2nd Class City
in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (muh grath')
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Election, Recording, and Judicial Districts
- Senate District
- House District
- Judicial District
- Recording District
- Mt. McKinley
Facilities and Amenities
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Piped Water, Piped Sewar, Washeteria, Public Showers and Rest Facility, Landfill, Volunteer Fire, Roads, Log Haul-Out, Boat Launch, Captain Snow Center, UAF Interior Aleutians/Mcgrath Center, State Funded Public Safety Officer(VPSO), Fish and Wildlife Protection Officer (State Troopers), Anderson Park, Volunteer Ambulance, Search and Rescue
Geography and Climate
- McGrath is located 221 miles northwest of Anchorage and 269 miles southwest of Fairbanks in Interior Alaska. It is adjacent to the Kuskokwim River, directly south of its confluence with the Takotna River.
- The McGrath area has a cold, continental climate. Average summer temperatures range from 62 to 80 °F, and winters temperatures can range from -64 to 0 °F. Annual precipitation is light, averaging 10 inches per year, with an average snowfall of 86 inches. The Kuskokwim River is generally ice-free from June through October.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- McGrath was a seasonal Upper Kuskokwim Athabascan village that was used as a meeting and trading place for Big River, Nikolai, Telida, and Lake Minchumina residents. The Old Town McGrath site was originally located across the river. In 1904, Abraham Appel established a trading post at the old site. In 1906, gold was discovered in the Innoko District and at Ganes Creek in 1907. Since McGrath is the northernmost point on the Kuskokwim River accessible by large riverboats, it became a regional supply center. By 1907, a town was established and named for Peter McGrath. In 1909, the Alaska Commercial Company opened a store. The Iditarod Trail also contributed to McGrath's role as a supply center. From 1911 to 1920, hundreds of people walked and mushed over the trail on their way to the Ophir gold districts. Mining sharply declined after 1925. After a major flood in 1933, some residents decided to move to the south bank of the river. Changes in the course of the river eventually left the old site on a slough, useless as a river stop. In 1937, the Alaska Commercial Company opened a store at the current location. In 1940, an airstrip was cleared, the FAA built a communications complex, and a school was opened. McGrath became an important refueling stop during World War II as part of the Lend-Lease Program between the U.S. and Russia. In 1964, a new high school was built, attracting boarding students from nearby villages. The city was incorporated in 1975. The federally recognized Tribe in McGrath was established in 1993.
- Slightly more than half of the population are Athabascans and Eskimos. As a regional center, McGrath offers a variety of employment opportunities, but subsistence remains an important part of the local culture.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- McGrath Native Village
- Incorporation Type
- 2nd Class City
- Public Education
- Not permitted to provide this service.
- Planning, Platting and Land Use Regulation
- Not required to exercise the powers in any circumstance, but may be permitted in all cases in the manner described for first class cities.
- Property Tax Powers
- May tax up to 20 mills, except where a higher levy is required to avoid default. Voter approval required.
- Sales Tax Powers
- No limit on the rate of levy of sales taxes; however, voter approval is required.
- Other Powers Not Prohibited
- May exercise other powers not prohibited by law.
- City Council or Assembly Composition and Apportionment
- 7 members elected at-large, except the council may provide for election other than at-large.
- Election and Term of Mayor
- Elected from the city council for a 1-year term, unless a longer term is provided by ordinance. Mayor selected by council (or by voters upon adoption of ordinance).
- Vote by Mayor
- Votes on all matters.
- Veto Power of the Mayor
- Does not have veto power.
- Power of Eminent Domain
- Permitted, but requires voter approval.
- Ability to Attain Home-Rule Status
- May not adopt home-rule charter without first reclassifying to a first-class city.
- McGrath is not connected to Alaska's road system, but local roads are used by ATVs and trucks. Winter trails are marked to Nikolai (50 mi) and Takotna (20 mi). Residents rely on air service and barges to deliver cargo. Air facilities include a state-owned asphalt runway with a crosswind landing strip. The Kuskokwim River is the seaplane base. A boat launch ramp site is available. The river is used for travel when it's frozen during the winter months.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection