Location and Climate
Upper Kalskag (Kalskag) is located on the north bank of the Kuskokwim River, 2 miles upriver from Lower Kalskag. It lies 30 miles west of Aniak, 99 miles northeast of Bethel and 348 miles west of Anchorage. The community lies at approximately 61.537660 degrees North Latitude and -160.307210 degrees West Longitude. (Sec. 27, T017N, R061W, Seward Meridian.) Upper Kalskag is located in the Kuskokwim Recording District. The area encompasses 3.8 square miles of land and 0.4 square miles of water. The climate in Upper Kalskag is semi-arctic with influences from the Bering Sea. Snowfall averages 60 inches, with total precipitation of 19 inches per year. Temperatures range from -55 to 87. The Kuskokwim is ice-free from mid-June through October.
History, Culture and Demographics
In 1898, Nicholas Kameroff, Sr. and Olinga (Avakumoff) Kameroff and their eight children first settled the community. The village was a fish camp known as “Kessiglik.” Around 1900, residents of “Kalthagamute” began to move to the village. In 1930, the Bureau of Indian Affairs established a government school, and by 1932, residents of neighboring communities relocated to Kalskag. In 1940, Paul Kameroff, Sr. established a general store, post office, coffee shop and a barging company. At this time, the community owned and worked a herd of 2,100 reindeer. During the 1930s, Russian Orthodox practitioners in the village relocated to establish Lower Kalskag, three miles to the southwest. The villagers who remained were primarily Roman Catholic practitioners. The city was incorporated in 1975. A federally recognized tribe is located in the community — the Village of Kalskag. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the community consists of 210 people, with 81.43 percent of the population Alaska Native, or part Native. Upper Kalskag is a Yup’ik Eskimo village which was strongly influenced by the Roman Catholic Church. Today, subsistence activities are an important component of residents’ way of life. The sale or importation of alcohol is banned in the village. During the 2000 U.S. Census, total housing units numbered 66, and vacant housing units numbered 4. Vacant housing units used only seasonally numbered 3. U.S. Census data for Year 2000 showed 80 residents as employed. The unemployment rate at that time was 12.09 percent, although 45.58 percent of all adults were not in the work force. The median household income was $28,333, per capita income was $7,859, and 24.21 percent of residents were living below the poverty level.
Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care
As of November 1997, nearly all homes, the school and the store have individual wells with potable water and indoor plumbing. A new piped gravity sewage system with lift stations, force main and lagoon now serves over 60 households and facilities. The high school has requested funds for a new septic tank and leach field, or connection to the community sewer system. The piped sewage system needs to be expanded 2.5 miles to the airport, store and 8 additional homes. The landfill is not permitted. Electricity is provided by AVEC (Lower Kalskag). There is one school located in the community, attended by 11 students. Local hospitals or health clinics include Catherine Alexie Health Clinic (907-471-2276) and Clara Morgan Sub-Regional Clinic (907-675-4556) in Aniak. Upper Kalsag is classified as an isolated village, it is found in EMS Region 7A in the Yukon Kuskokwim Region.
Current Population: 235 (2008 DOLWD Estimated Population)
Incorporation Type: 2nd Class City
Borough Located In: Unorganized
Village of Kalskag
P.O. Box 50
Upper Kalskag, AK 99607