2nd Class City
in the Northwest Arctic Borough
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (kawt' zuh byoo)
- Community's Judicial District
- Recording District
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Geography and Climate
- Kotzebue is on the Baldwin Peninsula in Kotzebue Sound, on a 3-mile long spit, which ranges in width from 1,100 to 3,600 feet. It is located near the discharges of the Kobuk, Noatak, and Selawick Rivers, 549 air miles northwest of Anchorage and 26 miles above the Arctic Circle.
- Kotzebue is located in the transitional climate zone, which is characterized by long, cold winters and cool summers. The average low temperature during January is -12 °F; the average high during July is 58 °F. Temperature extremes have been measured from -52 to 85 °F. Annual snowfall averages 40 inches, with total precipitation of 9 inches per year. Kotzebue Sound is ice-free from early July until early October.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- This site has been occupied by Inupiat Eskimos for at least 600 years. "Kikiktagruk" was the hub of ancient Arctic trading routes long before European contact, due to its coastal location near a number of rivers. The German Lt. Otto Von Kotzebue "discovered" Kotzebue Sound in 1818 for Russia. The community was named after the Kotzebue Sound in 1899 when a post office was established. Since the turn of the century, expansion of economic activities and services in the area have enabled Kotzebue to develop relatively rapidly. The city was formed in 1958. An air force base and White Alice Communications System were later constructed.
- The residents of Kotzebue are primarily Inupiat Eskimos, and subsistence activities are an integral part of the lifestyle. Each summer, the North Tent City fish camp is set up to dry and smoke the season's catch.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Native Village of Kotzebue
- Local Option Restrictions
- Sale by municipality operated license only: Package Store Only with Distribution Center
Facilities, Utilities, and Health Care
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Piped Water, Piped Sewer, Refuse Collection, Landfill/Baling Facility, Harbor/Dock, Police, Volunteer Fire/EMS/Ambulance, Fire Training Center, City Hall, Recreation Center (Adult Programs), Bingo/Pull Tabs, Parks, Roads
- Air is the primary means of transportation year-round. The state-owned Ralph Wien Memorial Airport supports daily jet service to Anchorage and several air taxis to the region's villages. It has a crosswind gravel runway. A seaplane base is also operated by the state. The shipping season lasts 100 days, from early July to early October, when the sound is ice-free. Due to river sediments deposited by the Noatak River four miles above Kotzebue, its harbor is shallow. Deep draft vessels must anchor 15 miles out, and cargo is lightered to shore and warehoused. Crowley Marine Services operates shallow draft barges to deliver cargo to area communities. There are 26 miles of local gravel road used by cars, trucks, and motorcycles during the summer. Snow machines are preferred in winter for local transportation.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection
- Community's Senate District
- Community's House District