The far north: North Slope & Northwest Arctic boroughs.
Economic development -- specifically, how to provide increased job opportunities in some of Alaska's most isolated villages -- is of significant concern to residents of both the North Slope North Slope, Alaska: see Alaska North Slope. and Northwest Arctic boroughs. So important is the issue that, as 1991 drew to a close, both boroughs held boroughwide conferences to address the issue, and both charged certain individuals with the task of testing and implementing some of the plans discussed there.
"It was a super conference, a very positive conference," says Bill Spencer, director of economic development for the Northwest Arctic Borough and director of the area's regional economic development commission. Some 200 people from throughout the borough, as well as representatives from state and federal agencies, met in Kotzebue for three days in December This article or section needs sources or references that appear in reliable, third-party publications. Alone, primary sources and sources affiliated with the subject of this article are not sufficient for an accurate encyclopedia article. 1991 to address topics ranging from education to health and social services social services
welfare services provided by local authorities or a state agency for people with particular social needs
social services npl → servicios mpl sociales to economic development.
Spencer, who oversaw the economic development task force, says specific ideas tailored to the needs of borough residents were discussed. Everyone agreed that employee training is a priority, thereby allowing young people to find gainful gain·ful
Providing a gain; profitable: gainful employment.
gainful·ly adv. employment within the region.
If training in appliance and small-engine repair was available, for example, not only would jobs be created, but the cost of living would be reduced, explains Spencer. As it is now, when a snowmachine breaks down in rural Alaska, an owner often junks it and buys a new one, because no one is trained to make less costly repairs.
Conference attendees suggested ideas specific to their areas, says Spencer. Villagers in Noatak and Shungnak, for example, would like to increase the marketing of locally produced arts and crafts arts and crafts, term for that general field of applied design in which hand fabrication is dominant. The term was coined in England in the late 19th cent. as a label for the then-current movement directed toward the revivifying of the decorative arts. , while those in Kobuk are eager to open a community store and secure training in small-engine and appliance repair.
Participants at an economic development conference on the North Slope also generated several ideas during two days in Barrow. Ideas ranged from building a facility in Nuiqsut for snowmachine sales and repairs to expanding an existing home-based grocery in Point Hope. Villagers in Point Hope also have talked about starting a cab service, and several North Slope villages are interested in waste management and in exploring tourism possibilities.
"The people in the villages and in Barrow are very excited and very motivated," says Larry Meadows, executive director of the Arctic Development Council, sponsor of the North Slope conference. "I think the people here on the North Slope have needed a very active organization like ours. It's been very easy for me to work with the people," he adds.
This region has for centuries been home to Eskimos. What is now the North Slope Borough has been occupied for at least 5,000 years, and some of the oldest inhabited places in North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. lie within the Cape Krusenstern National Monument Cape Krusenstern National Monument: see National Parks and Monuments (table).
Cape Krusenstern National Monument
National preserve, northwestern Alaska, U.S., on the coast of the Chukchi Sea. north of Kotzebue.
In 1778, Capt. James Cook became the first European to examine Alaska's arctic coast. Numerous expeditions followed, led by men named Barrow, Beechey, Franklin and Rasmussen. The first commercial whaling whaling, the hunting of whales for the oil that can be rendered from their flesh, for meat, and for baleen (whalebone). Historically, whale oil was economically the most important. Early Whaling
Whaling for subsistence dates to prehistoric times. ship arrived in 1848, marking a dramatic change in the lives of local residents.
Major oil reserves Oil reserves refer to portions of oil in place that are claimed to be recoverable under economic constraints.
Oil in the ground is not a "reserve" unless it is claimed to be economically recoverable, since as the oil is extracted, the cost of recovery increases incrementally were discovered on the North Slope in 1968, and the trans-Alaska pipeline Trans-Alaska Pipeline
or Alaska Pipeline
Oil pipeline running 800 mi (1,300 km) north-south across Alaska, U.S. Completed in 1977, it transports crude oil from the oil fields of Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean to an ice-free port at Valdez. was completed nine years later. The North Slope Borough was incorporated July 2, 1972; the Northwest Arctic Borough, June 2, 1986.
