Location and Climate
Takotna is located in Interior Alaska on the north bank of the Takotna River in a broad scenic river valley, 17 air miles west of McGrath in the Kilbuck-Kuskokwim Mountains. The community lies at approximately 62.988610° North Latitude and -156.064170° West Longitude. (Sec. 35, T034N, R036W, Seward Meridian.) Takotna is located in the Mt. McKinley Recording District.
Takotna has a cold, continental climate. Summer temperatures average 42 to 80 °F, and winter temperatures range from -42 to 0 °F. The Takotna River is generally ice-free from June through October.
History, Culture and Demographics
Takotna has been known as Berry Landing, Portage City, Takotna City, Takotna Station, and Tocotna. In 1908, merchants in Bethel hired Arthur Berry to bring supplies up the Takotna River. The village was founded at the farthest point on the river Berry’s small sternwheeler was able to reach. By 1912, the community had several stores that supplied miners. Gold discoveries in the upper Innoko Region enabled the town to prosper. By 1919, there were several commercial companies, roadhouses, a post office, and about 50 houses. In 1921 the Alaska Road Commission improved the Takotna-Ophir road, and an airfield was constructed. In 1923 a radio station began broadcasting in Takotna, and the town had its own newspaper, The Kusko Times. Low waters at times precluded the arrival of steamboats, so the Takotna-Sterling Landing road was constructed to the Kuskokwim River in 1930. During the 1930s, however, McGrath became the more dominant supply center, and the ACC store closed. In 1949, construction was begun on nearby Tatalina Air Force Station. It was the site of a White Alice communications system, but operations were phased out during the 1980s.
A federally-recognized tribe is located in the community – the Takotna Village. Takotna is a mixed population of non-Natives, Ingalik Athabascans, and Eskimos. Subsistence is a prevalent activity. The sale of alcohol is prohibited in the village.
According to Census 2010, there were 41 housing units in the community and 22 were occupied. Its population was 23.1 percent American Indian or Alaska Native; 50 percent white; 26.9 percent of the local residents had multi-racial backgrounds. Additionally, 5.8 percent of the population was of Hispanic decent.
Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care
Water from Gold Creek is treated and hauled by residents from the washeteria. Water is also hauled from the Takotna Waterworks. Electricity is provided by Takotna Community Association Incorporated. There is one school located in the community, attended by very few students. Local hospitals or health clinics include Takotna Clinic. Emergency Services have limited highway river and air access. Emergency service is provided by volunteers and a health aide. Auxiliary health care is provided by Takotna Rescue Squad.
Takotna has a combined cash and subsistence economy. Employment is through the school district, post office, clinic, local businesses, and seasonal construction. Most residents are involved in subsistence activities. Moose and salmon are the primary meat sources. Many residents garden during the summer.
Access to Takotna is by air or water. The new Takotna runway is 3,300 feet long and 75 feet wide, almost twice the size of the old one. Cargo is offloaded at Sterling Landing, 24 miles southeast of Takotna. The community has 80 miles of local roads that connect with Tatalina AFS, Sterling Landing, and existing mines. A winter trail is marked to McGrath (20 mi). It is a check point for the Iditarod Sled Dog Race.