The Most Remote Place in the US Applies for Federal Funds for Air Service

Once again, it’s Small Community Air Service Development (SCASD) week over on BNET and I’ve been digging in to the applications for this year’s federal grants. There’s one in particular that stands out, and I decided to write about it over here on Cranky because it’s just too awesome. The tiny town of Diomede in Alaska wants $1.25 million to sustain weekly helicopter service to Nome. This is an incredible story about one of the most remote places in the entire United States.

Never heard of Diomede? There’s no reason you should have heard of it. Its 117 residents (down from 143 just two years ago) live on the edge of the barren, steep-sloped rocky island of Little Diomede which is 25 miles off the coast of Alaska in the Bering Strait. Not cool enough? Unlike Sarah Palin, the residents of Diomede actually can see Russia from their houses. Russia is only two miles away on Big Diomede. The International Dateline runs right in between, so they can literally see tomorrow. Amazing, right? Here’s the map:

Map of Diomede

But the location only tells half the story. The residents on this island are primarily natives and very little cash exchanges hands. It’s a subsistence economy where residents rely on hunting and fishing for the most part. They’ve lived there for thousands of years and at one point, used to freely connect with their now-Russian relatives across the strait on a regular basis. The Russians turned Big Diomede into a military installation and the residents there were moved to the mainland, so the Little Diomede people no longer see their kin. This truly is the most isolated place imaginable in the US.

The island itself is just a big rock (2.8 sq miles) with steep cliffs that juts out from the water. There is no running water (except in the school), no sewer, and not even roads. So why would you live there? Because your family has lived there for ages. It’s home. Here’s a shot of the island in winter, or summer, or who the heck knows. . . .

Diomede

Do I even need to explain that an airport doesn’t exist here? Even if it did, the weather is so frequently awful with high winds and low clouds that flights are adventurous at best. But the people on this island still need to live and as part of the US, need to be connected in to the country. That happens today via a weekly helicopter flight that brings the mail in, when the weather is good. Evergreen Helicopters used to use a larger helicopter but it had problems and now the company uses one that doesn’t carry passengers. So how do people get on and off the island?

If it’s an emergency, the Coast Guard or Alaska National Guard can come evacuate someone 130 miles away to the nearest hospital in Nome, but other than that, it’s almost all by boat. But even that’s problematic. The crossing is treacherous and there is no harbor on Diomede so people have to wait for hours at times just to get on and off a boat. What kind of boats do they use? As one local put it, “Our community only has one skin boat now, but the skin is not very good. We have to replace the old skin with new walrus hide.”

In the winter, things are a bit different. When the sea freezes over, there are usually a couple of months a year when they can build an ice runway to get 9 seat airplanes in and out a couple of times. But this last year, the ice never got thick enough so no runway was built. You can see why Diomede is looking for some help here.

But what kind of help could a SCASD grant provide? Well, as mentioned, there is a heliport on the island and Diomede wants a weekly flight to Nome on a four-seat helicopter to reconnect it with the rest of the world. It needs $1.25 million over three years to make this happen. The city isn’t eligible for the traditional Essential Air Service program but it is hopeful to get into a program that will provide funds through an alternative EAS subsidy after the SCASD funds dry up.

I’ve been very critical of the EAS program in the past, but this seems like a case where it should be put to work. There is no other option for Diomede, and since it’s part of the US, we should be doing what we can to re-connect them with the rest of the country. A single weekly helicopter flight hardly seems excessive. If SCASD is the only way to make that happen at this point, then it’s what we have to do. Yes, I realize the subsidy is about $3,500 per resident per year, but this is one case where I support the expense.


45 Responses to The Most Remote Place in the US Applies for Federal Funds for Air Service

  1. Oliver says:

    Why doesn’t Alaska build them a bridge?

    By the way, how did they manage for thousands of years without the helicopter? And what changed?

    Jokes aside, if they approve this service, I assume anyone can book a flight on that helicopter, not just the residents of that forsaken island? (and get the subsidized fare)

    • james says:

      I was read about Diomede on some travel sites a while back. If I recall correctly if you want to visit they charge you $200 or something like that to cover your “footpring” and infrastructure needs. Not sure if that’s related to transportation or charging them to just be there (if it’s legal) but I’d have to dig up the article.

      Basically put: For such a small community tourists are more of a burden to them than an economic benefit.

    • Ed says:

      A bridge would cost a whole lot more than subsidized air service.

    • CF says:

      A 25 mile long bridge? I don’t think that’ll be happening, and as mentioned, it’ll cost a lot more to even think about doing something like that.