The two boroughs combined cover approximately 129,000 square miles of Alaska's northernmost regions. The area is separated from the rest of the state by an invisible line that runs west along the crest of the Brooks Range Brooks Range, mountain chain, northernmost part of the Rocky Mts., extending about 600 mi (970 km) from east to west across N Alaska. Mt. Chamberlin, 9,020 ft (2,749 m) high, near the Canadian border, is the highest peak. , dips south to the Arctic Circle Arctic Circle, imaginary circle on the surface of the earth at 66 1-2°N latitude, i.e., 23 1-2° south of the North Pole. It marks the northernmost point at which the sun can be seen at the winter solstice (about Dec. , and then resumes its westerly Westerly, town (1990 pop. 21,605), Washington co., extreme SW R.I., between the Pawcatuck River and Block Island Sound; inc. 1669. Its textile industry dates from 1814, and granite has been quarried there since c.1850. course to the Chukchi Sea Chukchi Sea (chək`chē), part of the Arctic Ocean N of the Bering Strait, between Siberia and Alaska, Wrangell Island lies to the west and the Beaufort Sea lies to the east. .
The terrain, particularly to the west, is varied and includes forests of spruce and birch, but to the north is vast coastal plain, or treeless tundra, choked by knee-high tussocks and laced with mighty, meandering rivers. Major rivers of the region, including the Colville, Noatak and Kobuk, are among the state's 10 longest.
Permafrost permafrost, permanently frozen soil, subsoil, or other deposit, characteristic of arctic and some subarctic regions; similar conditions are also found at very high altitudes in mountain ranges. , extending to 2,000 feet below the earth's surface Noun 1. Earth's surface - the outermost level of the land or sea; "earthquakes originate far below the surface"; "three quarters of the Earth's surface is covered by water"
surface , covers much of the Arctic and prevents adequate soil drainage. As a result, thousands of shallow lakes and ponds dot the land. But there also are geologic surprises, such as the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes on the southern flanks of the Kobuk River The Kobuk River is a river, approximately 280 miles (451 km) long, in the Arctic region of northwestern Alaska in the United States. .
In the far northeast corner is the 17-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) covers 19,049,236 acres (79,318 km²) in northeastern Alaska, in the North Slope region. It was originally protected in 1960 by order of Fred A. Seaton, the Secretary of the Interior under U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. . The refuge's Coastal Plain is thought to contain the nation's most promising reserves of onshore oil.
Outsiders often think of Alaska as a land where winters are long and cold, and summers are over before the boots and block heaters are stowed. Along the North Slope, that image is not far from true. Conditions in Alaska's TABULAR DATA OMITTED Arctic are characterized by strong winds, long, cold winters and desert-like precipitation. Summers are short and cool with near constant daylight.
Other conditions in Barrow, North America's northernmost city, include:
* Average winter temperature range is -20 degrees to -15 degrees F.
* Average summer temperature range is 30 degrees to 40 degrees F.
* Average annual precipitation is five inches (29 inches of snow).
* Beaufort and Chukchi seas are ice-covered nine months of the year.
* The sun sets in Barrow Nov. 18 and does not rise again until Jan. 24, resulting in 67 days of darkness This article is about the film. For the Testament album, see Days of Darkness (album).
Days of Darkness (French: L’Âge des ténèbres, also known as The Age of Ignorance .
* From May 10 to Aug. 2 the sun does not set in Barrow, resulting in 84 days of daylight.
Kotzebue and other communities along the western coast rest in a transitional weather zone characterized by long, cold winters and cool summers. Parts of the Northwest Arctic Borough experience the more extreme temperatures of the continental weather zone, where temperatures may reach 92 degrees in summer but plunge to -65 degrees in winter. In addition:
* Kotzebue's average winter temperature range is -13 degrees to 4 degrees F.
* Kotzebue's average summer temperature range is 37 degrees to 59 degrees F.
* Annual precipitation in Kotzebue is nine inches (47 inches of snow).
ECONOMY & EMPLOYMENT
The economies of both boroughs are based on a mixture of subsistence and cash incomes. And although wages there seem high -- a secretary in Barrow may make $19 an hour -- so is the cost of living. Two pounds of cheese may cost nearly $10.
In both regions, federal, state and Native corporation payments, including dividends and welfare, are the only sources of income for many people. Bartering and sharing among family members also are common. Both boroughs are striving to strengthen and diversify their economies while maintaining traditional values Traditional values refer to those beliefs, moral codes, and mores that are passed down from generation to generation within a culture, subculture or community. Since the late 1970s in the U.S. and lifestyles.
North Slope Borough. There are two sets of figures bandied about when discussing North Slope employment: those that include Prudhoe Bay Prudhoe Bay, inlet of the Beaufort Sea and Arctic Ocean, N Alaska, in the Alaska North Slope region, east of the Colville River delta. In 1968 one of the largest oil reserves in North America was discovered in Prudhoe Bay. workers and those that don't. Alaska Department of Labor statistics for 1990 show a borough labor force of 9,180, with some 5,000 workers in mining and oil production.
Borough officials say less than 10 percent of oil-related jobs are held by borough residents. With Prudhoe Bay workers removed from the picture, the Department of Labor estimates the work force at 2,950, with 4.4 percent listed as unemployed. After mining, local government provides the majority of borough jobs, followed by the services, transportation and construction industries.
Outside of Barrow, cash jobs are more difficult to find. To supplement their subsistence lifestyles, villagers rely largely on jobs with the school district, the regional corporation or from seasonal construction. Village development commissions are being organized to help residents identify small-business opportunities. Business possibilities include taxicab companies, snowmachine sales and repair, and tourism-related services.
Northwest Arctic Borough. The Northwest Arctic Borough had a 1990 labor force of 2,180, with 12.3 percent listed as unemployed. Again, local government and the services industry provide most jobs.
The Red Dog Mine north of Kotzebue employs an estimated 300 people and, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. a borough official, is the region's only real viable industry. About half of the jobs are held by Alaska Natives Alaska Natives are indigenous peoples of the Americas native to the state of Alaska within the United States. They include Inupiat, Yupik, Aleut, and several Native American peoples, including Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Eyak, and a number of Northern Athabaskan peoples. , with the percentage expected to rise.
Kotzebue offers the greatest job possibilities, with village residents relying on jobs in schools, small stores Noun 1. small stores - personal items conforming to regulations that are sold aboard ship or at a naval base and charged to the person's pay
commissary - a retail store that sells equipment and provisions (usually to military personnel) , government offices or on seasonal projects. Spencer believes, however, that the region has tremendous potential as a controlled tourist destination A tourist destination is a city, town or other area the economy of which is dependent to a significant extent on the revenues accruing from tourism.
It may contain one or more tourist attractions or visitor attractions and possibly some "tourist traps". for backpackers, wildlife photographers and other ecologically minded visitors. Other possibilities include increased marketing of traditional arts and crafts, and the formation of an aquaculture aquaculture, the raising and harvesting of fresh- and saltwater plants and animals. The most economically important form of aquaculture is fish farming, an industry that accounts for an ever increasing share of world fisheries production. association.
Barrow and Kotzebue, respectively, serve as the commercial and administrative centers of the North Slope and Northwest Arctic boroughs. Each serves as the seat of borough government and as the home of each area's regional Native corporation. Both also contain state and federal offices, regional hospitals, supply outlets and regional airports. As a result, each community offers services and employment not found in smaller villages.
Alaska's northern and northwest regions traditionally have been home to Inupiat Eskimos. According to census figures, some communities are made up entirely of Natives, while others have Native populations of 70 percent or more.
