Difference between revisions of "Bethel (Alaska)"
Revision as of 17:08, 27 September 2011
Bethel is a city in Alaska. It is the main hub for many of the surrounding native villages and the main port of the Kuskokwim River in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta. Bethel is one of the largest cities in Alaska, its also home to the K-300 dogsled race  and Cama-I , the largest Native Arts festival in Alaska.
Because of its location and culture, there is much that a traveler would benefit from understanding before visiting Bethel. The town is far off the road system, 400 air miles west of Anchorage, and all fuel, grocery, household items, building materials, vehicles, etc. must be flown in or shipped in by barge. Consequently, prices are relatively high, even by Alaskan standards. It is good to remember, however, that as a hub community, Bethel prices are still less (sometimes by half) than prices even in nearby villages.
The Y-K Delta (as the greater area is called) is home to an active subsistence culture. Many residents, both Native and Non-Native, fish and hunt for food as well as for sport.
The only practical way into Bethel from outside the immediate area is by air, and Bethel is served by a number of daily flights from Anchorage. Alaska Airlines  has morning, afternoon, and evening flights, with Era Alaska  adding additional flights in the morning and afternoon.
The state-owned Bethel Airport is the regional transportation center, and is served by seven passenger carriers, including Alaska Airlines, Grant Aviation, Hageland Aviation Services, Yute Air and Frontier Flying Service. It also receives service from five cargo operators: Everts Air Cargo, Northern Air Cargo, Alaska Central Express, Arctic Transportation Services, and Lynden Air Cargo, and numerous small air taxi services including Renfro's Alaskan Adventures. The airport ranks third in the state for total number of flights. It offers a 6,400 foot asphalt runway and 1,850 foot gravel crosswind runway, and is currently undergoing a $7 million renovation and expansion. Three float plane bases are nearby: Hangar Lake, H Marker Lake, and the Kuskokwim River.
Bethel has more cabs per capita than any other city in the United States. Due to the dependance of many residents and visitors on cabs, and the high cost of transportation, cab fee maximums are mandated by the City of Bethel, corresponding roughly to the distance of the trip. Rides within the central area of town are $5, to or from the Tundra Ridge subdivision are $7, to or from the Airport is $7, and trips to the Kasayuli Subdivision are $10.
Something important for visitors to Bethel to know is that cab rides in Bethel are often a "communal" experience. While riding in a cab from the airport into the main part of town, for example, the cab driver may get a call to pick up another fare in Blueberry Subdivision. While potentially uncomfortable for the shy traveler (or if the cab gets too crowded), this is actually a great way to meet people in Bethel.
These are numbers for the taxi services in Bethel
By public transit
A more recent addition to Bethel's transportation options is the city bus. At $2 a ride for adults, many Bethel residents are finding the bus to be a more economical transportation option than cabs when time is not an issue. Routes have been expanded recently to include most of the town, and a slightly out-of-date route map and schedule can be found here.
Saturday Markets, grocery price info, gas price info, etc. There are many stores in Bethel. Like AC, Swanson’s, Corina’s, and Sammy’s Market. They are expensive but its better then nothing. You could go look at the great artwork at the Cultural Center. Maybe you could buy a piece of art for a awesome price. They have Saturday Markets every saturday at the Cultural Center, their selling food, some artwork, and drinks like pop and coffee. You can go out to eat at a resturant instead of cooking.
It is now legal to buy and serve alcohol however Bethel has not issued any liquor licenses. So you can either have some flown in from Anchorage or buy some on the black market in which you'll be spending some real cash.