Alaska Boroughs
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Alaska Boroughs

Alaska is divided into nineteen organized boroughs and one "Unorganized Borough." The Borough Act of 1961 created "The Unorganized Borough" including all of Alaska not within a Unified, Home rule, First class or Second class Borough. The newest borough is Petersburg incorporated after voters approved borough formation in December 2012. Alaska and Louisiana are the only states that do not call their first-order administrative subdivisions counties (Louisiana uses parishes instead)

City and Borough of Yakutat, Alaska

Yakutat Borough Education, Geography, and HistoryThe City and Borough of Yakutat is on the northern coast of the Gulf of Alaska

The City and Borough of Yakutat is a borough in the state of Alaska. Formed incorporated as a non-unified Home Rule Borough on September 22, 1992, Yakutat was previously a city in the Skagway-Yakutat-Angoon Census Area (afterwards renamed the Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon Census Area). The borough seat of Yakutat is the city Yakutat. The US Census Bureau has defined the City of Yakutat as a census-designated place within the borough, population 662. The name is Tlingit, Yaakwdáat ("the place where canoes rest") but it originally derives from an Eyak name diyaʼqudaʼt and was influenced by the Tlingit word yaakw ("canoe, boat").

The borough covers an area about six times the size of the state of Rhode Island, making in one of the largest ?#8364;œcounties?#8364;? in the United States. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 662.


Etymology - Origin of City and Borough of Yakutat Name

The name is Tlingit, Yaakwdáat, meaning "the place where canoes rest", but it may originally derive from an Eyak name which has been lost.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

History of Yakutat Borough History, Alaska

The original settlers in the Yakutat area are believed to have been Eyak-speaking people from the Copper River area. Tlingits moved into the area and assimilated the Eyaks before the arrival of Europeans in Alaska. Yakutat was only one of a number of Tlingit and mixed Tlingit-Eyak settlements in the region, although all the others have been depopulated or abandoned. Yakutat has a diverse cultural history. The original settlers are believed to have been Eyak-speaking people from the Copper River area who were conquered by the Tlingits. Yakutat means "the place where the canoes rest."

In the 1700s and 1800s, English, French, Spanish and Russian explorers came to the area. The Russian-American Company built a fort in Yakutat in 1805 to aid in trade of sea otter pelts. When the Russians cut off access to the fisheries nearby, a Tlingit war party attacked and ruined the fort.

By 1886, after the Alaska Purchase by the United States, the black sand beaches in the area were being mined for gold. In 1889 the Swedish Free Mission Church opened a school and sawmill in the area. A cannery, another sawmill, a store and a railroad were built in the beginning of 1903 by the Stimson Lumber Company. Many people moved to the current site of Yakutat to be closer to the Stimpson cannery, which operated through 1970. Fishing is currently the largest profitable activity in Yakutat

Yakutat is isolated among the lowlands along the Gulf of Alaska, 225 miles northwest of Juneau and 220 miles southeast of Cordova. It is at the mouth of Yakutat Bay, one of the few refuges for vessels along this stretch of coast. The Hubbard and Malaspina Glaciers are nearby. The area encompasses 7,651 square miles of land.

A federally recognized tribe is located in the community - the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe; Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. The population of the community consists of 46.8% Alaska Native or part Native. The area maintains a traditional Tlingit culture with influences from the original Eyak Athabascans, as well as Russian, English and American traders and miners.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 9,463 square miles (24,510 km2), of which 7,649 square miles (19,810 km2) is land and 1,813 square miles (4,700 km2) is water. The 2010 census also defines a smaller census-designated place named Yakutat which hasa total area of 104.1 square miles (269.6 km2), of which 100.5 square miles (260.3 km2) is land and 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2) is water.

Yakutat's population center is located at 59032?#8364;?49?#8364;?N 139043?#8364;?38?#8364;?W, at the mouth of Yakutat Bay. It lies in an isolated location in lowlands along the Gulf of Alaska, 212 mi (341 km)) northwest of Juneau.

Yakutat borders the Gulf of Alaska to the west, Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Alaska to the northwest, Hoonah-Angoon Census Area, Alaska to the southeast, Stikine Region, British Columbia to the northeast-east and Yukon Territory to the north.

The borough contains part of the protected areas of Chugach National Forest, Glacier Bay National Park, Glacier Bay Wilderness, Tongass National Forest, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Wrangell-Saint Elias Wilderness and the Russell Fjord Wilderness.

One unique feature in the Borough is Hubbard Glacier, North America's largest tide-water glacier. In 1986 and 2002, the glacier blocked the entrance to Russell Fiord. The resulting Russell Lake rose 83 and 61 feet, until the glacial dam failed. If Russell Lake rises to 135 feet, the water will spill over a pass and flow into the Situk River. This will have a major impact on a world class fishery. Yakutat will not be impacted unless the glacier advances to the townsite, which could take a thousand years. The vegetation in the area indicates that water was flowing over the pass until about 1860.

Neighboring Boroughs

Bordering boroughs are as follows:

  • Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Alaska - northwest
  • Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon Census Area, Alaska - southeast

Also shares eastern border with British Columbia (Stikine Region) and the Yukon Territory.


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