2nd Class City
in the Nome Census Area
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (wailz); a.k.a. Kingigin
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Election, Recording, and Judicial Districts
- Senate District
- House District
- Judicial District
- Recording District
- Cape Nome
Facilities and Amenities
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Watering Point, Honey Bucket Hauling, Washeteria, Volunteer Fire, Roads, Clinic
Geography and Climate
- Wales is located on Cape Prince of Wales, at the western tip of the Seward Peninsula, 111 miles northwest of Nome.
- It has a maritime climate when the Bering Strait is ice-free, usually June to November. After the freeze, there is an abrupt change to a cold continental climate. Average summer temperatures range from 40 to 50 °F; winter temperatures range from -10 to 6 °F. Annual precipitation averages 10 inches, with 35 inches of snow. Frequent fog, wind, and blizzards limit access to Wales.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- A burial mound of the "Birnirk" culture (500 A.D. to 900 A.D.) was discovered near Wales and is now a national landmark. In 1827 the Russian Navy reported the Eskimo villages of "Eidamoo" near the coast and "King-a-ghe" further inland. In 1890 the American Missionary Association established a mission here, and in 1894 a reindeer station was organized. A post office was established in 1902. Wales became a major whaling center due to its location along migratory routes, and it was the region's largest and most prosperous village, with more than 500 residents. The influenza epidemic in 1918-19 claimed the lives of many of Wales' finest whalers. The city government was incorporated in 1964.
- Wales has a strong traditional Kinugmiut Eskimo whaling culture. Ancient songs, dances, and customs are still practiced. In the summer, Little Diomede residents travel between the two villages in large traditional skin boats.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Native Village of Wales
- Local Option Restrictions
- Ban sale and importation of alcohol.
- 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.
- Wales has a state-owned gravel airstrip with scheduled air service and charter flights. Household goods are flown into the village. There is a 6.5-mile road to Tin City. Heavy freight and cargo is delivered to Tin City by barge and hauled by truck to Wales. Snow machines are used in winter. A winter trail connects Wales to the communities of Brevig Mission, located 50 miles away, and Shishmaref, located 70 miles away. Aluminum boats are used for sea travel. On land, snowmobiles and ATVs provide year-round access to subsistence areas. In previous years, fall storms have caused some flooding and damage due to high winds. The beach is used as a road by the 4-wheelers to go from one end of town to another and also to go up the coast to the first inlet.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection