Published on October 12, 2010 by John
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Eek, Alaska map
Location and Climate
Eek lies on the south bank of the Eek River, 12 miles east of the mouth of the Kuskokwim River. It is 35 air miles south of Bethel and 420 miles west of Anchorage. The community lies at approximately 60.218890° North Latitude and -162.024440° West Longitude. (Sec. 31, T002N, R073W, Seward Meridian). Eek is located in the Bethel Recording District. The area encompasses 0.9 sq. miles of land and 0.1 sq. miles of water. Eek is located in a marine climate. Annual precipitation averages 22 inches, with an annual average of 43 inches of snowfall. Summer temperatures average 41 to 57 °F; winter temperatures average 6 to 24 °F.
History, Culture and Demographics
The village was originally located on the Apokok River. It moved to its present location in the 1930s when constant flooding and erosion forced a relocation. A BIA school and a Moravian church were constructed at the new site. A post office was established in 1949. The city was incorporated in 1970.
A federally-recognized tribe is located in the community — the Native Village of Eek. The population of the community consists of 96.8% Alaska Native or part Native. Eek is a traditional Yup’ik Eskimo village with a subsistence lifestyle. The local diet is 80 to 90% salmon. All five Pacific salmon species spawn in the Eek River. The sale and importation of alcohol is banned in the village. During the 2000 U.S. Census, total housing units numbered 83, and vacant housing units numbered 7. U.S. Census data for Year 2000 showed 55 residents as employed. The unemployment rate at that time was 17.91 percent, although 65.41 percent of all adults were not in the work force. The median household income was $17,500, per capita income was $8,957, and 28.85 percent of residents were living below the poverty level.
Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care
The city and village have formed a joint utility commission. Water is derived from Eek River and is treated and stored in a tank at the washeteria. A few homes have tanks that provide running water to the kitchen, but houses do not have additional plumbing. Rain catchment systems and ice melt are also used for drinking water. Honeybuckets are collected by the city and disposed of in a sewage lagoon. Electricity is provided by AVEC. There is one school located in the community, attended by 89 students. Local hospitals or health clinics include Eek Health Clinic. Emergency Services have coastal and air access. Emergency service is provided by a health aide
Economy and Transportation
Eek’s economy is primarily subsistence and commercial fishing-based. A few full-time positions are available at the school, city, and village office. All families participate in subsistence fishing. In 2009, 40 residents held commercial fishing permits. Poor fish returns and prices in recent years have significantly affected the economy.
A state-owned 3,243′ long by 60′ wide gravel airstrip provides chartered and private air access. A seaplane base is also available on the Eek River. Fishing boats, skiffs, and snowmachines are used for local transportation to Bethel and other villages. There is a one-mile gravel road in the city. Winter trails are marked to Quinhagak (39 mi), Eek Island (15 mi), and the Kwethluk River (45 mi). Barges deliver fuel and supplies during the summer months. A dock is available.