Interior Alaska


Interior Alaska covers an area of 235,000 square miles in Alaska, about 37 percent of the state, slightly smaller than the state of Texas. The region is home to 39 villages and 37 federally recognized Tribes. The state’s greatest extremes of temperature occur in this region, and the mild, brief summers and harsh winters impact the ways people live, work, and play. 

In the Interior, vegetation has adapted to short, warm summers and long, cold winters. The countryside is generally covered by taiga, or northern forest, with trees giving way to alpine vegetation in the hills and mountains and to the north. Trees grow slowly, and their root systems must be shallow because they cannot penetrate the permafrost. Forests are slow growing and of limited commercial value. Toward the west the trees become sparse and are replaced by wet tundra. Cleared areas are often brilliant with fireweed in the summer. 

The natural environment of the Interior is drier and less fertile than that in Southeast or Southcentral. The Yukon flats, northeast of Fairbanks, form a large depression surrounded by highlands and have the coldest winter and hottest summer temperatures in Alaska. Summer temperatures have reached 100°F on occasion, though 70° to 80° is more common. 

Interior winters are cold and clear with icefog over low-lying areas and can drop to temperatures of 50 to 60° below zero, some of the lowest recorded in the state. For half of the year the ground is covered with powdery snow that accumulates to depths of several feet. Invasions of warmer maritime air from the Gulf of Alaska may break the extreme winter cold for a week or so at a time.  Permafrost here is discontinuous and easily disturbed by fire or human activity, which can create challenges for construction projects.

Fairbanks is the largest city in the Interior with 32,000 residents, but many rural villages are located along rivers and in the tundra far from the city without access to the road system. Denali National Park is the most popular destination for tourists, but there is plenty to see and do along the Yukon River’s tributaries including the Tanana, Koyukuk, and Porcupine, and across the tundra. 

In the Interior, fisheries have been closed since 2021, and subsistence fishing hasn’t been allowed. Feeding rural communities has been more expensive and more challenging, and the restriction on traditional practices such as going to fish camp, catching, cleaning, and preserving fish impacts everyone from children to elders. People are still able to hunt moose and caribou and harvest berries.

In the Interior, Rural Partners Network is committed to understanding local community development priorities and helping people access Federal resources.


  • Affordable Housing

    • Single-family housing 
    • Multi-family housing 
    • Repairs for elderly and disabled homeowners
  • Infrastructure

    • Water and wastewater system improvements
    • High speed internet access

  • Economic Diversification

    • Recreation economies for rural communities
    • Small business economic investment
    • Food sovereignty 
    • Workforce Development
  • Rural Healthcare

    • Telemedicine access
    • Specialty care in rural communities

Rural Partners Network Contacts for Interior Alaska