The City of Gustavus

The City of Gustavus, with a population of 450, has a mayor and city council, and represents its residents to the state. Gustavus is a subsistence community, and the local harvest remains important to most residents. In summer, our population is at its highest. In winter, about half the population stays in town.

Gustavus encompasses 29.2 square miles of land and 10 square miles of water. The area’s maritime climate is characterized by cool summers and mild winters. Summer temperatures range from 52 to 63 degrees, with winter temperatures ranging from 26 to 39 degrees.

The City of Gustavus was incorporated in 2004. Our major projects since then have been provision of basic services such as establishing a landfill/recycle center, building up our docks and harbors and maintaining our roads. A boat harbor/freight ramp project was completed in 2007.

Local residents choose Gustavus for the lifestyle, the availability of natural resources, the spectacular beauty of the area and for the subsistence activities available. Many residents are self employed in tourism and service/retail businesses, as well as fishing, power generation and aviation. Glacier Bay National Park employs over half of the residents of Gustavus. Others work for the state or for the Chatham School District.

Natural resources are managed by Glacier Bay National Park, the International Pacific Halibut Commission, the State Department of Fish and Game and the Tongass National Forest.

We have a city hall, medical clinic, fire department, library, city park and small boat harbor. The state-funded Gustavus School, serving kindergarten through twelfth grade, serves about 50 students and enjoys the highest test scores in Chatham School District. Our school is enriched by community volunteers and the high value that Gustavus puts on education. Most homes have personal septic and water systems. Gustavus Electric, a private company, provides city-wide power through hydroelectric gerenation from Falls Creek. Alascom provides local phone service. Cell phone coverage is good in some parts of town but is constrained by dense trees and low elevation. Dial up, satellite, cell phone modems and some broadband LAN allow access to the Internet. The Gustavus Library is a free hot spot. Freight to the community comes through Juneau by plane, barge, landing craft, private boats and by Alaska Marine Highway ferry service.