Pilot Station is on the northwest bank of the Yukon River and has easy access to the water. The village of 500 people is located in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta, 11 miles east of St. Mary’s, 26 miles west of Marshall and over 430 air miles from Anchorage. The village was first called Ankachak, and was later moved one third of a mile upriver to a site called Potiliuk with the old village site of Kurgpallermuit located nearby. Today, barges deliver fuel and other bulk supplies during the summer while skiffs and snowmachines provide inter-village transportation. There are no roads to surrounding communities.
One of the oldest structures in the Calista Region, the Transfiguration of Our Lord Chapel, a Russian Orthodox Church, was built in Pilot Station the early 1900s, and it is listed on the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service National Register of Historic Places. St. Charles Spinola, a Catholic Church, also serves the village with rotating ministry teams and trained lay-staff members. The name Pilot Station was first referenced in 1916 by R.H. Sargent of the U.S. Geological Survey who noted that local riverboat pilots used the village as a checkpoint when navigating the Yukon.
The community is over 95 percent Alaska Native, and is a proud traditional Yup’ik Eskimo village practicing a subsistence lifestyle and active commercial fishing. The sale and importation of alcohol is banned in the village. The village has a 2,500- foot gravel airstrip, school, clinic, power plant, and water treatment facility. Pilot Station is known for its peoples’ strong traditional ways and the village’s remarkable beauty.