|— City —|
|• Mayor||Jason Mayrand|
|• Total||6.1 sq mi (15.8 km2)|
|• Land||6.0 sq mi (15.6 km2)|
|• Water||0.1 sq mi (0.1 km2)|
|Elevation||351 ft (107 m)|
|• Density||66.6/sq mi (25.7/km2)|
|Time zone||Alaska (AKST) (UTC-9)|
|• Summer (DST)||AKDT (UTC-8)|
Nenana (pron.: //) (Toghotili in Lower Tanana Athabascan) is a Home Rule City in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area of the Unorganized Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska. Nenana lies at the juncture of the Nenana River and the Tanana River. The population was 378 at the 2010 census. "Nenana" means 'a good place to camp between two rivers.'
History and culture 
Nenana is in the westernmost portion of Tanana Athabascan Indian territory. It was first known as Tortella, an interpretation of the Indian word "Toghotthele" (TOG-uh-TEE-lee), which means "mountain that parallels the river." Early explorers such as Allen, Harper and Bates first entered the Tanana Valley in 1875 and 1885. However, the Tanana people were accustomed to contact with Europeans, due to trading journeys to the Village of Tanana, where Russians bartered Western goods for furs.
The discovery of gold in Fairbanks in 1902 brought intense activity to the region. A trading post/roadhouse was constructed by Jim Duke in 1903 to supply river travelers and trade with Indians. St. Mark's Episcopal mission and school was built a short distance upriver in 1905. Native children from other communities, such as Minto, attended school in Nenana. A post office opened in 1908. In 1915, construction of the Alaska Railroad doubled Nenana's population. The community incorporated as a city in 1921.
The Railroad Depot was completed in 1923, when President Warren Harding drove the golden spike at the north end of the 700-foot-long (210 m) Mears Memorial Bridge over the Tanana River. Nenana now had a transportation link to Fairbanks and Seward. According to local records, 5,000 residents lived in Nenana during this time. However, completion of the railroad was followed by an economic slump. The population in 1930 was recorded at 291.
In 1961, Clear Air Force Station was constructed 21 miles southwest, and many civilian contractors commuted from Nenana. A road was constructed south to Clear, but northbound vehicles were ferried across the Tanana River. In 1967 the community was devastated by one of the largest floods ever recorded in the valley. In 1968 a $6 million bridge was completed across the Tanana River, which gave the town a road link to Fairbanks and replaced the river ferry. The George Parks Highway was completed in 1971, and provided a shorter, direct route to Anchorage.
Residents of Nenana sponsor the Nenana Ice Classic, where entrants buy a ticket and pick the date and time to the closest minute in April or May when the winter ice on the Tanana River breaks. This lottery began in 1917 when a group of surveyors working for the Alaska Railroad whiled the time they spent waiting for the river to open and boats with supplies to reach them by forming a betting pool. Each year a large striped tripod is placed on the frozen river. The winner is whoever comes closest to guessing when the ice beneath it will weaken to the point where it falls through to the water beneath. Interest in the pool continued and spread through Alaska. This lottery has paid out nearly $10 million in prize money, with the winning pool in recent years being near $300,000.
The federally-recognized tribe in the community is the Nenana Native Association.
Nenana was the starting point for the 1925 serum run to Nome, where diphtheria antitoxin was transported by rail from Anchorage, and continued by dog sled to Nome.
In the summer of 2008, Nenana suffered heavy damage due to flooding. The Tanana reached its second highest level since record keeping began.
Geography and climate 
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.1 square miles (16 km2), of which, 6.0 square miles (16 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.99%) is water.
Nenana is located 55 road miles southwest of Fairbanks on the George Parks Highway and 304 road miles northeast of Anchorage. It is at mile 412 of the Alaska Railroad, on the south bank of the Tanana River where it meets the Nenana River. Nenana has a continental climate with an extreme temperature range. The average daily maximum during summer months is 65 to 70; the daily minimum during winter is well below zero. The highest temperature ever recorded is 98; the lowest is -69. Average precipitation is 11.4 inches, with 48.9 inches of snowfall annually. The river is ice-free from early May to late October.
As of the census of 2000, there were 402 people, 171 households, and 87 families residing in the city. The population density was 66.6 people per square mile (25.7/km²). There were 210 housing units at an average density of 34.8 per square mile (13.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 50.75% White, 0.25% Black or African American, 41.04% Native American, 0.50% Asian, and 7.46% from two or more races. 2.49% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 171 households out of which 24.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.0% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 49.1% were non-families. 42.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.30.
In the city the age distribution of the population shows 27.6% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 22.6% from 25 to 44, 28.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 112.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 118.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $33,333, and the median income for a family was $40,938. Males had a median income of $46,125 versus $26,094 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,334. About 13.4% of families and 17.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.9% of those under age 18 and 19.4% of those age 65 or over.
Public services 
Water is drawn from wells, then treated and distributed via circulating loops. A piped gravity system collects sewage, which is treated at a secondary treatment plant. Most of the City is connected to the piped water and sewer system: 215 homes and the school are served. The remaining homes have individual wells and septic systems.
Refuse is collected by a private firm and hauled to the new Denali Borough regional landfill, located south of Anderson. Electricity is provided by Golden Valley Electric Association. A school provides education for grades kindergarten through 12 (200 students). The Nenana Student Living Center, one of three statewide boarding schools for high school students, has students from around the state attending the local school. The school attracts students and families due to its extensive arts (music, artistic and performing programs), academic quality and vocational studies.
The City has a library with a full-time librarian, internet access and full library services including interlibrary loan services. Health clinic services are provided by the Nenana Native Clinic. A regional hospital is located in nearby Fairbanks. Specialized services include the Railbelt Mental Health & Addiction Services. Emergency Services have highway, river and airport access. 911 emergency service is available in Nenana; auxiliary health care is provided by Nenana Volunteer Fire/EMS or Fairbanks hospitals. Police service is provide by the Alaska State Troopers.
Economy and transportation 
Over 40% of the year-round jobs are government-funded, including the City, Tribe, Nenana School District, Yukon-Koyukuk School District, and highway maintenance by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Golden Valley Electric Association has its regional office in Nenana. Nenana is a strong choice for locating regional and statewide offices due to a rural lifestyle yet near to Fairbanks on the major north-south George Parks Highway.
Nenana has affordable housing and low rents. Nenana has a strong private sector economy as the center of rail-to-river barge transportation for the Interior. Crowley Marine is a major private employer, supplying villages along the Tanana and Yukon Rivers each summer with cargo and fuel. The City attracts independent travelers with fuel and supplies, the Alaska Railroad Museum, the Golden Railroad Spike Historic Park and Interpretive Center, the historical Episcopal Church, Iditarod dog kennels, and a replica of the sternwheeler Nenana. A heritage center has local cultural and history displays, open during the summer tourist season from May to September.
Nenana is a center of dog mushing; a number of world-class teams train in the area. Nenana is home to a number of artists who produce works that reflect the local frontier lifestyle. A number of large farms produce quality and specialized crops in some of the best growing conditions in Alaska. The Nenana Ice Classic administration provides employment for nearly 100 locals during the counting and tabulation of the tickets providing chances on when the Tanana River breakup in the spring. Twenty-seven residents hold commercial fishing permits. A large number of Native and non-Native households rely on subsistence foods, such as salmon, moose, caribou, bear, waterfowl and berries.
Taxes: Sales: 4%, Property: 12.0 mills, Special: None
Nenana has air, river, road and railroad access. The George Parks Highway provides road access to Fairbanks and Anchorage. A boat landing at the end of 10th street turning west off the George Parks Highway provides free boat landing on the Nenana River. A short distance north of the landing, the Nenana River meets the Tanana River, providing easy access to the river system of the Tanana River and Minto Flats. The boat landing provides access for hundreds of hunters and outdoor enthusiasts each year.
The railroad provides daily freight service. The Nenana Municipal Airport offers two landing areas: a lighted, asphalt runway 5,000 feet long by 100 feet wide, and an airstrip, turf, 2,520 feet long by 80 feet wide. The airport also has landing areas for float planes and ski planes. The Nenana Port Authority operates the dry cargo loading and unloading facilities, dock, bulkhead, and warehouse. The Tanana River is shallow, with a maximum draft for loaded river barges of 4.5 feet; by comparison, the Yukon River has very few shallow areas.
- "2012 ACoM Members". Online Resource Center, Alaska Conference of Mayors. Juneau: Alaska Municipal League. 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
- "Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places in Alaska". United States Census Bureau. 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
- UAF: Alaska Native Place Names
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
Popular culture 
- Community based information about Nenana
- Nenana City School District
- Alaska Division of Community Advocacy - Community Information Summary