Kobuk is located on the right bank of the Kobuk River, about 7 miles northeast of Shungnak and 128 air miles northeast of Kotzebue. It is the smallest village in the Northwest Arctic Borough. Kobuk is located in the Kotzebue Recording District. Kobuk is located in the transitional climate zone. Temperatures average -10 to 15 during winter; 40 to 65 during summer. Temperature extremes have been recorded from -68 to 90. Snowfall averages 56 inches, with 17 inches of total precipitation per year. The Kobuk River is navigable from the end of May through October.
Kobuk was founded in 1899 as a supply point for mining activities in the Cosmos Hills to the north, and was then called Shungnak. A trading post, school, and Friends Mission drew area residents to the settlement. Due to river erosion and flooding, the village was relocated in the 1920s to a new site 10 miles downstream, which was called “Kochuk,” now Shungnak. The few who remained at the village renamed it Kobuk. Ice jams on the River cause high water each year. In May 1973, a flood covered the entire village. In October 1973, the City was incorporated.
It is an Inupiat village practicing a traditional subsistence lifestyle. The sale or importation of alcohol is banned in the village. High School students attend school in Shungnak.
The economy of Kobuk is based on subsistence. Whitefish, caribou and moose provide the majority of meat sources. Cash employment is limited to the school, City and Maniilaq clinic. Seasonal construction and BLM fire fighting provide some income.
A piped water and sewer system provides services to the community. A 30-foot well provides water, which is treated and stored by the washeteria. The washeteria has its own septic tank. Waste is disposed of at Dall Creek. A landfill is also available. Kobuk Valley Electric Co-op purchases power from AVEC over the Kobuk-Shungnak intertie.
Borough Assembly Member
Miles Cleveland, Sr.
P.O. Box 105 Ambler, AK 99786