in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 Department of Labor Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (chick' uh loon)
- Community's Judicial District
- Recording District
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
Geography and Climate
- The unincorporated community of Chickaloon is located within the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, northeast of the community of Sutton. Its western boundary is in the vicinity of the Kings River (mile 66.4 on the Glenn Highway), and its eastern boundary is in the vicinity of Purinton Creek. The Talkeetna Mountains lie to the northwest, and the Chugach Mountains and Matanuska River lie to the southeast. The Chickaloon River and the Kings River are the two major tributaries to the Matanuska River. There are several lakes within the area: Fish Lake, Drill Lake, Bonnie Lake, Harrison Lake, and Long Lake.
- Chickaloon is located within a transitional zone between coastal and interior climates. The temperatures in winter ranges from -30 to 39 °F. In summer, temperatures range from 40 to 85 °F. The average annual liquid equivalent precipitation is 14 inches. The average annual snowfall is 69 inches.
- Community Map Available
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- Traditionally, Chickaloon territory was a center of trade for copper, sheep, and goats from the north and salmon, beluga, and fur seals from the south. The Ahtna, and formerly the Dena'ina, Athabascans of Chickaloon traveled extensively within the Copper River and Cook Inlet areas. The Chickaloon River was named after Chief Chiklu, the last Denai'ina chief in this area. What is now the community of Chickaloon was once a primary fishing camp of Chickaloon Village. Nay'dini'aa Na' is the Ahtna name for the original settlement of Chickaloon Village on the north bank above the mouth of the Chickaloon River. An 1898 army exploration party located a vein of high-quality coal near the Chickaloon River. The deposits were hard to reach, and there was little interest in them until a railroad was built to Interior Alaska. During the winter of 1913-1914, an Alaskan freighter named Jack Dalton used the frozen Matanuska River to haul the first test coal from the Chickaloon coal deposits. When construction of the Alaska Railroad was approved in 1914, the plan included a spur line to the Chickaloon coal field. From 1915 to 1922, the U.S. Navy sponsored a coal mining boom in Chickaloon drainage, which had a negative impact on Chickaloon Village, especially with respect to their once-valued fishing camp. At the same time, it provided an opportunity for jobs and the development of Chickaloon. Coal mining also took place in the area around Sutton, at the Wishbone Hill Naval Coal Reserve, Coal Creek, and Carbon Creek. Like so many other Alaska mining towns, Chickaloon grew quickly and almost as quickly declined. By 1925, the navy had halted coal development in Chickaloon, and the land reverted to public domain and was opened to homesteaders by 1958. Today, local businesses provide employment for community residents and serve the needs of residents and visitors alike. Today, local businesses provide employment for community residents and serve the needs of residents and visitors alike. Many Chickaloon Village Tribal members remain in Chickaloon, and others live in Sutton and surrounding communities.
- The tribally-owned and -operated Ya Ne Dah Ah ('Ancient Teachings') School, located in Moose Creek, serves tribal members living in Chickaloon and surrounding communities. Fishing, hunting, gathering, and trading are important activities for both Athabascan and non-Native residents.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Chickaloon Native Village
Facilities, Utilities, and Health Care
- Chickaloon is accessible by the statewide highway system and a local road network. Goods are most often brought in from the Palmer/Wasilla area or Anchorage. There is a scheduled freight service, as well as a scheduled passenger service providing flag stop bus service on a route between Anchorage and Valdez. There is also a privately-owned runway.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection
- Community's Senate District
- Community's House District