      James – Yes, I believe it’s $50 but there is a charge to people who come visit.

      • Oliver says:

        Looks like my “Bridge to nowhere” joke didn’t work ;)

        @James — i’ve gotta read up on Diomede “tourism” then.

        It’s interesting how people are okay with spending $xx billion of taxpayer money on their local highways or — to keep it with the theme of this blog — on the countless general aviation airports etc. that do jack for me, but want to tell these guys to move away from their homes.

  2. Simon Get says:

    That photo is amazing, i really would like to go to Diomede, it looks like it’s on a different planet.

  3. Brian says:

    Really? Really?…..Really?

    Your support for this grant is arbitrary, especially when put in context of your earlier criticisms of these grant applications. This program, which I think is a poor use of taxpayer funds generally, should be used to stimulate ongoing future service to an undeserved region. The government should be demonstrating that service to the subsidized region is actually viable (read: profitable).

    Here, however, taxpayers are subsidizing a dying town. Clearly, no carrier will serve this region in the future without a subsidy.

    The people who choose to live in this town made a conscious, intentional choice to isolate themselves from civilization. Unfortunately, part of that isolation means that there is no regular air service.

    • One hopes you meant to type “should be used to stimulate ongoing future service to an undeRserved region” (not undeserved).

      The people who live in this town have done so long before any political borders existed anywhere in North America. They lived there before the land was claimed by Russia and sold to the United States. Their land now being part of the US through no fault of their own, they have a right to maintain their existence with a reasonable amount of connection to the national transportation grid, for which the federal government is responsible for funding if private industry cannot meet the cost to do so.

      As nice as it would be to be presented with an itemized tax bill for only the roads I drive on, the fires proved to be prevented at my house, as well as a refund for all the days I didn’t use public education because I was ill, it simply doesn’t work that way. Collective responsibility is one of the realities of a modern, global society.

  4. Dan says:

    Cranky,

    Thanks for the post. It really is interesting. But yes, I agree with the commenters who says this shouldn’t be supported, at least in the spirit of EAS/SCASD. Brian is right — the funds should be used to stimulate new service that can hopefully be a going concern on their own. This service will never be that, and therefore should its request should be rejected.

  5. Brett now that JetBlue will be starting nonstop service from Long Beach to Anchorage, you can pay them a visit next summer….LOL.

    I’m surprised the feds don’t claim Eminent domain and move them out to a more populated place. Or have the military fly in every couple of weeks or so to check up on them and bring mail and/or supplies.

  6. Eh we should just give the island to the Russians. While we’re at it we should give Point Roberts Washington to the Canadians, and I think the Cubans would like Puerto Rico.

    • JamesK says:

      Ah, but where would the Vancouverites go to get cheap gas and cigarettes?

      I remember Diomede from Michael Palin’s “Full Circle” in the 90s, when he circumnavigated the Pacific Rim, starting at Little Diomede. He missed his connection to Russia and ended up taking an Alaska Airlines flight to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (remember when?). Months later, after covering all that distance, he couldn’t get back to Little Diomede even with assistance from the US Coast Guard due to weather. Little Diomede and Big Diomede were briefly famous in the 80s when an American long-distance swimmer swam from the United States (Little Diomede) to the USSR (Big Diomede), breaking the “Ice Curtain”.

      Now that the polar ice cap is breaking up and minerals at the ocean floor are becoming accessible, Arctic sovereignty is an issue once more. The Canadian government is encouraging people and businesses to move to the far north to strengthen the country’s territorial claims to the Arctic waters. This also involves taking a lot of pictures of Stephen Harper in a parka looking very resolute. In this regard, Little Diomede is also important, as its being US territory gives the US rights to the adjacent waters in the Bering Strait.

      Now whether this would warrant even more propping up by US taxpayers is another question.

  7. what the hell is a skin boat? regardless, i’m guessing that i wouldn’t want to be on one for 130 miles in the northern bering sea!

    i think the funding issue is misplaced. should it be paid for by EAS or SCASD? probably not. however, this is something that certainly should be done to provide basic emergency support for US citizens that are otherwise stranded from the country and the modern world. along those lines, it should probably be funded by some arm of the state of alaska, the national guard or something along those lines.

    i agree that this probably does not fall within the purview of the EAS/SCASD programs; however, it’s a better use of money than subsidizing great lakes air flights used by an average of 3 passengers daily to/from cities that are located 90 miles away from other air travel options.

    • CF says:

      I would think that it should be paid for by EAS since it really is the definition of Essential Air Service, but since the place didn’t have air service in 1978 when deregulation went into effect, it’s not eligible for the traditional EAS program.

  8. Andrew says:

    You’re a little late – the SCASD awards were announced Tuesday… Diomede, which applied for what would be nearly one-fifth of the awarded funds, didn’t win. They had a most remote chance, anyway. They could have improved their chances with a professionally prepared proposal, there’s was quite difficult to follow and lacked several pertinent details.

    • CF says:

      Yeah, I know, but I prewrote this post because I’m in Dallas at Southwest Media Day. I still would have written the post anyway because the place looks fascinating.

      You think it’s bad here, I’ve been writing about SCASD all week on BNET as prewrote columns before the decisions came out.

    • Ken says:

      Andrew: “They could have improved their chances with a professionally prepared proposal, there?s was quite difficult to follow and lacked several pertinent details.”

      Did you volunteer to help them prepare their proposal, Andrew? If so, you should probably learn the proper use of the comma and of the apostrophe. There’s a difference between “there’s” and “theirs.” Just sayin’ … !

  9. move the inhabitants to another place it would be cheaper???

  10. Court says:

    Brett,

    I’m with you 100% on this. I think the problem people have with the idea is that there’s no economic basis for it. But this is not an economic problem, it’s a humanitarian problem. What is the government doing for them so they can continue to live on their home land?

    Whether or not to pay $3,500 a year would be an easy decision for us to make if it came down to staying on our ancestral homeland or not. The problem is, there is no monetary economy there. They can’t pay that themselves because they probably don’t even use our money. Why would the government balk at such a paltry sum?

    I’m not sure the EAS is the best program to serve these people, but some agency within the government definitely should.

    Great article!

  11. Absolutely we should fund this. We should give them DirecTV and internet access too!

  12. Brian says:

    Court,

    You’re analysis, insofar as whether this is an economic issue, is correct.

    If these people really wanted regular flight service to where they live, as distinguished from the ability to live in their “homeland,” there is an easy solution. They simply need to privately earn or raise the money to be able to provide that service. The reality is that not enough people care about regular travel to make it an economically feasible reality. This inability to provide REGULAR service does not impact the ability of those residents to stay there or their ability to charter flights as needed for travel.

    There is a profound difference between wanting regular, free travel and simply the ability to live where one wants to live.

  13. travelnate says:

    The problem here is the helicopter used by Evergreen was old & they retired it – and they COULD use it to fly back and forth. The current helicopter being used doesn’t have the ability to carry passengers nor does Evergreen have one available to make that long trek, hence the grant.

    A skin boat is one used by native Alaskans, because wooden boats just don’t cut it in some parts of the state. So they use the waterproof hides of walrus and other sea mammals as the “skin” of the boat.

  14. Gary Leff says:

    I guess I just wonder whether a weekly helicopter is even the most welfar-enhancing thing that $3500 per resident could buy, if we’re going to tug at the heart strings shouldn’t we at least compare to how the same dollars could be spent in other ways to improve the lives of the people living there? And if we don’t know what those might be I’d say we’re really not in any sort of position to make a judgment either way…

  15. Jason A says:

    This seems to be a suitable use of the EAS program, but I don’t really think any of the EAS or related programs are really necessary or a good use of money. What did people do 60 or 80 years ago before we had airplanes? If all commercial air service in the whole country were suddenly stopped everyone would complain, especially people who travel every weekend for fun or people involved with big business sh*t, but in the end, we would all survive.
    Especially considering how isolated they have always been, I don’t really think that they need air service as much as they say they do. If living there is sustainable, they can manage without air service, or perhaps monthly flights.

  16. Mike C. says:

    MMM…No, no, and no.

    What it boils down to is these people choose to live in an isolated environment which disconnects them from the rest of the U.S., not to mention the world.

    With the financial constraints this country has, why should my tax dollars pay for someone to live so remotely? I think a little bit of personal responsibility is needed here by the whole community.

    I can understand if the community was producing some sort of product or mining for minerals or oil drilling,,,,,,,

    If I and 116 other people decide to live in the middle of the rockies, should the government be responsible for providing helicopter service?

    • travelnate says:

      Mike C,

      Unfortunately when the US purchased Alaska from Russia, with it came hundreds of Indian Tribes that live in our remote state. As more and more “white men” settled in the State, so did our lifestyles and our demands they modify their lives to suit those around them.

      I think this is also a case where the sale split this community – many used to have ties with the bigger Diomede island, which is Russian territory.

      I think this would be the least we can do for these natives living on that island, or should we expect all natives to keep living in teepees and be denied access to modern medicine & ways of life??

      • Jason A says:

        Well, if the natives want to keep living there, they are free to stay. And if they want to leave, they are free to leave as well.
        The issue is that you can’t have both their native way of life and remote location with modern services and our new way of life, so spending taxpayer money to try having both the old and new really won’t work.

        • Gravy says:

          @Jason A: Wow, do you have it backwards. The US decided to make this land part of the US and separate this community from its ties to its neighbors.

          It’s not that “these people choose to live in an isolated environment which disconnects them from the rest of the U.S”, rather this country decided to choose these people as its most remotely located citizens.

          With that decision comes obligations to support connections to the rest of the US.

  17. SAN Greg says:

    Finally someplace safe from the building of a Wal-Mart.

    • Alas, I bet you can get a delivery from Wal-Mart to Diomede. I think one of the Alaska stores used to have a dedicated delivery service line and webpage. Alas, a quick google search didn’t find it.

    • SAN Greg don’t be to sure, I can see Walmart buying an old cruise ship and turning decks into retail space, using the cabins as employee quarters and sailing the small Alaskan Islands during the summer and heading to all the small Pacific islands in the winter months……LOL

  18. Adams says:

    Copied form Docket DOT-OST-2009-0260, Initial application of Diomede for EAS. Includes some dispassionate but amazing stories regarding their isolation

    Dear Mr. Devany:
    Kawerak, Inc. is the non-profit tribal consortium authorized to compact and provide services on behalf
    of 20 tribes in the Bering Strait Region of Alaska. Diomede is one of the rural communities that Kaw/erak
    serves. There is evidence that Diomede has been inhabited for thousands of years. This community has
    approximately 128 inhabitants, and is located on a small island off the coast of Alaska. It lies 2.5 miles
    from Russia, 28 miles from the nearest community of Wales, and 135 miles from the nearest hub
    community of Nome. It is possibly the most remote community in the United States as it is accessible
    only by helicopter for the majority of the year, until the sea ice freezes solid enough to allow for an ice
    runway to be built to allow for small 9-seater airplane service. Even in the years when an ice runway is
    possible, this is typically usable for only 2-3 months out of the year. This past winter the sea ice did not
    freeze solid enough to allow for an ice runway and therefore the community was accessible only by
    helicopter.
    Evergreen has a contract with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver mail to Diomede. Evergreen is not
    obligated to provide passenger service. It provides mail service once per week (weather permitting) and
    flies from the hub community of Nome with a stop in Wales on the way back to refuel. The BO-105
    helicopter that Evergreen used to provide mail service up until the first week of July of this year also had
    the capacity to seat 4 passengers. Evergreen would allow passengers to fly on a space available basis,
    with mail being the priority, and the cost for passengers ranged from between $640 – $750 round-trip
    for passengers to fly to/from Diomede and Nome, depending on whether the passenger had to go
    through Wales (the latter price). Because Evergreen is a charter service, the best bet for passenger to
    travel was to wait in Wales and be taken to Diomede on a space available basis. They could wait in
    Wales for weeks without a commitment for a seat.
    Issues:
    Currently Evergreen is using a small helicopter that is not authorized for passenger services. In the first
    week of July, Evergreen stopped providing passenger services t o / f r om Dionnede – so residents have
    been without passenger service for 3 months now. According to Evergreen, the reason for this is
    because the helicopter they normally use was due for its 5000 hour inspection; this helicopter is still out
    of commission because it undergoing a complete maintenance overhaul. Evergreen is still fulfilling its
    contract with the USPS via a smaller helicopter that can fly mail to/from Diomede, but this helicopter is
    not authorized nor is it safe for passenger service.
    Even when passenger service existed to/from Diomede, the once weekly service that had the capacity
    for four passengers (only if space was not used for mail) – was not adequate to meet the community’s
    needs. If a body had to be flown out of Diomede, the only possible way to do so was to prop the corpse
    up in a passenger seat on the helicopter next to other passengers. This past winter, an eight year old
    boy accidentally shot and killed himself in Diomede. The family had to leave the boy’s body on the floor
    in the house where he died until the Alaska State Troopers were able to fly out to Diomede to
    investigate – and this wasn’t for several days after the accident. The family had to shut the heat off to
    the house to slow the decomposition process until the AST was able to arrive. Upon arrival, an autopsy
    was deemed necessary and because the flight was full and the boy’s body was small enough to fit in the
    small cargo hold of the helicopter, that is how his body was transported in and out of Diomede.
    Because of the limited passenger service to / from Diomede – service providers who traveled to
    Diomede have had to stay at least one week to wait for a return trip to Nome. If the weather was bad,
    people were often stranded for weeks at a time in Diomede. Because of this, Diomede receives the
    least services (medical, housing, social services, etc) of any community in the Bering Strait region. A
    number of years ago, Kawerak received a call from a parent in Diomede, who suspected that 3 children
    were being sexually abused. Neither the AST nor the Office of Children’s Services (the only two entities
    authorized to investigate) flew to Diomede because there was no passenger service at the time.
    Kawerak, inc. requested that the Alaska Air National Guard fly to pick up the children so that they could
    be examined and interviewed, but was told that they could not do so because it was not a matter of life
    and death. Eventually, once passenger sen/ice resumed, Kawerak flew the children to a center in
    Anchorage, where it was confirmed that they were sexually abused. This led to the discovery that 4
    other children in Diomede had been sexually abused by the same predator.
    Now, the situation has become critical. When Evergreen abruptly stopped providing passenger service
    in July, some Diomede residents were stranded in Nome and Wales. A mother delivered a baby in Nome
    shortly thereafter and had no way to get back to Diomede with her newborn and eventually ended up
    flying to Wales and taking a small open skiff to Diomede. Additionally, the person in charge of ensuring
    safe drinking water in Diomede had to transport the necessary chemicals to Diomede via small open
    skiff this summer from Wales. This 28 mile journey in a small open skiff through the seas of the Bering
    Strait is extremely dangerous and has proven deadly in the past. In 1998, members of several different
    families attempted the same trip via a small open skiff. All 6 aboard (including several small children) –
    never made it to Diomede and their remains were never found. Now, even small boats are not an
    option because the fall storms are upon us. Because of the lack of passenger service this fall, the school
    district had to resort to transporting teachers with a larger fishing vessel from Nome to start the school
    year off. This trip took 36 hours and the teachers had to wait 16 hours after arriving in Diomede until
    the seas calmed down enough so they could be lightered off the fishing vessel because of the
    combination of the rocky shoreline and rough seas.
    Currently, medical professionals, social service providers, telecommunications service providers, and
    other providers of basic services to the community have no way of flying to Diomede. The Alaska Air
    National Guard will fly a helicopter to Diomede to pick up med-evac patients for life and death
    situations, but when the patients are discharged from Norton Sound Health Corporation they are
    stranded in Nome with no place to stay and no way to return to Diomede. There are pregnant women
    in Diomede who are not able to seek prenatal care and who will have to resort to eventually being medevaced
    by the Alaska Air National Guard once they are in labor. Norton Sound Health Corporation also
    reports that they have patients with cardiac issues who are not receiving their chronic meds, which will
    soon result in a life and death situation. Norton Sound Health Corporation recently passed a resolution
    requesting that a disaster be declared for Diomede so that they may receive assistance.
    Requested Actions:
    Evergreen’s sales person (David Sell) recently contacted Kawerak and informed us that the helicopter
    that is capable of passenger transport is going to be unavailable for much longer than anticipated
    because of the extensive maintenance overhaul required. The salesperson did say that, if Evergreen had
    a way to guarantee that it could generate revenues from passenger services, the process would likely
    take less time. The salesperson suggested that if an entity would contract with Evergreen for $50,000 /
    month it could guarantee 15 flights a month via the helicopter capable of passenger support. Mr. Sells
    was not able to provide a timeframe for when the Evergreen could resume these services. Kawerak,
    Inc. requests that some short term solution be implemented to provide at least once weekly
    passenger service to/from Diomede as soon as possible. Without this service the number of med-evacs
    is likely to increase sharply in the next month. While Kawerak does not know the cost of a med-evac via
    Alaska Air National Guard helicopter, we speculate that the cost of several med-evacs over the course of
    the next month is likely considerable compared to regularly scheduled service to allow transport of
    necessary medication, to allow medical professionals to fly to Diomede, and to allow patients needing to
    travel for hospital appointments to come to Nome.
    Additionally, Kawerak, Inc. respectfully requests that Diomede be added to the list of communities
    eligible for Essential Air Services and that the subsidy afforded other rural communities be afforded to
    it. There are currently almost 50 rural communities in Alaska receiving the EAS subsidy, but Diomede is
    not on the list – we assume because when the list was created in 1978, Diomede was not receiving
    regularly scheduled passenger service at the time. The EAS was put into place to guarantee that small
    communities are able to maintain a minimal level of scheduled air service, and currently subsidizes
    many communities across the country that otherwise would not receive any scheduled air service. Note
    that several of the communities receiving the EAS subsidy in the lower 48 are each benefiting from over
    $1,5 million in annual subsidy through the EAS, such as Merced in California and Alamosa in Denver. In
    Alaska, the community of Yakutat receives an annual subsidy in the amount of $2.7 million. While
    Diomede has the misfortune of being so far behind in infrastructure and services that it was not on the
    list in 1978 – it certainly fits the definition of the type of community that the EAS was intended to serve.
    If this is possible, the EAS should consider that at the very least – Diomede needs twice weekly
    passenger service.
    Please consider the plight of the people of Diomede and assist us to find a solution before lives are lost
    because of the lack of passenger service. We thank you in advance for your help to both remedy the
    crisis situation and to implement a long term solution to the lack of regularly scheduled air passenger
    services. You can contact me at (907) 443-5231 or via email at lbullard{5)kawerak.org if you have any
    questions.
    Sincerely,
    KAWERAK, INCORPORATED
    Loretta Bullard, President
    cc: U.S. Congressman Don Young
    U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski
    U.S. Senator Mark Begich
    Kevin Adams, US OST
    Governor Sean Parnell
    Representative Richard Foster
    Representative Reggie Joule
    Senator Donny Olson
    Emil Notti, State of Alaska DCCED Commissioner
    Mike Black, State of Alaska DCCED Deputy Commissioner
    Leo von Scheben, State of Alaska DOT Commissioner
    Richard Sewell, State of Alaska DOT Aviation Policy Planner
    Claude Denver, State of Alaska Division of Emergency and Homeland Services
    Mayor Andrew Milligrock, City of Diomede
    President Patrick Omiak, Diomede IRA
    Carol Piscoya, Norton Sound Health Corporation CEO

  19. Sass Brown says:

    Isn’t this where Mount Inostranka is located?

  20. Andrew says:

    if they really wanted to be connected they should just move.

  21. YO says:

    Wouldn’t it be cheaper to pay the Russians to fly a copter in and out from their side, and move the mail 23,000 miles west?

  22. Mayfly says:

    Well, gee, suppose your kid fell in love with someone from there and moved to it. Wouldn’t you support that Air Service?

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  24. DCSpotter says:

    Hey Cranky – interesting post but I have no idea what connection does Sarah Palin has to do with SCASD. BTW – in case you don’t know it… it was Tina Fey saying she can see Russia from her house.

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  26. Gail Dabaluz says:

    I appreciate this write-up regarding the community of Diomede and its dire transportation issue. While employed with the State of Alaska, I worked with Diomede to apply for the SCASDA grant available through FAA. It was heart-breaking to realize that it was not awarded. There are no words to describe how critically important it is for the residents of Diomede to have the same standard of life many of us take for granted. Having access to commerce, trade and commodities is a luxury in Diomede. In this day and age, you wouldn’t think US citizens live in developing world conditions; however, they do. The greatest irony of all, is that the vast natural resources which the State of Alaska extracts, develops and exports comes from rural Alaska. Yet, the rural residents are an after thought in many financial decisions.

  27. jack says:

    Poor Souls… They must be miserable… How bout we move them to a place where they can all get jobs and PAY taxes, instead of turning them into dependentants.

    Or better yet…Since they have survived for thousands of years… We can leave them alone. They are Happy…

    BTW.. I cant afford to live where I want to live either.. ( A nice Tropical island)Can I qualify for a grant too… LOL..

  28. Rich Sewell says:

    An update to the Little Diomede Island transportation situation: They now get once a week helicopter service through a 50% grant matching U.S. DOT program called Air Transportation to Non-Eligible Places (ANTEP), which is available to communities that are ineligible for the regular EAS program. The State of Alaska provides the 50% match. This subsidy is paid to the air carrier (Evergreen Helicopters) to ensure at least break-even. Passengers are charged a seat fare, and anyone can book a seat.

    To people who have negative comments about subsidized air service to Little Diomede: all the highways, airports, and air traffic control you use are heavily subsidized by U.S. tax dollars. You take for granted your ability to travel without thinking about who pays for it. Those facilities are heavily subsidized. Be honest about your subsidized lifestyle, don’t be so hypocritical.

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