Noatak is located on the west bank of the 396-mile long Noatak River, a few miles west of the 66-million acre Noatak National Preserve. Noatak is 55 air miles north of Kotzebue and 70 miles north of the Arctic Circle.
The Noatak economy is based on traditional subsistence activities. Important food sources include moose, caribou, salmon, ptarmigan, rabbit and waterfowl. Full-time employers include the tribe, Maniilaq Association and a handful of retail stores. Around 25 residents work full or part-time at Red Dog Mine. Seven residents have commercial fishing permits.
There are 122 residential structures in Noatak, including ten small apartment buildings. One hundred and six of the structures are occupied. The rest are dilapidated log cabins. The median home value in Noatak is $106,300. The median rent is $779. The average family household size is 4.51 persons.
Depending on the season, residents travel overland to other villages and for subsistence activities using ATVs, motorcycles, snowmachines and dogsleds on a wide array of historic and more blazed trails paralleling the Noatak River.
The Alaska Village Electric Co-Op provides electricity to Noatak via diesel generation with a peak operating capacity of 982 kilowatts. Electricity rates in Noatak are by far the most expensive in Northwest Alaska, due to diesel fuel shipping rates. Monthly residential rates factoring in the Power Cost Equalization (PCE) subsidy are $0.2317 per kilowatt-hour for the first 1-500 kWh, $0.8743 per kilowatt-hour for 501-700 kWh per month and $0.7743 per kilowatt-hour for every kWh per month over 700. Small commercial rates are $0.8743 per kilowatt - hour for the first 1-700 kWh per month and $0.7743 per kilowatt-hour for every kWh thereafter.
Aerial View of Noatak, Alaska
1. Road to portside for barge service access for freight and fuel – cut down costs.
2. Improve and acquire new heavy equipment to support the construction of transportation projects and ongoing road maintenance/safety.
3. Construct a new school to accommodate student growth with safety.
4. Local Elder care services so they do not have to leave home.
5. Construct a multi-purpose facility by converting the old school building.
6. New home construction and ownership.
7. Build a new centrally located bulk fuel tank farm for improving safety, avoiding drainage into the river and providing savings in operational costs.
8. Build a new airport runway – relocate the airport due to erosion and add capacity for larger freight planes.
9. IRA develop a local police and public safety positions with VPSO and VPO cooperation and funding.
10. More Native teachers in the Noatak school to provide quality education.