Cordova, Alaska
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,454 people, 958 households, and 597 families residing in the city. The population density was 40.0 per square mile (15.4/km²). There are 1,099 housing units at an average density of 17.9 per square mile (6.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.11% White, 23.6% Native American, 10.07% Asian, 0.41% Black or African American, 1.34% from other races, and 6.72% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.06% of the population.

There were 958 households out of which 36.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.5% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.6% were non-families. 30.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.17.

In the city the age distribution of the population shows 28.0% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 32.8% from 25 to 44, 25.4% from 45 to 64, and 6.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 119.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 120.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $50,114, and the median income for a family was $65,625. Males had a median income of $40,444 versus $26,985 for females. The per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 for the city was $25,256. About 4.3% of families and 7.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.2% of those under the age of 18 and 6.2% of those 65 and older.


Cordova is located within the Chugach National Forest
Chugach National Forest
-External links:*****...

 at 60°32′34.1"N 145°45′36.59"W (60.542805, -145.760164).
According to the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the city has a total area of 75.6 square miles (195.8 km²), of which, 61.4 square miles (159 km²) of it is land and 14.3 square miles (37 km²) of it is water. The total area is 18.87% water.


Cordova has a very temperate climate with mild temperatures and large rainfall caused by orographic lift
Orographic lift
Orographic lift occurs when an air mass is forced from a low elevation to a higher elevation as it moves over rising terrain. As the air mass gains altitude it quickly cools down adiabatically, which can raise the relative humidity to 100% and create clouds and, under the right conditions,...

. Westerly winds coming off the north pacific ocean are forced upwards by the Chugach Mountains. This causes the air mass to cool and creates clouds and precipitation. The yearly average rainfall is 89 inches (226 cm) with 125 rainy days out of the year. Snowfall occurs mostly between December and March and an average of 127 inches (323 cm) falls yearly. Winter temperature reach lows of 15 °F (-9.5 °C) and the warmest summer temperatures are around 60 °F (15.5 °C).


Commercial fishing
Commercial fishing
Commercial fishing is the activity of catching fish and other seafood for commercial profit, mostly from wild fisheries. It provides a large quantity of food to many countries around the world, but those who practice it as an industry must often pursue fish far into the ocean under adverse conditions...

 is the main industry in Cordova. Half of all households in Cordova have at least one person involved in commercial fishing or processing. The fishing fleet mainly fishes the Prince William Sound and Copper River Delta area. There are various fisheries in the area, the most economically important of which is the salmon
Salmon is the common name for several species of fish in the family Salmonidae. Several other fish in the same family are called trout; the difference is often said to be that salmon migrate and trout are resident, but this distinction does not strictly hold true...

 fishery. All pacific salmon species except for the Cherry salmon are caught. Fishermen use either a purse seine, drift gillnet
Gillnetting is a common fishing method used by commercial and artisanal fishermen of all the oceans and in some freshwater and estuary areas. The gillnet also is used by fisheries scientists to monitor fish populations. Because gillnets can be so effective their use is closely monitored and...

, or set gillnet to catch the fish. All fisheries are regulated by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is a department within the government of Alaska. The Department of Fish and Game manages Alaska's fish, game, and aquatic plant resources.-History:...

. The fisheries in Alaska have a limited entry permit system. The first fish processing plant near Cordova opened in 1887. In 2009 there were 159 purse seine, 511 drift gilnet, and 27 set gillnet permits fished in the Prince William Sound and Copper River Delta area. Wild fish stocks are augmented by hatcheries
Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants. Aquaculture involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions, and can be contrasted with commercial fishing, which is the...

 where fish are produced and released into the ocean and return as adults to be caught by the fishermen.

Arts and culture

Various festivals and celebrations take place throughout the year in Cordova. The Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival, hosted by the Cordova Chamber of Commerce takes place each year in early May. Millions of migrating
Bird migration
Bird migration is the regular seasonal journey undertaken by many species of birds. Bird movements include those made in response to changes in food availability, habitat or weather. Sometimes, journeys are not termed "true migration" because they are irregular or in only one direction...

 shorebirds stop in the area to rest and feed before finishing their journey north. The most numerous species are the Western Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
The Western Sandpiper, Calidris or Erolia mauri, is a small shorebird.Adults have dark legs and a short thin dark bill, thinner at the tip. The body is brown on top and white underneath. They are reddish-brown on the crown. This bird can be difficult to distinguish from other similar tiny...

, Least Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
The Least Sandpiper is the smallest shorebird.This species has greenish legs and a short thin dark bill. Breeding adults are brown with dark brown streaks on top and white underneath. They have a light line above the eye and a dark crown. In winter, Least Sandpipers are grey above...

, and Dunlin
The Dunlin, Calidris alpina, is a small wader, sometimes separated with the other "stints" in Erolia. It is a circumpolar breeder in Arctic or subarctic regions. Birds that breed in northern Europe and Asia are long-distance migrants, wintering south to Africa, southeast Asia and the Middle East...

. This is a popular time for avid and casual bird watchers to visit and view the amazing spectacle. Activities, workshops, and bird watching tours are held throughout the week.

The Cordova Iceworm
Ice worm
Ice worms are species of the worm genus Mesenchytraeus that live in glacial ice. They include Mesenchytraeus solifugus, M. harrimani, M. kuril, M. maculatus and M. obscurus....

 Festival takes place each February and is an attempt to thwart the winter blues
Seasonal affective disorder
Seasonal affective disorder , also known as winter depression, winter blues, summer depression, summer blues, or seasonal depression, is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter or summer, spring or autumn...

. Activities include a parade, talent show, and various competitions such as an oyster shucking contest, ping pong tournament, and a survival suit
Survival suit
An immersion suit, or survival suit , is a special type of waterproof dry suit that protects the wearer from hypothermia from immersion in cold water, after abandoning a sinking or capsized vessel, especially in the open ocean...


The Cordova Historical Museum has exhibits on the Copper River and Northwestern Railway
Copper River and Northwestern Railway
The Copper River and Northwestern Railway was a railroad built by the Kennecott Corporation between 1907 and 1911 to take copper ore from Kennicott, Alaska to Cordova, Alaska, a distance of . The railroad was built by thousands of workers, who laid tracks around glaciers, across canyons and...

, the local fishing industry, and Alaska Natives
Alaska Natives
Alaska Natives are the indigenous peoples of Alaska. They include: Aleut, Inuit, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Eyak, and a number of Northern Athabaskan cultures.-History:In 1912 the Alaska Native Brotherhood was founded...

. They also host a jurried art show called "Fish Follies".

Ilanka Cultural Center museum features exhibits on Eyak, Alutiiq, Ahtna and Tlingit history and contemporary life- including artifacts, photographs, and oral histories. the 24 1/2 foot orca whale,Eyak is one of only five fully rearticulated orca whale skeletons in the world. The Gift gallery and online store offer a wide variety of authentic crafts and merchandise- such as handcrafted deal and sea otter fur apparel, carved red and yellow cedar items, ravenstail woven purses, and beadwork from around our region. Many local artist work are displayed at the museum. Beautiful selection of ivory,whale bone, birch bark and tufted caribou hair pieces is also available. Cordova Ikumat Alutiiq group was formed in 1995, composed of youth and adults and are open to anyone who wants to join, the group perform songs from the past as well as original pieces. Ilanka cultural center offers traditional arts and skills still practiced including skin sewing, beadwork; mask, totem, and ivory carving; "putting up" fish and deer; berry picking and jam making; an subsistence and commercial fishing.(

Cordova Center

In late 2010, clearing the site and construction of a 33929 square feet (3,152.1 m²) community center, to be named the Cordova Center, began. The Cordova Center will host a new library, museum, auditorium, conference and meeting space, plus city hall offices expected to open by the Fall of 2012 for the residents of Cordova.

Sports and recreation

Skiing is a recreational activity using skis as equipment for traveling over snow. Skis are used in conjunction with boots that connect to the ski with use of a binding....

 is a popular activity in the winter. The surrounding Chugach Mountains
Chugach Mountains
The Chugach Mountains of southern Alaska are the northernmost of the several mountain ranges that make up the Pacific Coast Ranges of the western edge of North America. The range is about 500 km long, running generally east-west. Its highest point is Mount Marcus Baker, at , but most of its...

 provide excellent back country ski slopes. The Mt. Eyak ski area operates a single chair ski lift and rope tow. It is the oldest working ski lift in North America. Points North Heli-Adventures Inc, a heliskiing
Heliskiing is off-trail, downhill skiing that is accessed by a helicopter, not a ski lift. Heliskiing is essentially about skiing in a natural—albeit highly selected—environment without the effort or gear compromise required for hiking into these areas as in ski touring or ski mountaineering.Most...

 company, also operates out of Cordova.

In the summer Kayaking
Kayaking is the use of a kayak for moving across water. Kayaking and canoeing are also known as paddling. Kayaking is distinguished from canoeing by the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle...

 in Prince William Sound
Prince William Sound
Prince William Sound is a sound off the Gulf of Alaska on the south coast of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is located on the east side of the Kenai Peninsula. Its largest port is Valdez, at the southern terminus of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System...

 is popular. The Sound has more tidewater glaciers than any other region in North America. 1900000 acres (7,689 km²) of the western Sound are designated as the Nellie Juan College Fjord Wilderness Study Area
Wilderness study area
A wilderness study area contains undeveloped United States federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, and managed to preserve its natural conditions...



The City of Cordova has a Council-Manager
Council-manager government
The council–manager government form is one of two predominant forms of municipal government in the United States; the other common form of local government is the mayor-council government form, which characteristically occurs in large cities...

 type government. The City Council
City council
A city council or town council is the legislative body that governs a city, town, municipality or local government area.-Australia & NZ:Because of the differences in legislation between the States, the exact definition of a City Council varies...

 is the legislative body and has 7 seats. The council is presided over by the Mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

. The Mayor is the ceremonial head of city government and has the power to veto any ordinance
Local ordinance
A local ordinance is a law usually found in a municipal code.-United States:In the United States, these laws are enforced locally in addition to state law and federal law.-Japan:...

. The city council appoints the City Manager
City manager
A city manager is an official appointed as the administrative manager of a city, in a council-manager form of city government. Local officials serving in this position are sometimes referred to as the chief executive officer or chief administrative officer in some municipalities...

 for an indefinite term (he may be removed at anytime by the council). The City Manager is head of the administrative branch of the city government. He executes all ordinances and laws and administers the government of the city.

The city levies a property tax as well as a 6 percent sales tax.


Mt. Eccles elementary school is the only public primary education facility in Cordova and had an enrollment of 206 students in 2008. Public secondary education is served by a single combined Junior and Senior highschool
Cordova Jr/Sr High School
Cordova Jr/Sr High School is a joint junior and senior high school located in the Prince William Sound, Cordova, Alaska. Cordova Jr/Sr High school serves grades seven through twelve.-Ethnic diversity:...

. The highschool had an enrollment of 205 students in 2008. The Cordova School District has 26 employed teachers. Post secondary education is provided by the Prince William Sound Community College
Prince William Sound Community College
Founded in 1978, Prince William Sound Community College is a community college located in Valdez, a town in south central Alaska....

, a community campus of University of Alaska Anchorage
University of Alaska Anchorage
The University of Alaska Anchorage is the largest school of the University of Alaska System, with about 16,500 students, about 14,000 of whom attend classes at Goose Lake, its main campus in Anchorage....



Alaska Newspapers, Inc.
Alaska Newspapers, Inc.
Alaska Newspapers, Inc. was, until August 2011, the publisher of six weekly Alaska newspapers, a quarterly magazine, and several special publications including a shopper, visitor's guides, and programs....

 publishes the only newspaper for the town called the Cordova Times, established in 1914. It is published weekly every Thursday at a newsstand price of $1.00. There are three radio stations in the area. KLAM
Klam is a municipality in the district Perg in Upper Austria, Austria....

 (1450 AM) began broadcasting in 1954 and generally plays classic rock, country, and news and talk shows. KCDV
KCDV is a commercial adult contemporary music radio station in Cordova, Alaska, broadcasting on 100.9 FM.-External links:*...

 (100.9 FM) started in 1997 and plays top hits, 80's, and 90's music. Both stations are owned by Bayview Communications Inc. KCHU
KCHU is a non-commercial radio station in Valdez, Alaska, United States. Through its main transmitter, two full-service FM stations, and two translators,...

, based in Valdez
Valdez, Alaska
Valdez is a city in Valdez-Cordova Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 4,020. The city is one of the most important ports in Alaska. The port of Valdez was named in 1790 after the Spanish naval officer Antonio Valdés y...

 operates a translator at 88.1 FM that serves Cordova public radio programming.

