2nd Class City
in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (nick' oh lee); a.k.a. Edzeno Nikolai
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Election, Recording, and Judicial Districts
- Senate District
- House District
- Judicial District
- Recording District
- Mt. McKinley
Facilities and Amenities
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Sewer, Landfill, Fuel Sales, Electric
Geography and Climate
- Nikolai is located in Interior Alaska on the south fork of the Kuskokwim River, 46 air miles east of McGrath.
- Nikolai has a cold, continental climate with relatively warm summers. Average summer temperature range from 42 to 80 °F, and winter temperatures range from -62 to 0 °F. Annual precipitation is light, averaging 16 inches per year, with 56 inches of snow. The river is generally ice-free from June through October.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- Nikolai is an Upper Kuskokwim Athabascan village and has been relocated at least twice since the 1880s. One of the former sites was reported in 1899 to have a population of six males. The present site was established around 1918. Nikolai was the site of a trading post and roadhouse during the gold rush. It was situated on the Rainy Pass Trail, which connected the Ophir gold mining district to Cook Inlet. It became a winter trail station along the Nenana-McGrath Trail, which was used until 1926. By 1927, the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church had been constructed. In 1948, a private school was established, and in 1949 a post office opened. Local residents cleared an airstrip in 1963, which heralded year-round accessibility to the community. The city was incorporated in 1970.
- Nikolai is an Athabascan community. Residents are active in subsistence food-gathering.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Nikolai Village
- Local Option Restrictions
- Ban sale, importation, and possession of alcohol.
- Incorporation Type
- 2nd Class City
- Public Education
- Not permitted to provide this service.
- Planning, Platting and Land Use Regulation
- Not required to exercise the powers in any circumstance, but may be permitted in all cases in the manner described for first class cities.
- Property Tax Powers
- May tax up to 20 mills, except where a higher levy is required to avoid default. Voter approval required.
- Sales Tax Powers
- No limit on the rate of levy of sales taxes; however, voter approval is required.
- Other Powers Not Prohibited
- May exercise other powers not prohibited by law.
- City Council or Assembly Composition and Apportionment
- 7 members elected at-large, except the council may provide for election other than at-large.
- Election and Term of Mayor
- Elected from the city council for a 1-year term, unless a longer term is provided by ordinance. Mayor selected by council (or by voters upon adoption of ordinance).
- Vote by Mayor
- Votes on all matters.
- Veto Power of the Mayor
- Does not have veto power.
- Power of Eminent Domain
- Permitted, but requires voter approval.
- Ability to Attain Home-Rule Status
- May not adopt home-rule charter without first reclassifying to a first-class city.
- Access to Nikolai is by air or water. A state-owned gravel airstrip is available. Barges used to supply fuel and heavy equipment but the river is now too low and everything is flown in by air. Boats, ATVs, and snow machines are used for recreation and subsistence activities. Local road traffic includes ATVSs, trucks, and heavy equipment owned by city, state, and federal entities. A winter trail is marked to McGrath (50 mi). Nikolai is a checkpoint for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race held in March and the Iron Dog snow machine race in February.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection