2nd Class City
in the Northwest Arctic Borough
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (koh' buck)
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Fisheries Participation and Earnings
Election, Recording, and Judicial Districts
- Senate District
- House District
- Judicial District
- Recording District
Facilities and Amenities
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Watering Point, School Water, Honeybucket Hauling, Washeteria, Electric, Health Clinic, Dock, Airport, Fuel/Oil Sales, Roads, Post Office, Equipment Rental, Hotel, State Funded Public Safety Officer, Bureau Funded Village Police Officer
Geography and Climate
- Kobuk is located on the right bank of the Kobuk River, about 7 miles northeast of Shungnak and 128 air miles northeast of Kotzebue. It is the smallest village in the Northwest Arctic Borough.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
- Kobuk is located in the transitional climate zone. Temperatures average -10 to 15 °F during winter and 40 to 65 °F during summer. Temperature extremes have been recorded from -68 to 90 °F. Annual snowfall averages 56 inches, with 17 inches of total precipitation per year. The Kobuk River is navigable from the end of May through October.
History and Culture
- Kobuk was founded in 1899 as a supply point for mining activities in the Cosmos Hills to the north and was then called Shungnak. A trading post, school, and Friends mission drew area residents to the settlement. Due to river erosion and flooding, the village was relocated in the 1920s to a new site 10 miles downstream, which was called "Kochuk," now Shungnak. The few who remained at the village renamed it Kobuk. Ice jams on the river cause high water each year. In May 1973, a flood covered the entire village. In October 1973, the city was incorporated.
- It is an Inupiat Eskimo village practicing a traditional subsistence lifestyle. High school students attend school in Shungnak.
- Indigenous Language
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Native Village of Kobuk
- Local Option Restrictions
- Ban sale and importation of alcohol.
- Incorporation Type
- 2nd Class City
- Public Education
- Not permitted to provide this service.
- Planning, Platting and Land Use Regulation
- Not required to exercise the powers in any circumstance, but may be permitted in all cases in the manner described for first class cities.
- Property Tax Powers
- May tax up to 20 mills, except where a higher levy is required to avoid default. Voter approval required.
- Sales Tax Powers
- No limit on the rate of levy of sales taxes; however, voter approval is required.
- Other Powers Not Prohibited
- May exercise other powers not prohibited by law.
- City Council or Assembly Composition and Apportionment
- 7 members elected at-large, except the council may provide for election other than at-large.
- Election and Term of Mayor
- Elected from the city council for a 1-year term, unless a longer term is provided by ordinance. Mayor selected by council (or by voters upon adoption of ordinance).
- Vote by Mayor
- Votes on all matters.
- Veto Power of the Mayor
- Does not have veto power.
- Power of Eminent Domain
- Permitted, but requires voter approval.
- Ability to Attain Home-Rule Status
- May not adopt home-rule charter without first reclassifying to a first-class city.
- Kobuk's major means of transportation are barge, plane, small boat, and snow machine. A state-owned lighted gravel airstrip serves scheduled air carriers. Float planes land on the Kobuk River. Crowley Marine Services barges fuel and supplies during the spring and fall, when high water stages occur. There is a barge off-loading area. Boats, ATVs, and snow machines are used for local travel. There are many trails along the river for year-round inter-village travel and subsistence activities, including a 7-mile road to Shungnak.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection