Southwest Alaska poses challenge for travel, shelter 

By: Ned Rozell | Alaska Science: Outside the Fly By Café, the ravens are flying backwards. At least they appear to be, as a powerful wind suspends them in time and space.

A brewing ground blizzard in this Southwest Alaska hub is making it difficult for Jack Hébert to get to Atmautluak, a village of less than 300 people here on the flats of the Kuskokwim River Delta. Hébert, president and founder of the Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks, is traveling to Atmautluak because members of the village’s tribal council called him for advice.

The villagers want to both build their own homes and set up their own construction company.

Hébert, along with Aaron Cooke, an architectural designer with the center, want to partner with the people of Atmautluak as they have assisted others in places like Anaktuvuk Pass, Quinhagak, Crooked Creek and Point Lay. In Anaktuvuk, center staffers helped design and build low-cost, fuel-sipping, semi-subterranean houses that meshed with the country and the lifestyles of the locals.


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