Ambler, Alaska

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Ambler is a city in Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska, United States. At the 2000 census the population was 309. The city is located in the large Inupiaq language speaking region of Alaska, and the local dialect is known as the Ambler dialect (related to the Shugnak dialect). As of 1999, over 91% of the community speaks and understands the language (Kraus, 1999), with many young children actively learning the language in school.



Ambler is located at 67°05′06″N 157°51′37″W / 67.085000°N 157.860331°W / 67.085000; -157.860331,[2] on the north bank of the Kobuk River, near the confluence of the Ambler and the Kobuk Rivers. It lies 45 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It is 138 miles northeast of Kotzebue, 30 miles northwest of northwest of Kobuk and 30 miles downriver from Shungnak. Ambler is located in the Kotzebue Recording District.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.8 mi² (27.8 km²). 9.5 mi² (24.5 km²) of it is land and 1.3 mi² (3.3 km²) of it (11.91%) is water.


Ambler is located in the continental climate zone. Temperatures average -10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit during winter and 40 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer. Temperature extremes have been recorded from -65 to 92 degrees Fahrenheit. Snowfall averages 80 inches and precipitation is 16 inches total per year. The Kobuk River is navigable from early July to mid-October.


The community was named for a tributary of the Kobuk River, which was named for Dr.James M. Ambler, who died of starvation after his ship was trapped in the Arctic ice in 1881. Ambler was permanently settled in 1958 when people from Shungnak and Kobuk moved downstream because of the variety of fish, wild game and spruce trees in the area. An archaeological site is located nearby at Onion Portage. A post office was established in 1963. The City was incorporated in 1971.


Ambler's major means of transportation are by barge, plane, small boat and snowmachine. There are no roads linking the City to other parts of the state. A State-owned 3,000' long by 60' wide lighted gravel airstrip, with a 2,400' long by 60' wide gravel crosswind airstrip, is located one and a half miles from the City. Bering Air, Hageland Aviation, Tanana Air Service and Warbelow's Air Ventures offer passenger flight service. In addition, daily scheduled services are provided out of Kotzebue, and air taxis provide charter flights. The airstrip has recently undergone major improvements. Crowley Marine Services barges fuel and supplies to Ambler each summer. Boats are used for inter-village travel and subsistence activities. ATVs and snowmachines are commonly used in winter.

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