General information

Wainwright is located along a wave-eroded coastal bluff on the west side of a narrow peninsula which separates Wainwright Inlet from the Chukchi Sea. Wainwright is 72 air miles southwest of Utqiagvik.

The inlet was named in 1826 by Captain F.W. Beechey for his officer, Lt. John Wainwright. The present village was established in 1904 when the Alaska Native Service built a school there. The community was incorporated as a second-class city in 1962.


Wainwright is the third largest village in the North Slope Borough, with a population in 2015 of 557 and a work force of 231 in 2014, according to the State’s Employment Statistics. Ninety percent of the residents are Iñupiat. The public sector employed seven percent of all workers in 2014.

Wainwright’s subsistence hunting is based primarily on whales and caribou. Local arts and crafts include carved ivory figurines and jewelry, baleen boats, whale bone carvings, clocks, knitted caps and gloves.

Quality of Life

The North Slope Borough provides public electricity and maintains a piped water/sewer system. The Borough also provides trash pick-up services free of charge.

A health clinic, staffed by community health aides, is open each day and is available around the clock for emergencies. Other public facilities include the public safety office, fire station, vehicle maintenance facility and teacher housing.

Alak School provides education from pre-school to grade 12 and offers adult basic education and vocational education. The school has a swimming pool and gymnasium, both also serving the public.

Olgoonik Corporation, Wainwright’s village corporation, runs the Native store and sells groceries, clothing, first-aid supplies, hardware, camera film and sporting goods. Fuel in town includes marine gas, diesel, propane, unleaded, regular and supreme. City law prohibits the possession, sale and importation of alcohol.

Visitors to Wainwright will find a hotel and restaurant, as well as various recreational activities. In the spring, the community gathers for Nalukataq, the celebration of a successful whaling season. At this festival and on the other occasions, Iñupiaq dances are performed by the villagers. Other seasonal activities include boating, snowmobiling and smelt fishing.

Transportation to Wainwright is available by scheduled and chartered air service form Utqiagvik. Freight arrives by cargo plane and barge. Communications in town include phones, mail, public radio and cable TV.



City of Wainwright
PO Box 9
Wainwright, AK 99782
Phone Number: (907) 763-2815
Fax Number: (907) 763-2811

Olgoonik Corporation
PO Box 29
Wainwright, AK 99782
Phone Number: (907) 763-2613
Fax Number: (907) 763-2926

Village of Wainwright
PO Box 143
Wainwright, AK 99782
Phone Number: (907) 763-2535
Fax Number: (907) 763-2536

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