Representing Natives of the North Slope Borough are the Arctic Slope Regional Corp., based in Barrow, and the Barrow village corporation, Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corp. Their counterparts in the Northwest Arctic Borough are NANA Regional Corp. of Kotzebue and the Kotzebue village corporation, Kikiktagnuk Corp.
According to the 1990 census, the population of both boroughs has increased since 1980. Demographers predict that Kotzebue could double its population within the next 15 years. Housing shortages are common in many villages.
Census figures for 1990 give a snapshot of the region's demographics:
North Slope Borough
* Population: 5,979 (1980: 4,199) * Barrow's population: 3,469 * Inupiat Eskimos represent 72 percent of the population. * Median age: 27 years * Portion of population under age 18: 37 percent * Median value Noun 1. median value - the value below which 50% of the cases fall
statistics - a branch of applied mathematics concerned with the collection and interpretation of quantitative data and the use of probability theory to estimate population of a home: $80,700 * Per capita income Noun 1. per capita income - the total national income divided by the number of people in the nation
income - the financial gain (earned or unearned) accruing over a given period of time : $22,219 (1989)
Northwest Arctic Borough
* Population: 6,113 (1980: 4,831) * Kotzebue's population: 2,751 * Eskimos, Aleuts and American Indians American Indians: see Americas, antiquity and prehistory of the; Natives, Middle American; Natives, North American; Natives, South American. represent 85 percent of the population. * Median age: 23 years * Portion of population under age 18: 43 percent * Median value of a home: $62,800 * Per capita income: $14,711 (1989)
Perhaps nowhere else in Alaska are contrasting lifestyles as obvious as they are on the North Slope. Native elders who lead a subsistence lifestyle and speak little or no English stand in line at the post office with college-educated professionals who earn good salaries. Glass office buildings sit beside homes made from scrap materials. Buildings have electricity, but not all have running water, even in Barrow.
It is estimated that 88 percent of the North Slope's Inupiat adults engage in subsistence activities and that some 45 percent of borough households obtain at least half of their food from these activities. As a result, muktuk muk·tuk
Whale blubber and skin, eaten as food.
[Inuit maktak.] , seal and walrus are found on the dinner table, along with store-bought canned peaches, white bread and soda pop.
During spring and fall whaling seasons, Native hunters who straddle In the stock and commodity markets, a strategy in options contracts consisting of an equal number of put options and call options on the same underlying share, index, or commodity future. both the traditional and modern worlds leave their offices to hunt for bowhead whales bowhead whale: see right whale. . In the Northwest Arctic Borough, some 4.5 million pounds, representing 100 different plant, fish and mammal species, are harvested annually through subsistence activities. Fish is said to account for 30 percent of local residents' diets.
Social life in Alaska's north and northwest revolves largely around extended families, often making it difficult for newcomers to adjust. League sports, especially basketball, draw crowds on winter nights, as do special dances and other community events. Barrow's school and community center provide a swimming pool, weight room, wood and metal shops, and other facilities. Kotzebue's community center is closed for lack of funds. A handful of restaurants and video rental outlets also are available in both towns.
TRANSPORTATION & COMMUNICATION
Although no roads lead to Barrow, Kotzebue or to any of the other scattered communities in the North Slope and Northwest Arctic boroughs, North Slope officials talk about the need for roads between villages. Summer travel is primarily by boat and small plane; winter travel by plane and snowmachine. Planes and supply barges deliver food, equipment and household goods.
Daily jet service is available to Kotzebue and Barrow from Anchorage and Fairbanks, with commuter air service (cargo and passenger) available in outlying villages. Air travel is expensive, however, with a round-trip ticket Noun 1. round-trip ticket - a ticket to a place and back (usually over the same route)
ticket - a commercial document showing that the holder is entitled to something (as to ride on public transportation or to enter a public entertainment) from Barrow to Point Hope costing $600 and one from Barrow to Anaktuvuk Pass The Anaktuvuk Pass (el. 2200 ft.) is a mountain pass located in North Slope Borough, in Northern Alaska. The Anaktuvuk Pass is in the Brooks Range which divides the Anaktuvuk River with the John River. The median household income in 2000 was $52,500. about $720 in late 1991.
