in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 Department of Labor Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (chih tee' nuh)
- Community's Judicial District
- Recording District
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Geography and Climate
- Chitina is located on the west bank of the Copper River at its confluence with the Chitina River, at mile 34 of the Edgerton Highway, 53 miles southeast of Copper Center. It lies outside the western boundary of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, 66 miles southeast of Glennallen.
- The climate in Chitina is continental, characterized by long, cold winters and relatively warm summers. Total annual precipitation averages 12 inches, with an average annual snowfall of 52 inches. Temperature extremes from a low of -58 to a high of 91 °F have been recorded. Chitina is usually 10° warmer than its neighbor, Kenny Lake.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- Athabascan Indians have reportedly occupied this region for the last 5,000 to 7,000 years. Archaeological sites are located to the south and east of Chitina. Chitina was historically a large Native village whose population was slowly decimated by the influx of people, disease, and conflicts. Rich copper deposits were discovered at the turn of the century along the northern flanks of the Chitina River Valley, bringing a rush of prospectors and homesteaders to the area. The Copper River & Northwestern Railway enabled Chitina to develop into a thriving community by 1914. It had a general store, clothing store, meat market, stables, tinsmith, five hotels, rooming houses, pool hall, bars, restaurants, dance halls, and movie theater. Almost all of Chitina was owned by Otto Adrian Nelson, a surveying engineer for the Kennecott Mines. He supplied electric power to all structures with a unique hydroelectric system. After the mines closed in 1938, support activities moved to the Glennallen area, and Chitina became a virtual ghost town with only the Natives and a few non-Natives staying on. In 1963, the Nelson estate was purchased by "Mudhole" Smith, a pioneer bush pilot, who sold off the townsite and buildings.
- Students are home-schooled or attend school at Kenny Lake, 28 miles away. Most Athabascan residents are involved in subsistence activities year-round. During the summer, subsistence dipnetting for salmon on the Copper River brings a large number of Alaskans from Anchorage and other areas of the state. Gardening, berry picking, herb gathering, and other 'wildcrafting' are popular pursuits, as are various arts and crafts. Winter activities include trapping, snow machining, dog mushing, skiing and skijoring, and ice fishing.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Native Village of Chitina
Facilities, Utilities, and Health Care
- The Edgerton Highway and Richardson Highway link Chitina with the rest of the state road system. The state owns the Chitina Airport, with a gravel airstrip, 5 miles north of town along the Edgerton Highway.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection
- Community's Senate District
- Community's House District