2nd Class City
in the Nome Census Area
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (shish' muh reff)
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Election, Recording, and Judicial Districts
- Senate District
- House District
- Judicial District
- Recording District
- Cape Nome
Facilities and Amenities
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Water and Sewer Flush/Haul, Watering Point, School Water, Honeybucket Hauling, Washeteria, Electric (AVEC), Refuse Collection, Landfill, Police, Volunteer Fire, Fire Hall, Health Clinic, City Hall, Friendship Center, Roads, Bingo/Pull Tabs
Geography and Climate
- Shishmaref is located on Sarichef Island, in the Chukchi Sea, just north of the Bering Strait. Shishmaref is 5 miles from the mainland, 126 miles north of Nome, and 100 miles southwest of Kotzebue. The village is surrounded by the 2.6 million-acre Bering Land Bridge National Reserve. It is part of the Beringian National Heritage Park, endorsed by Presidents Bush and Gorbachev in 1990.
- The area experiences a transitional climate between the frozen Arctic and the continental Interior. Summers can be foggy, with average temperatures ranging from 47 to 54 °F; winter temperatures average -12 to 2 °F. Average annual precipitation is about 8 inches, with 33 inches of snow. The Chukchi Sea is frozen from mid-November through mid-June.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- The original Inuit name for the island of Shishmaref was "Kigiktaq." In 1816, Lt. Otto Von Kotzebue named the inlet "Shishmarev," after a member of his crew. Excavations at "Keekiktuk" by archaeologists around 1821 provided evidence of Inuit habitation from several centuries ago. Shishmaref has an excellent harbor, and around 1900 it became a supply center for gold mining activities to the south. The village was named after the inlet, and a post office was established in 1901. The city government was incorporated in 1969. During October 1997, a severe storm eroded over 30 feet of the north shore, requiring 14 homes and the National Guard Armory to be relocated. Five additional homes were relocated in 2002. Other storms have continued to erode the shoreline an average of three to five feet per year on the north shore. In July 2002 residents voted to relocate the community.
- Shishmaref is a traditional Inupiat village with a fishing and subsistence lifestyle.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Native Village of Shishmaref
- 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.
- Shishmaref's primary link to the rest of Alaska is by air. A state-owned paved runway is available for charter and freight services from Nome. Most people use boats for trips to the mainland.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection