Soldotna, Alaska

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Soldotna, Alaska
Motto: "In the very heart of the beautiful Kenai Peninsula!"
Location of Soldotna, Alaska
Location of Soldotna, Alaska
Coordinates: 60°29′12″N 151°4′31″W / 60.48667°N 151.07528°W / 60.48667; -151.07528Coordinates: 60°29′12″N 151°4′31″W / 60.48667°N 151.07528°W / 60.48667; -151.07528
Country United States
State Alaska
Borough Kenai Peninsula
Incorporated July 1967[1]
 • Mayor Nels Anderson (term ends in 2014)[2][3]
 • Total 7.4 sq mi (19.2 km2)
 • Land 6.9 sq mi (18.0 km2)
 • Water 0.5 sq mi (1.2 km2)
Elevation 105 ft (32 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 4,163
 • Density 603.3/sq mi (231.3/km2)
Time zone Alaska (AKST) (UTC-9)
 • Summer (DST) AKDT (UTC-8)
ZIP code 99669
Area code 907 (local exchange prefix: 260, 262)
FIPS code 02-71640
GNIS feature ID 1414025

Soldotna is a city in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, Alaska, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 4,163. It is the seat of the Kenai Peninsula Borough.


In 1947, after World War II, the United States government withdrew a number of townships along Cook Inlet and the lower Kenai River from the Kenai National Moose Range. The area was opened up to settlement under the Homestead Act. Veterans of the United States armed services were given a 90-day preference over non-veterans in selecting land and filing for property. Also in that year, the Sterling Highway right-of-way was cleared of trees from Cooper Landing to Kenai. The location of present-day Soldotna was selected as the site for the highway's bridge crossing the Kenai River.

The construction of the Sterling Highway provided a link from the Soldotna area to the outside world. More homesteads were taken and visitors came to fish in the area. The Soldotna post office opened in 1949 and other businesses opened in the next few years.

Oil was discovered in the Swanson River region in 1957, bringing some new economic development to the area. In 1960, Soldotna was incorporated as a fourth class city with a population of 332 and an area of 7.4 square miles (4,723.4 acres). Then seven years later, in 1967, Soldotna was recognized as a first class city.[4]

Sport fishing, tourism, retail and the healthcare industry are currently the mainstays of the economy in Soldotna. It also receives some economic advantage from being the seat of the Kenai Peninsula Borough, as many of the borough's jobs are based in Soldotna.


Soldotna is located at 60°29′12″N 151°4′31″W / 60.48667°N 151.07528°W / 60.48667; -151.07528 (60.486617, −151.075373) [5].

Soldotna is located on the banks of the Kenai River on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. It is named after nearby Soldotna Creek. There are multiple theories explaining the origin of the word "Soldotna".

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.4 square miles (19 km2), of which 6.9 square miles (18 km2) of it is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) of it (6.34%) is water.


As with much of Southcentral Alaska, Soldotna has a moderate subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc) due to the cool summers, though the diurnal temperature variation is larger than most locations in the region. Winters are snowy, long but not particularly cold, especially considering the latitude, with January featuring a daily average temperature of 13.4 °F (−10.3 °C). There are 46 nights of sub-0 °F (−18 °C) lows annually, and the area lies in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 4,[6] indicating an average annual minimum in the −20 to −30 °F (−29 to −34 °C) range. Summers are cool due to the marine influence, with 12 days of 70 °F (21 °C)+ highs annually.

Climate data for Soldotna, Alaska
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 22.4
Average low °F (°C) 4.3
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.64
Source: NOAA (1981–2010 normals)[7]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1960 332
1970 1,202 262.0%
1980 2,320 93.0%
1990 3,482 50.1%
2000 3,759 8.0%
2010 4,163 10.7%

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 3,759 people, 1,465 households, and 969 families residing in the city. As of 2008, the population was close to 4,200. The population density was 541.9 people per square mile (209.1/km²). There were 1,670 housing units at an average density of 240.7 per square mile (92.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.06% White, 0.29% Black or African American, 4.97% Native American, 1.73% Asian, 0.37% Pacific Islander, 1.28% from other races, and 3.30% from two or more races. 3.22% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 1,465 households out of which 39.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.13.

In the city the age distribution of the population shows 31.5% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 90.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $48,420, and the median income for a family was $52,372. Males had a median income of $43,162 versus $24,598 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,740. About 5.8% of families and 6.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.5% of those under age 18 and 2.6% of those age 65 or over.


Soldotna is under the Kenai Peninsula Borough District (KPBSD) school board. The beginning of KPBSD was not until 1975, where the first Community Schools' Coordinator was hired. The first quarter of school was in spring of 1976, and since then there has been nine sites and eleven coordinators. However, in 1987, there was only three active sites, Homer, Seward, and Soldotna. To support the finance of these community schools with a variety of classes and activities, the City Council helped chip in. There are three public elementary schools: Soldotna Elementary, Redoubt Elementary, and K-beach Elementary. There is one middle school: Soldotna Middle School, for grades 7-8. And in addition to middle school, there is River City Academy which covers grades 7-12. For public high school there is Skyview and Soldotna High School (So-Hi). For a private school of Soldotna there is Cook Inlet Academy which is Christian for grades starting at preschool all the way up to 12th grade. And to conclude schooling there is a carter school: Soldotna Montessori Charter School

Kenai Peninsula College (KPC) is located in the southwestern corner of city limits. A unit of the University of Alaska Anchorage, KPC in turn administers the Kachemak Bay Campus in Homer.

A great resource for schools is the Joyce K. Carver Soldotna Public Library. There are many librarians to help assist with welcomed smiles, including the main librarian, Rachel Nash.


The Soldotna Police Department is in charge of protecting and serving the public through a professional, open, community partnership with citizen involvement. They provide a safe environment for Soldotna residents at work and home. They also visit by enforcing laws fairly without being bias on Soldotna residents.

Soldotna's Chief of Police is Peter Mlynarik.



The Sterling Highway runs through and connects the eastern and central portions of the city. Its intersection with the Kenai Spur Highway, known as the "Soldotna Y" due to its former configuration as a Y-shaped intersection, is a local landmark. The Kenai Spur Highway connects neighborhoods in the north-central portion of the city to other parts of Soldotna, adjoining Ridgeway and beyond to Kenai and Nikiski. The western portions of Soldotna are connected by local roads (east of the Kenai River) and Kalifornsky Beach Road (west of the river). "K-Beach" Road, as it is often known, also provides access to the southernmost portions of the city (including Kenai Peninsula College and the Soldotna Sports Center), and an alternate access to Kenai via the Warren Ames Memorial Bridge. K-Beach continues east beyond the Sterling Highway to access Soldotna Airport (see below) and Funny River.


Soldotna Airport (FAA LID and IATA: SXQ, ICAO: PASX) is a city-owned, public use airport located in the southeastern corner of city limits, across the Kenai River from the city center.[10] Primary access to the airport is from Funny River Road, a short distance east of its intersection with the Sterling Highway.

Two plane crashes associated with operations at the airport, one on February 4, 1985 involving a commuter flight from Anchorage and one on July 7, 2013 involving an air taxi flight, resulted in the deaths of all onboard (nine and ten fatalities, respectively).


Les Anderson, at the time the owner of Soldotna's Ford dealership, holds the record for the largest king salmon, caught here on May 17, 1985 and weighing in at 97 lb 4 oz.[11][12] The record-setting fish is on display at the Soldotna Visitor Center.[13][14]

Fish counts are determined by sonar fish counters.[15] They are rough estimates based on averages over a prolonged period. For 2012, king salmon were estimated at 5,173, while red salmon were estimated at 1,581,555.

Soldotna is also home to the Kenai River Brown Bears, a Junior A hockey team who play in the West Division of the North American Hockey League.


Facilities and other attractions for visitors in and around Soldotna include: camping, fishing, rodeo grounds, baseball fields, golf courses, gun ranges, movie theaters (Kambe & Orca theater), hiking, berry picking and the Soldotna Historical Society Museum.

The Soldotna Sports Center, when not serving as an event venue, is available for recreational ice skating, volleyball, racquetball, and home shows for local business of Soldotna.

With Soldotna having over 200 campsites such as the Swiftwater Parl and Centennial Park, there is great access to the Kenai River for fishing. There is 2,800 feet of elevated boardwalk that helps with this river access, which also includes boat launches!

Also speaking of parks, there are public parks such as the Soldotna Creek Park, neighborhood parks, and memorial parks in Soldotna. Local residents are welcomed in volunteering to help the parks and recreations of Soldotna.

In addition to some of these attractions, every summer the Kenai River festival comes into town! Locals enjoy the nice, sunny weather while looking and buying items that represent Soldotna and its people.[16]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ 1996 Alaska Municipal Officials Directory. Juneau: Alaska Municipal League/Alaska Department of Community and Regional Affairs. January 1996. p. 145. 
  2. ^ "Anderson wins Soldotna mayor's seat". Peninsula Clarion. April 2, 2013. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Community: Soldotna". Community Database Online. Juneau: Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, Division of Community and Regional Affairs. February 11, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2014. 
  4. ^ Alaska Community Directory 2008. p. 176. State of Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ The Arbor Day Foundation
  7. ^ "Station Name: AK SOLDOTNA 5SSW". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved March 9, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Census Of Population And Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  10. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for SXQ (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective April 8, 2010.
  11. ^ Anderson catches 'whopper' his way, Peninsula Clarion, May 20, 1985.
  12. ^ Les Anderson, king salmon world record holder, dies at age 84, Peninsula Clarion, August 28, 2003.
  13. ^ Craig Medred, "Anderson's colossal Kenai king remains the standard", Anchorage Daily News, May 17, 2010.
  14. ^ "World Record Salmon", Soldotna Chamber of Commerce (accessed May 11, 2013).
  15. ^ Commercial Fisheries, Alaska Department of Fish and Game
  16. ^ Map of Kenai River, Alaska State Parks

External links[edit]