Alaska’s first mobile DMV to visit New Stuyahok

New Stuyahok. (Mario Cruz)

The state’s first mobile DMV opened in New Stuyahok in Southwest Alaska on Monday. Residents in the village will be able to take their driver’s license tests and apply for Real IDs.

Dillingham and King Salmon serve as the only two municipalities with DMV services for the 31 communities in Bristol Bay. The Bristol Bay Native Corporation worked with the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles to change that. BBNC’s Martha Anelon says the program will help mitigate some of the challenges residents face when applying for their identification cards.

“Travelling there can be very costly,” Anelon said. “This eliminates the extra expenses for shareholders in Bristol Bay for them to fly from their community to Dillingham or King Salmon.”

Anelon worked with Faith Andrew, a New Stuyahok Tribal Council member and BBNC village resource specialist, to bring the program to the village. Andrew has been working with community members and leaders for about a year to prepare for the state’s arrival.

“I was kind of nervous in the beginning but after the people started calling in and showing interest I started getting excited,” she said. “When we were doing the footwork – having this doubt about not getting support from the village – but it turned out really good. All the entities were willing to try to get this program successful and hopefully will be a good start for other villages too.”

More than 40 people from New Stuyahok, Ekwok, Koliganek and Manokotak are expected to show up Monday. Residents will need their original birth certificates to apply. BBNC and the state DMV expect to expand the program to more villages after the test run in New Stuyahok.

All Alaska residents will need a Real ID by Oct. 1, 2020, to travel on commercial airlines. A list of documents required to apply for a Real ID can be found on the DMV’s website.

Contact the author at tyler@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200