About This Place
Bethel (Mamterilleq in Central Alaskan Yup'ik) is a city located near the west coast of the U.S. state of Alaska, 340 miles (550 km) west of Anchorage. Accessible only by air and river, Bethel is the main port on the Kuskokwim River and is an administrative and transportation hub for the 56 villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
Bethel is the largest community in western Alaska and in the Unorganized Borough, as well as the 9th largest in the state, with a population estimated to be 6,356 in 2006. Bethel is home to the lone detention center in southwestern Alaska, the Yukon Kuskokwim Correction Center. Bethel is also one of the latest communities in Alaska to opt out of status as a "Local Option" community, theoretically opening the door to allowing alcohol sales in the city, though residents and city officials maintain that all liquor license requests will be actively opposed.
Annual events in Bethel include a noted dogsled race, the Kuskokwim 300, and Camai, a traditional dance festival held each spring.