Gakona, Alaska

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Gakona (pronounced /ɡəˈkoʊnə/) is a census-designated place (CDP) in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2000 census, the population of the CDP was 215.


Geography and climate

Gakona is located at 62°18′17″N 145°16′24″W / 62.30472°N 145.27333°W / 62.30472; -145.27333 (62.301940, -145.30194)[1] (Sec. 18, T006N, R001E, Copper River Meridian). Gakona is located in the Chitina Recording District. Gakona is located in the center of Copper Valley, surrounded by mountains and the famous Copper River.

Gakona is at the confluence of the Copper and Gakona Rivers, 15 miles northeast of Glennallen. It lies at mile 2 on the Tok Cut-Off to the Glenn Highway, just east of the Richardson Highway. Gakona is located in the continental climate zone, with long, cold winters and relatively warm summers. Temperature extremes have been recorded from -62 to 91. Snowfall averages 61 inches, with total precipitation of 13 inches per year.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 61.3 square miles (158.9 km²), all of it land.

History and culture

Ahtna Athabascans have lived in the Copper River basin for 5,000 to 7,000 years. Gakona served as a wood and fish camp, and later became a permanent village. A federally recognised tribe, the Native Village of Gakona, is located in the community.

In 1904 Doyle's Roadhouse was constructed at the junction of the Valdez-Eagle and Valdez-Fairbanks Trails, and became an essential stopping point for travelers. There was also a post office, stagecoach station and blacksmith shop here. Some buildings are still standing. Gakona Lodge was built in 1929 and is on the National Register of Historical Places. The lodge contains 10 rooms in the lodge, 4 cabins, and restaurant and tavern. It is presently a popular destination for sports fishing particularly King and Sockeye Salmon. [1]

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