Barrow and Kotzebue also have cab service, as do some other villages. Dog teams are used mostly for recreation.
Villages receive selected television transmissions over the Rural Alaska Television Network (RATNET). Some have cable television. Both Barrow and Kotzebue have their own public radio stations and newspapers. Newspapers from other communities often are available.
The north and northwest regions are not traditional tourist destinations, although a growing number of visitors is spending the time and money to see this part of the state. Package trips are available to Prudhoe Bay and Barrow, as well as trips for wildlife and bird viewing.
International interest in ANWR ANWR Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (Alaska, USA) has resulted in a marked increase in the number of visitors to that area. Like most of ANWR, millions of acres in the north and northwest are protected, resulting in vast parks, preserves and monuments. Among these are Noatak National Preserve Noatak National Preserve, 6,569,904 acres (2,660,811 hectares), N Alaska. The preserve is the largest mountain-ringed river basin in the United States that is still virtually unaffected by human activities. , Kobuk Valley National Park Kobuk Valley National Park (kōbk`), 1,750,737 acres (709,048 hectares), NW Alaska. , Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Bering Land Bridge National Preserve The Bering Land Bridge National Preserve or BELA is one of the most remote United States national park areas, located on the Seward Peninsula. The National Preserve protects a remnant of the Bering Land Bridge that connected Asia with North America more than 13,000 years ago and Gates of the Arctic National Park Gates of the Arctic National Park
National preserve, northern Alaska, U.S. Its area of 11,756 sq mi (30,448 sq km) is entirely north of the Arctic Circle. Proclaimed a national monument in 1978, the area underwent boundary changes and was renamed in 1980. . Most do not have visitor facilities, requiring backpackers to come well prepared.
The NANA Museum of the Arctic in Kotzebue and the city museum are both popular attractions. Kotzebue's Fourth of July Fourth of July, Independence Day, or July Fourth, U.S. holiday, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Celebration of it began during the American Revolution. celebration features a muktuk-eating contest and other traditional events, and the Arctic Trade Fair the following week draws dozens of artists and onlookers.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT & TAXES
Following is a breakdown of government entities and tax rates for the North Slope and Northwest Arctic boroughs and for communities within each.
North Slope Borough
* North Slope Borough: Home-rule borough; mayor-assembly form of government; property tax rate: 18.21 mil; no sales tax sales tax, levy on the sale of goods or services, generally calculated as a percentage of the selling price, and sometimes called a purchase tax. It is usually collected in the form of an extra charge by the retailer, who remits the tax to the government. anywhere in the borough; no additional village property taxes
* Anaktuvuk Pass: Second-class city; mayor-council government Mayor-Council government is one of two variations of government most commonly used in modern representative municipal governments in the United States. It is also used in some other countries.
* Atqasuk: Second-class city; mayor-council government; administrator
* Barrow: First-class city; mayor council government
* Kaktovik: Second-class city; mayor-council government
* Nuiqsut: Second-class city; mayor-council government
* Point Hope: Second-class city; mayor-council government; administrator
* Point Lay: Unincorporated tribal village; mayor-council government
* Wainwright Wainwright, town (1991 pop. 4,732), E Alta., Canada, SE of Edmonton and near the Sask. border. It is a trade center and railroad division point for an oil and natural gas area. It has oil refineries, grain elevators, and flour mills. Nearby is a military base. : Second-class city; mayor-council government
Northwest Arctic Borough
* Northwest Arctic Borough: Homerule borough; mayor-assembly government; no boroughwide property or sales tax
* Ambler: Second--class city; mayor-council government; administrator; 2 percent sales tax
* Buckland: Second-class city; mayor-council government; administrator; 2 percent sales tax
* Deering: Second-class city; mayor-council government; administrator; 3 percent sales tax
* Kiana: Second-class city; mayor-council government; administrator; 2 percent sales tax
* Kivalina: Second-class city; mayor-council government; administrator; 2 percent sales tax
* Kobuk: Second-class city; mayor-council government; administrator; no sales tax
* Kotzebue: Second-class city; mayor-council government; manager; 4 percent sales tax
* Noatak: Unincorporated, tribal village; council-president government; 2 percent sales tax
* Noorvik: Second-class city; mayor-council government; administrator; 3 percent sales tax
* Selawik: Second-class city; mayor-council government; administrator; 3 percent sales tax
* Shungnak: Second-class city; mayor-council government; administrator; 2 percent sales tax
North Slope Borough. Approximately 70.5 million acres of the borough's total 83 million acres belong to the federal government. Approximately 7 million acres belong to the state, and 5.5 million acres are owned by private landowners or regional and village corporations.
