9% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.30.

The population was spread out with 28.1% under the age of 18, 5.3% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 28.7% from 45 to 64, and 5.3% 65 or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 145.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 161.7 males.

The median household income was in Yakutat was $46,786, and the median family income was $51,875. Males had a median income of $41,635 versus $25,938 for females. The per capita income was $22,579. About 11.8% of families and 13.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.5% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.

2000 Census

At the census of 2000, central Yakutat was treated as a census-designated place (CDP), even though census-designated places "are not legally incorporated under the laws of the state in which they are located."[31] The area consisting of about 100 sq mi (260 km2), contained the vast majority of the population of the entire city-borough.

At the 2000 census,[32] there were 680 people, 261 households, and 157 families in the CDP. The population density was 6.8 people per square mile (2.6 people/km2). There were 385 housing units at an average density of 3.9 per square mile (1.5/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 41.47% White, 0.15% Black or African American, 47.06% Native American, 1.47% Asian, 0.88% Pacific Islander, and 8.97% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.88% of the population.

Of the 261 households, 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.7% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.5% were non-families. 31.4% of households were one person, and 5.0% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.30.

The age distribution was 31.0% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 5.7% 65 or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 117.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 123.3 males.

The median household income was $47,054 and the median family income was $51,875. Males had a median income of $42,404 versus $26,875 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $21,330. About 11.8% of families and 15.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.5% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "The Home Rule Charter of the City and Borough of Yakutat" (PDF). Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. Retrieved May 4, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 24, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Places (2010): Alaska" (TXT). 2010 Census Gazetteer Files. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c "Explore Census Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 14, 2024.
  5. ^ "City and Town Population Totals: 2020-2022". United States Census Bureau. January 14, 2024. Retrieved January 14, 2024.
  6. ^ a b "2020 Census Data - Cities and Census Designated Places" (Web). State of Alaska, Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  7. ^ "Yakutat (AK) sales tax rate". Retrieved January 14, 2024.
  8. ^ a b "Yakutat". Division of Community and Regional Affairs, Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  9. ^ "Alaska Taxable 2011: Municipal Taxation - Rates and Policies" (PDF). Division of Community and Regional Affairs, Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. January 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 25, 2013.
  10. ^ a b "Yakutat City and Borough, Alaska". Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data. United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Yakutat CDP, Alaska". Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data. United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  12. ^ "Population of Alaska by Labor Market Region, Borough and Census Area, 1990-1999". Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Archived from the original on May 1, 2009. Retrieved January 20, 2009.
  13. ^ "Map showing boundaries of Yakutat (Borough and CDP) as of 2000 Census" (PDF). Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. April 2017.
  14. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Glory of Russia (historical) [dead link]
  15. ^ Samples are available online, for example at a site hosted by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Archived September 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ Abandonrailroads.com; Alaskan Railroads; Yakutat & Southern.
  17. ^ "RRH Elections". rrhelections.com. February 2, 2018. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  18. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  19. ^ "Whittier – Comprehensive Plan Update 2005" (PDF). September 26, 2005. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 21, 2015.
  20. ^ a b "NOWData − NOAA Online Weather Data". NOAA. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  21. ^ "YAKUTAT STATE AP, ALASKA Period of Record Daily Climate Summary".
  22. ^ "U.S. Climate Normals Quick Access – Station: Yakutat State AP, AK". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved March 6, 2023.
  23. ^ "YAKUTAT (70361) - Weather Station". NOAA. Retrieved September 3, 2020. Archived December 27, 2018, at the Wayback Machine.
  24. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Counties: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2023". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 28, 2024.
  25. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  26. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  27. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 14, 2024.
  28. ^ "Statistics of the Population of Alaska" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 1880.
  29. ^ "Report on Population and Resources of Alaska at the Eleventh Census: 1890" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Government Printing Office.
  30. ^ "MLA Language Map Data Center". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved January 13, 2007.
  31. ^ United States Census Area Description
  32. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.

External links