2nd Class City
in the Bethel Census Area
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 Department of Labor Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (BETH-ul); a.k.a. Orutsararmuit
- Community's Judicial District
- Recording District
Geography and Climate
- Bethel is located at the mouth of the Kuskokwim River, 40 miles inland from the Bering Sea. It lies in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, 400 air miles west of Anchorage.
- Precipitation averages 16 inches a year, and snowfall averages 50 inches per year. Summer temperatures range from 42 to 62 °F. Winter temperatures range from -2 to 19 °F.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- Bethel was first established by Yup'ik Eskimos, who called the village "Mumtrekhlogamute," meaning "Smokehouse People," named for the nearby fish smokehouse. There were 41 people in Bethel during the 1880 U.S. Census. At that time, it was an Alaska Commercial Company Trading Post. The Moravian Church established a mission in the area in 1884. The community was moved to its present location due to erosion at the prior site. A post office was opened in 1905. Before long, Bethel was serving as a trading, transportation, and distribution center for the region, which attracted Natives from surrounding villages. The city was incorporated in 1957. Over time, federal and state agencies established regional offices in Bethel.
- The region is fortunate in that rapid development did not occur before the importance of protecting Native culture was realized. The traditional Yup'ik Eskimo practices and language remain predominant in the area. Subsistence activities and commercial fishing are major contributors to residents' livelihoods.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Orutsararmuit Native Village
Facilities, Utilities, and Health Care
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Piped Water, Water Delivery, Piped Sewer, Tank Haul, Refuse Collection, Landfill, Dock/Port, Police, Fire/EMS/Ambulance, Roads, Ice Roads,Teen/Youth Center, Parks & Recreation, Planning, Business Licenses, Regional Dispatch Center, Cemetery, Skate Park, Baseball Fields, Harbor/Port, Transit
- The state-owned Bethel Airport is the regional transportation center and is served by a number of passenger airlines, cargo carriers, and numerous air taxi services. Bethel is the third busiest state-owned airport in Alaska. It offers 6,400' long by 150' wide and 4,000' long by 75' wide asphalt runways and a 1,860' long by 75' wide gravel crosswind runway. Two float plane bases (Hangar Lake and H Marker Lake) are nearby. The Port of Bethel includes a small boat harbor, dry land storage, and up to 5,000 feet of transient moorage on the seawall. River travel is the primary means of local transportation in the summer, and it becomes a 150-mile ice road to surrounding villages in the winter. A barge service based in Bethel provides goods to the Kuskokwim villages. There are 16 miles of graded dirt roads maintained by the city and 22 miles of paved roads maintained by the state DOT.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection
- Community's Senate District
- Community's House District