2nd Class City
in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (hewz); a.k.a. Hut'odleekkaakk'et Tribe
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Election, Recording, and Judicial Districts
- Senate District
- House District
- Judicial District
- Recording District
- Fort Gibbon
Facilities and Amenities
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Watering Point, Washeteria, Electric, Refuse Collection, Landfill, Health Clinic, Fuel Sales, Airport (State Contract), U.S. Post Office (Federal Contract), General Store, Roads, Community Hall, Bingo.
Geography and Climate
- Hughes is located on a 500-foot bluff on the east bank of the Koyukuk River, about 115 air miles northeast of Galena and 210 air miles northwest of Fairbanks.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
- The area experiences a cold, continental climate with extreme temperature differences. The average high temperature during July is 70 °F; the average low during January is well below 0 °F. Extended periods of -40 °F are common. The highest temperature ever recorded was 90 °F; the lowest was -68 °F. Average annual precipitation is 13 inches, with 30 inches of snowfall. The Koyukuk River is ice-free from June through October.
History and Culture
- Several Native groups have lived in the area, including Koyukon Athabascans and Kobuk, Selawik, and Nunamiut Eskimos from the north and northwest. The Koyukon lived in several camps throughout the year, moving as the seasons changed, following the wild game and fish. Hughes was used as a trade center between Athabascans and Eskimos. Roy (Frederick) Hughes prospected an area two miles upstream in 1884. But, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the community was named in 1910 after New York Governor Charles Hughes. It served as a riverboat landing and supply port for the Indian River gold fields until 1915 when the local mining industry declined. The local Natives stayed on, however, and a post office was established in 1942. An airstrip was built in the 1950s, a school in 1956, and a clinic in 1968. The city was incorporated in 1973, and local roads were built in 1974. A community-wide electric system was developed in 1981. In September 1994, flood waters destroyed and swept away nearly all of the community's buildings, homes, and food caches for the winter. Residents have rebuilt homes and facilities.
- Hughes is a Koyukon Athabascan village. Traditional ways of life persist -- potlatches and dog races attract visitors from surrounding river villages.
- Indigenous Language
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Hughes Village
- Local Option Restrictions
- Sale of alcohol is banned.
- 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.
- River transportation is very important to Hughes, although barge service is not reliable due to shallow water. Most fuel and heavy freight is brought in by air. A lighted, gravel 3,380' long by 100' wide runway is maintained and owned by the state. Snow machines, ATVs, and skiffs are used for local transportation. The frozen river serves as an ice road during winter and links the village to other area communities.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection