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Why Are Thousands of People Trying to Move to a Remote Alaskan Village?

Thousands are flocking to a remote Alaskan village, drawn by the promise of untouched wilderness, a tight-knit community, and a simpler way of life. This movement reflects a growing desire to reconnect with nature and escape the hustle of modern living. What could life in this secluded paradise offer you? Join us as we uncover the allure of remote living.
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman

If you’ve been on social media recently, you might have noticed an unusual ad, originally posted by the Karluk Tribal Council, that has now spread widely, attracting around 5,000 responses from people across the United States and around the globe.

The ad asks for two families with three or four children each to move to the remote fishing village of Karluk, on the western side of Alaska’s Kodiak Island. The families will be given relocation expenses, housing, and employment opportunities. They'll have access to the area’s numerous outdoor leisure pursuits, such as fishing and kayaking.

Karluk, Alaska has put out a plea on social media for two families to move to the village – all expenses paid – in order to keep the local school open. Thousands of people responded to the ad.
Karluk, Alaska has put out a plea on social media for two families to move to the village – all expenses paid – in order to keep the local school open. Thousands of people responded to the ad.

Once a salmon boom town with a population of over 1,100, Karluk is now home to just 37 people. Its school only has two students, a pair of siblings aged 10 and 11. The school lost its state funding in 2018 when the student body dropped below 10. It's now close to losing borough funding, as well, which would force the tribal council to cover the costs or close the building's doors, possibly forever.

Although ensuring that local children have access to education is important, keeping the school doors open has even more importance in remote parts of rural Alaska such as Karluk. The building is essentially a community center, providing services ranging from internet hub to heated space. The cost of paying for two families to relocate to the area would be less expensive than the cost of losing the school building altogether. If that happened, the future of Karluk itself could be in danger, as more people would likely leave the village.

Karluk’s community leaders were surprised and overwhelmed with the number of responses to their unconventional ad. Families who are genuinely interested in moving to Karluk will now submit formal application forms. Ideally, at least one of the successful candidates would be a teacher and his or her family, as this would also solve the related issue of teacher shortages in places such as Karluk.

Who's coming to Karluk?

  • Teaching aide Joyce Jones deserves significant credit for keeping Karluk’s school unofficially open thus far, even with the lack of state funding, and continuing to teach the remaining students.

  • Karluk is far from the only Alaskan community in this position – and perhaps others will follow suit with similar social media overtures. Factors such as disappearing job prospects, climate change, and rising energy costs have put rural communities in peril.

  • Getting to Karluk requires two flights or a 10-hour ferry ride from the mainland.

Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes for WiseGEEK about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education. Learn more...
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes for WiseGEEK about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education. Learn more...

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    • Karluk, Alaska has put out a plea on social media for two families to move to the village – all expenses paid – in order to keep the local school open. Thousands of people responded to the ad.
      By: naql
      Karluk, Alaska has put out a plea on social media for two families to move to the village – all expenses paid – in order to keep the local school open. Thousands of people responded to the ad.