Northwest Arctic Borough. Borough officials estimate that between 10 percent and 11 percent of the land is owned by NANA Regional Corp., with the remaining acreage owned by state and federal governments. The borough is in the process of selecting 285,000 acres from the state to claim as its own.
NORTH SLOPE BOROUGH, P.O. Box 69, Barrow, AK 99723; (907) 852-2611
Arctic Development Council, P.O. Box 1353, Barrow, AK 99723; (907) 852-4146
Arctic Slope Regional Corp., P.O. Box 129, Barrow, AK 99723; (907) 852-8533
Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corp., P.O. Box 427, Barrow, AK 99723; (907) 852-4460
Anaktuvuk Pass, P.O. Box 21030, Anaktuvuk Pass, AK 99721; (907) 661-3612
Atqasuk, General Delivery, Atqasuk, AK 99791; (907) 633-6811
Barrow, P.O. Box 629, Barrow, AK 99723; (907) 852-5211
Kaktovik, P.O. Box 27, Kaktovik, AK 99747; (907) 640-6313
Nuiqsut, P.O. Box 148, Nuiqsut, AK 99789; (907) 480-6727
Point Hope, P.O. Box 69, Point Hope, AK 99766; (907) 368-2537
Point Lay, General Delivery, Point Lay, AK 99759; no phone listing
Wainwright, P.O. Box 9, Wainwright, AK 99782; (907) 763-2815
NORTHWEST ARCTIC BOROUGH, P.O. Box 1110, Kotzebue, AK 99752; (907) 442-2500
Northwest Arctic Borough Economic Development Commission, P.O. Box 1110, Kotzebue 99752; (907) 442-2500
NANA Regional Corp., P.O. Box 49, Kotzebue, AK 99752; (907) 442-3301
Kikiktagnuk Native Corp., P.O. Box 1050, Kotzebue, AK 99752; (907) 442-3165
Maniilaq Association, P.O. Box 256, Kotzebue, AK 99752; (907) 442-3311
Kotzebue Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 46, Kotzebue, AK 99752; (907) 442-3401
Ambler, P.O. Box 9, Ambler, AK 99786; (907) 445-2122
Buckland, P.O. Box 49, Buckland, AK 99727; (907) 494-2121
Deering, P.O. Box 36049, Deering, AK 99736-0049; (907) 363-2136
Kiana, P.O. Box 150, Kiana, AK 99749; (907) 475-2136
Kivalina, P.O. Box 50079, Kivalina, AK 99750; (907) 645-2137
Kobuk, P.O. Box 20, Kobuk, AK 99751; (907) 948-2217
Kotzebue, P.O. Box 46, Kotzebue, AK 99752; (907) 442-3401
Noatak, P.O. Box 89, Noatak, AK 99761; (907) 485-2173
Noorvik, P.O. Box 146, Noorvik, AK 99763; (907) 636-2100
Selawik, P.O. Box 49, Selawik, AK 99770; (907) 484-2132
Shungnak, P.O. Box 59; Shungnak, AK 99773; (907) 473-2161