Upper Kalskag is located on the north bank of the Kuskokwim River, 2 miles upriver from Lower Kalskag. It lies 28 miles west of Aniak, 68 miles northeast of Bethel and 348 miles west of Anchorage. It lies at approximately 61d 32m N Latitude, 160d 20m W Longitude. (Sec. 27, T017N, R061W, Seward Meridian.) Upper Kalskag is located in the Kuskokwim Recording District. The area encompasses 3.8 sq. miles of land and .4 sq. miles of water. The climate in Upper Kalskag is semi-arctic with influences from the Bering Sea. Snowfall averages 60 inches, with total precipitation of 19 inches per year. Temperatures range from -55 to 87. The Kuskokwim is ice-free from mid-June through October.
The original residents were from Kaltkhagamute, located on a slough four miles to the southwest. At the turn of the century, they moved to the present village site. George Morgan, a German immigrant who founded Georgetown, established a general store in Upper Kalskag and became its first postmaster in 1932. A government school was built in 1931. At this time, the community owned a herd of 2,100 reindeer. Over the years, residents of Crow Village, Russian Mission and Paimute moved to Upper Kalskag. The Russian Orthodox practitioners in the village relocated to establish Lower Kalskag in 1940. The villagers who remained were primarily Roman Catholic practitioners. The City was incorporated in 1975.
Upper Kalskag is an Eskimo village which was strongly influenced by the Roman Catholic Church. Today, subsistence activities are an important component of their lifestyle. The sale or importation of alcohol is banned in the village.
Most cash income in Upper Kalskag is derived from public employment at the school, City or clinic. Some trap or work as BLM firefighters. Three residents hold commercial fishing permits. 70% of the village's total livelihood is earned from subsistence activities. Salmon, moose, rabbit, and waterfowl are the primary meat sources. A few residents maintain gardens.
As of November 1997, nearly all homes, the school and the store have individual wells with potable water and indoor plumbing. A new piped gravity sewage system with lift stations, force main and lagoon now serves over 60 households and facilities. The school has requested funds for a new septic tank and leachfield, or connection to the community sewer system. The landfill is located between Upper and Lower Kalskag.
The Kuskokwim River affords easy access by boat in summer and snowmachine in winter. Barges deliver cargo and bulk fuel during the summer. A State-owned 3,200' gravel airstrip is shared by Upper and Lower Kalskag, and a road connects the two cities. Daily scheduled air services deliver passengers, mail and other cargo year-round.
The climate in Upper Kalskag is semi-arctic with influences from the Bering Sea. Snowfall averages 60 inches, with total precipitation of 19 inches per year. Temperatures range from -55 to 87. The Kuskokwim is ice-free from mid-June through October.