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Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska


Page Contents for Bettles, Alaska

Statistics & Facts


Weather & Climate

History & History-related items

City Attractions



Statistics & Facts

The Alaska state capital is Juneau.
The population of Bettles is approximately 36 (2000), 12 (2010).
The approximate number of families is 27 (1990), 9 (2010).
The amount of land area in Bettles is 3.989 sq. kilometers.
The amount of surface water is 0 sq kilometers.
The distance from Bettles to Washington DC is 3743 miles.
The distance to the Alaska state capital is 842 miles. (as the crow flies)
Bettles is positioned 66.88 degrees north of the equator and 151.59 degrees west of the prime meridian.
Bettles average annual precipitation is 13.4 inches peryear.
Bettles average annual snowfall is 77 inches per year.


about 250 miles and 180 air miles northwest of Fairbanks. It is just north of the Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge next to Evansville. The John River is nearby.
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cold continental with great differences in temperature with each season. Summer average highs run around 70 degrees. During winter, the average low is well below zero. Temperatures of below 40 are common in winter.
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History & History Related Items

Among the native groups that have lived in this area are the Koyukon, Athabascans, Kobuk, Selawik and Nunamiut Eskimos. Many of these lived in seasonal camps to find food for their families. The early name for the area was Old Bettles. This settlement was about seven miles from the current village. It was named for Gordon Bettles who owned and operated a trading post during the 1899 Gold Rush. It was also the spot where the Koyukuk River barge line ended. The new site for the community is also known as Bettles Field. An airfield and communications facility was built here in 1948 and later the Navy used the facility as a support base. Other businesses were begun along with a school and a health clinic. The city incorporated in 1985.
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Unlike most communities in the area, Bettles is mostly non-native.

The Hickel Trail leads resident to the Dalton Highway which can take them to Fairbanks during the winter. During the summer months, the Koyukuk River is extensively used but not for commercial barge service. The local airport serves as a transport center with service and a float pond. Local residents get around using vehicles, ATVs and snowmachines.
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Economy & Industry

mostly with with tourism, government and air transortation. Because there is road access during the winter, supplies are less expensive than with other areas. There is more full-time and year-round employment here than in many areas of Alaska. Quite a bit of seasonal employment is available during the summer months.
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The population of Beetles was:
1990 - 36
2000 - 36

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