Published on October 11, 2010 by John
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Orthodox Church Karluk Alaska
Location and Climate
Karluk is located on the west coast of Kodiak Island, on the Karluk River, 88 air miles southwest of Kodiak and 301 miles southwest of Anchorage. The community lies at approximately 57.570210° North Latitude and -154.454330° West Longitude. (Sec. 17, T030S, R032W, Seward Meridian). Karluk is located in the Kodiak Recording District. The climate of the Kodiak Islands is dominated by a strong marine influence. There is little or no freezing weather, moderate precipitation, and frequent cloud cover and fog. Severe storms and winds are common from December through February. Annual precipitation averages 23 inches. Temperatures remain within a narrow range, from 31 to 54 °F.
History, Culture and Demographics
The mouth of the Karluk River is thought to have been populated by Natives for more than 7,000 years. Thirty-six archaeological sites exist in the area. Russian hunters established a trading post here in 1786. At that time, the village was located on both sides of the Karluk River, in the area of Karluk Lagoon. Between 1790 and 1850, many tanneries, salteries, and canneries were established in the area. By 1900, Karluk was known for having the largest cannery and the greatest salmon stream in the world. A post office was established in 1892. In the early 1900s, canneries were constructed by the Alaska Packers Association. Over-fishing of the area forced the canneries to close in the late 1930s. After a severe storm in January 1978, the village council decided to relocate the community to the present site, upstream on the south side of the lagoon. HUD constructed 23 houses at the new community location. A few high school students attend Mount Edgecumbe in Sitka.
A federally-recognized tribe is located in the community — the Native Village of Karluk; Kodiak Island Inter-Tribal Council. The population of the community consists of 96.3% Alaska Native or part Native. Karluk is an Alutiiq village with a fishing and subsistence lifestyle. The school was closed during the 1999-2000 year and again for the 2002-2003 year due to low enrollment. During the 2000 U.S. Census, total housing units numbered 24, and vacant housing units numbered 15. Vacant housing units used only seasonally numbered 11. U.S. Census data for Year 2000 showed 11 residents as employed. The unemployment rate at that time was 0 percent, although 47.62 percent of all adults were not in the work force. The median household income was $19,167, per capita income was $13,736, and 0 percent of residents were living below the poverty level.
Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care
Water is supplied by a creek and is treated and stored in a 50,000-gallon tank. All occupied homes are fully plumbed. There is no refuse collection service, and the landfill is a temporary, unpermitted site. The school organizes aluminum recycling. Electricity is provided by Alutiiq Power Company. There are schools located in the community, Local hospitals or health clinics include Karluk Health Clinic. Emergency Services have coastal, floatplane and air access. Auxiliary health care is provided by Karluk Health Clinic First Responders (907-241-2212).
Economy and Transportation
While fish processing was a primary source of livelihood at one point, today many residents participate in other types of work in addition to subsistence hunting and fishing activities. Salmon, trout, ducks, seals, and deer are harvested.
Karluk is accessible by air and water. Regular and charter flights depart from Kodiak. There is both a state-owned 2,000′ long by 60′ wide gravel airstrip and a seaplane base at Karluk Lake. Barge service is available twice a month from Kodiak, and goods are lightered to shore by skiff.