2nd Class City
in the Aleutians West Census Area
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Community's Judicial District
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Geography and Climate
- St. Paul is located on a narrow peninsula on the southern tip of St. Paul Island, the largest of the four islands in the Pribilofs. It lies 47 miles north of St. George Island, 240 miles north of the Aleutian Islands, 300 miles west of the Alaska mainland, and 750 air miles west of Anchorage.
- The climate of St. Paul is arctic maritime. The Bering Sea location results in cool weather year-round and a narrow range of mean temperatures, varying from 19 to 51 °F. Average annual precipitation is 25 inches, with snowfall of 56 inches. Heavy fog is common during summer months.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- Historically, the Aleuts traveled to the Pribilofs seasonally for hunting. Following traditional Aleut stories, Russian fur traders landed first on St. George Island in 1786 and named the larger island to the north St. Peter and St. Paul Island. In 1788, the Russian American Company enslaved and relocated Aleuts from Siberia, Atka, and Unalaska to the Pribilofs to hunt fur seals; their descendants live on the two islands today. In 1870, the US government awarded the Alaska Commercial Company a 20-year sealing lease, and they provided housing, food, and medical care to the Aleuts in exchange for seal harvesting. In 1890, a second 20-year lease was awarded to the North American Commercial Company; however, fur seals had been severely over-harvested, and poverty ensued. The 1910 Fur Seal Act ended private leasing on the islands and placed the community and fur seals under the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries. Food and clothing were scarce, social and racial segregation was practiced, and working conditions were poor. During World War II, the Pribilof Aleuts were moved to Funter Bay on Admiralty Island in Southeast Alaska as part of the emergency evacuation of residents from the Bering Sea. Unlike other Aleutian residents, they were confined in an abandoned cannery and mine camp at Funter Bay. In 1979, the Aleut Islanders received $8.5 million in partial compensation for the unfair and unjust treatment the federal administration subjected them to from 1870 to 1946. In 1983, Congress passed the Fur Seal Act Amendments, which ended government control of the commercial seal harvest and the federal presence on the island. Responsibility for providing community services and management of the fur seals was left to local entities. To help develop and diversity the local economy, $12 million was provided to St. Paul from the federal government. Commercial harvesting on St. Paul ceased in 1985. Ownership of fur seal pelts is now prohibited except for subsistence purposes.
- St. Paul's population is predominantly Aleut. Although subsistence has not historically been the focus of the local culture, today, halibut and seal are shared and exchanged with relatives living in other communities for salted or smoked salmon. The Russian Orthodox Church plays a strong role in community cohesiveness.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Saint Paul Island
- Local Option Restrictions
- Sale by specific type of license only.
Facilities, Utilities, and Health Care
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Piped Water, Piped Sewar, Electric, Refuse Collection, Landfill, Harbor/Dock, Police, Volunteer Fire,/Resuce/Ambulance, Home Heating & Marine Fuel Sales, Roads
- St. Paul is accessible by sea and air. The state-owned asphalt runway and regularly-scheduled flights are provided. Most groceries, perishable and frozen items arrive by air, via the by-pass mail system, which is more cost effective than shipment by sea. Cargo vessels sail from Seattle approximately six times a year, carrying more dry/frozen groceries and large items such as furniture, autos, construction materials, and residents' personal orders. There is a 1200' breakwater, providing shelter for 600' of dock space and a barge off-loading area. In 2011, a small boat harbor and ramp was constructed for the local halibut fishing fleet. An additional 50' of dock and a vessel repair facility is planned for construction start in the summer of 2014.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection
- Community's Senate District
- Community's House District
- Incorporation Type
- 2nd Class City
- Public Education
- Not permitted to provide this service.
- 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).
- Ability to Attain Home-Rule Status
- May not adopt home-rule charter without first reclassifying to a first-class city.