The Cordova area is often featured in Ski Films by director Warren Miller
Warren Miller (director)
Warren Miller is an American ski and snowboarding filmmaker. He is the founder of Warren Miller Entertainment and produced, directed and narrated his films until 1988. His credits include over 750 sports films, several books and hundreds of published non-fiction stories...



Despite being on the mainland, Cordova is only accessible via sea or air, largely due to the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake
Good Friday Earthquake
The 1964 Alaska earthquake, also known as the Great Alaskan Earthquake, the Portage Earthquake and the Good Friday Earthquake, was a megathrust earthquake that began at 5:36 P.M. AST on Good Friday, March 27, 1964...

 and the resulting destruction it caused to the Million Dollar Bridge
Million Dollar Bridge
The Miles Glacier Bridge, also known as the Million Dollar Bridge, was built in the early 1900s, across the Copper River fifty miles from Cordova in what is now the U.S. state of Alaska. It is a multiple-span Pennsylvania truss bridge which completed a railroad line for the Copper River and...

. The longest road is the Copper River Highway
Copper River Highway
The Copper River Highway extends from Cordova along the old railbed of the Copper River and Northwestern Railway. Construction began in 1945, and was originally intended to link Cordova with the state highway system at Chitina. The Million Dollar Bridge, which had carried trains until the CR&NW...

 which follows the old railbed of the Copper River and Northwestern Railway for 49.5 miles (79.7 km). The first 11 miles (17.7 km) north of Cordova is paved and the rest is gravel.

Cars and trucks can be transported to Cordova by ferry
A ferry is a form of transportation, usually a boat, but sometimes a ship, used to carry primarily passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo as well, across a body of water. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services...

. Regular ferry service is provided by the state owned, Alaska Marine Highway System to Valdez
Valdés is a surname of Asturian origin.Both in North and South America the spelling Valdez is very common.The exact meaning of "Valdés" is not clear...

 and Whittier
Whittier may refer to:*John Greenleaf Whittier, an American poet and abolitionist*Whittier, Alaska**Whittier Airport*Whittier, California, named for John Greenleaf Whittier**Whittier College**Whittier High School*Whittier, Iowa...

 with whistle stops (the ferry only stops if there are prior reservations) in Tatitlek and Chenega Bay. The M/V Aurora operates in Prince William Sound year round and the high-speed M/V Chenega operates the area in the summer months.

Cordova has two airports. Merle K. (Mudhole) Smith Airport is a state-owned airport located 11 miles (17.7 km) east of the town center. It has regular jet service provided by Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines is an airline based in the Seattle suburb of SeaTac, Washington in the United States. The airline originated in 1932 as McGee Airways. After many mergers with and acquisitions of other airlines, including Star Air Service, it became known as Alaska Airlines in 1944...

 as well as regular service by Era Aviation
Era Aviation
Era Alaska is an airline headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska, United States. It operates a network of services from Anchorage as part of an Alaska Airlines Partnership. Its primary hub is Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.- History :...

. Its main runway is 7500 feet (2286 m) long with and asphalt
Asphalt or , also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits, it is a substance classed as a pitch...

 surface. The Cordova Municipal Airport
Cordova Municipal Airport
Cordova Municipal Airport is a state-owned public-use airport located one nautical mile east of the central business district of Cordova, a city in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is located on Eyak Lake on which it also has a landing area for seaplanes.Cordova is...

 is 1 mile (1.8 km) from the town and is also state owned. It is located on Lake Eyak which also has a seaplane landing area. The sole runway has a length of 1800 feet (548.6 m) with a gravel surface. The municipal airport is mostly used by air taxis and personal aircraft.

Notable residents

  • Marie Smith Jones (1918–2008). Last native speaker of the Eyak language
    Eyak language
    Eyak is an extinct Na-Dené language that was historically spoken by the Eyak people, indigenous to southcentral Alaska, near the mouth of the Copper River.The closest relatives of Eyak are the Athabaskan languages...

     and last full blood Eyak
    The Eyak are an indigenous group traditionally located on the Copper River Delta and near the town of Cordova, Alaska.-Territory:The Eyak's territory reached from present day Cordova east to the Martin River and north to Miles Glacier....


External links

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