Kaltag is located on the west bank of the Yukon River, 75 miles west of Galena and 335 miles west of Fairbanks. It is situated
on a 35-foot bluff at the base of the Nulato Hills, west of the Innoko National Wildlife Refuge. It lies at approximately
64.32722° North Latitude and -158.72194° West Longitude. (Sec. 29, T013S, R001E, Kateel River Meridian.) Kaltag is located
in the Nulato Recording District. The area encompasses 23.3 sq. miles of land and 4.1 sq. miles of water. The area experiences
a cold, continental climate with extreme temperature differences. The average daily high temperature during July is in the low
70s; the average daily low temperature during January ranges from 10 to below zero. Sustained temperatures of -40 degrees are
common during winter. Extreme temperatures have been measured from -55 to 90. Annual precipitation is 16 inches, with 74
inches of snowfall annually. The River is ice-free from mid-May through mid-October.
Kaltag's residents are Koyukon Athabascans. The Stick Dance Festival draws visitors
from many neighboring villages. This one-week festival of potlatches is sponsored by
relatives of the recently deceased, in appreciation of those who helped during their
time of mourning.
Kaltag is located in Koyukon Athabascan territory, and was used as a cemetery for
surrounding villages. It was located on an old portage trail which led east through the
mountains to Unalakleet. The Athabascans had spring, summer, fall, and winter
camps, and moved as the wild game migrated. There were 12 summer fish camps
located on the Yukon River between the Koyukuk River and the Nowitna River. The
village was named by Russians for the Yukon Indian named Kaltaga. A smallpox epidemic, the
first of several major epidemics, struck the Koyukon in 1839. A military telegraph line was constructed along the north side of
the Yukon around 1867. Missionary activity was intense along the Yukon, and a Roman Catholic Mission and school opened
upriver in Nulato in 1887. Steamboats on the Yukon, which supplied gold prospectors, peaked in 1900 with 46 in operation.
During 1900, food shortages and a measles epidemic struck down one-third of the Native population. Kaltag was established
shortly thereafter, when survivors from three nearby seasonal villages moved to the area to regroup. A post office opened in
1903, but closed in 1904. Gold seekers left the mid-Yukon after 1906, but other mining activity, such as the Galena lead mines,
began operating in 1919. As a downriver village on a major transportation route, Kaltag witnessed rapid economic change. The
post office reopened in 1909 and operated until 1920. Kaltag's first school opened in 1925. The post office reopened again in
1933. The old cemetery, which was located on Front Street, caved into the River around 1937. A watering point, airport and
clinic were constructed during the 1960s. The City government was incorporated in 1969.
Subsistence is an important part of the local economy. Salmon, whitefish, moose, bear, waterfowl and berries are harvested.
Most cash jobs are with the tribe, school, local government, BLM fire fighting, commercial fishing or fish processing. 18
residents hold commercial fishing permits.
Piped water and sewer has existed since 1982 in Kaltag. A circulating water and gravity sewage system is used. Water is
derived from a well and is treated. The majority of households are fully plumbed. A new 13-unit HUD subdivision was recently
connected to the system, and an extension to 6th Avenue is under construction. A new washeteria was completed in January
The State-owned 5,000' lighted gravel airstrip provides Kaltag with year-round air service. Barges typically deliver heavy cargo
three times a year. Snowmachines, ATVs and riverboats are used for local transportation. The frozen river, local trails and the
90-mile Old Mail Trail to Unalakleet are used during the winter for woodcutting and trap lines.
The area experiences a cold, continental climate with extreme temperature differences.
The average daily high temperature during July is in the low 70s; Sustained
temperatures of -40 degrees are common during winter. Extreme temperatures have
been measured from -55 to 90. Annual precipitation is 16 inches, with 74 inches of
snowfall annually. The River is ice-free from mid-May through mid-October.
Village of Kaltag
©2012 Gana - A `Yoo Limited
1205 E. International Airport Road, Suite 100
Anchorage, AK 99518
Phone: (907) 569-9599
Fax: (907) 569-9699