Bethel, Alaska is SPECIAL
Bethel is a special place...a growing community located in the heart of the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta with a bright spirit born of a culture rich in tradition. The spirit of Bethel can be felt among its citizens, at its local events, and in the natural beauty of the river and the tundra.
Bethel was first established by Moravian Missionaries next to a small Yupi'k village called "Mumtreklogamute,"meaning "Smokehouse People". The Moravian Church started a mission in the area in 1885 and named it Bethel. A post office was opened in 1905. Before long, Bethel was serving as a trading, transportation and distribution center for the region, which attracted people from surrounding villages. Over time, federal and state agencies established regional offices in Bethel. Today Bethel is a hub for 56 villages.
Bethel is located in southwestern Alaska, 40 miles from the mouth of the Kuskokwim river, 400 air miles west of Anchorage. Flight time by jet from Anchorage to Bethel is one hour, and there are many daily flights. It is located in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife refuge, the second largest refuge in the United States.
Bethel has experienced tremendous population growth over the past two decades. The population in 1980 was 3,576 and in 1990 was 4,674. Currently Bethel's population is approximately 6,400.
Bethel's has a diverse population with residents for all over the world.
Over 50% of Bethel's jobs are local, state or federal positions. The remainder of the jobs are from private industry, and there are many owners of small businesses. Many residents supplement their income with subsistence hunting, fishing and berry picking.
Bethel's climate is more maritime than continental. Mean summer temperature is about 53 degrees but can reach into the 80s. Commonly, summer temperatures are 65-70. Mean winter temperature is 11 degrees, the last average day of frost is May 30 and the first frost is in early September.
ROADS: The city of Bethel maintains 21 miles of mainly gravel roads within the city. The state of Alaska maintains approximately 5 miles of paved road, as well as an ice road on the Kuskokwim River that can exceed 100 miles in the winter months.
Airport: Bethel has the second busiest airport in the state. The main Bethel airport paved runway is 6,400 feet long and 150 feet wide. While the cross-wind runway is 1,850 feet long and 75 feet wide.
Airlines: The route between Bethel and Anchorage is served by both jet and propeller craft. There is daily jet service between Bethel and Anchorage for passengers and cargo. Many small air taxi services operate from Bethel, serving 56 villages in the surrounding areas with scheduled and charter service.