2nd Class City
in the Hoonah-Angoon Census Area
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (gus tay' vuhs)
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Election, Recording, and Judicial Districts
- Senate District
- House District
- Judicial District
- Recording District
Facilities and Amenities
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Disposal and Recycling Center; Landfill, Library; Volunteer Fire Department; Gustavus Community Network - Internet.
Geography and Climate
- Gustavus lies on the north shore of Icy Passage at the mouth of the Salmon River in the St. Elias Mountains, 48 air miles northwest of Juneau. It is surrounded by Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve on three sides and the waters of Icy Passage on the south. Glacier Bay Park is 3.3 million acres and offers 16 tidewater glaciers.
- The area's maritime climate is characterized by cool summers and mild winters. Summer temperatures range from 52 to 63 °F and winter temperatures from 26 to 39 °F.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- When Capt. George Vancouver sailed through Icy Strait in 1794, Glacier Bay was completely covered by the Grand Pacific Glacier. Over the next century, the glacier retreated some 40 miles, and a spruce-hemlock forest began to develop. By 1916, it had retreated 65 miles from the position observed by Vancouver in 1794. Gustavus has the distinction of being the largest relatively flat land in all of Southeast Alaska, and in 1914 the possibility of agricultural improvements caught the eye of several early homesteading families who were seeking a place to flourish and farm. The place they considered ?paradise? was covered with fragrant wild strawberries and was fondly known as Strawberry Point. Several hundred head of cattle grazed ?the flats?, and fields were harvested of hay, rutabagas and other root crops. Glacier Bay National Monument (including Gustavus) was established by President Calvin Coolidge in 1925. After many appeals, the homesteaders won the right to keep their properties from being land-locked, and the Gustavus area was excluded from the monument that became Glacier Bay National Park in 1980 with the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Along the way, the name Strawberry Point was changed to Gustavus?some would argue due to a series of mistakes and misunderstandings. The City of Gustavus was incorporated on April 1, 2004.
- Strawberry Point/Gustavus has a year round population of about 450, and up to three times that number in the summer months. Fishing lodges charter daily visitors to the fertile Icy Strait Passage area and beyond for halibut, salmon and whale watching. Many locals are employed in the summer tourism trade and at Glacier Bay National Park. There are a number of churches, a post office, school, gym, library, gas station, several art and gift galleries, a fish smoking business, a restaurant, and 2 grocery stores. Many of the residents of Strawberry Point/Gustavus choose to live here for the laid-back lifestyle, subsistence activities, the natural resources and beauty of the area and the community.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- 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.
- Gustavus has a state-owned airport with jet capability and two asphalt runways. Alaska Airlines has daily flights in the summer. Commercial air service is partially funded by the Essential Air Service program. Small planes, corporate jets, and air taxi services also use the airport, and float planes land at nearby Bartlett Cove with limited tie-up time. Air traffic is relatively high during peak summer months, and some cruise ships include Glacier bay in their itinerary. The state ferry (Alaska Marine Highway System) provides weekly service from Juneau via the M/V Leconte. A new AMHS dock and corresponding float system provide a docking area for transient vessels only. The harbor has no facilities for overnight or long-term moorage. A 10-mile, state-maintained road connects Bartlett Cove and the community of Gustavus. In 2014 the city was working with the Department of Transportation to make plans for a replacement bridge at Rink Creek. Freight arrives via air or landing craft. Small boats and ferries regularly dock in Gustavus in the summer. Tours are available from Bartlett Cove, Gustavus, and Juneau. Because of the large number of tourists who arrive by boat or plane in the area, Gustavus is considered the gateway to Glacier Bay National Park.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection