Alaska entered the union as the 49TH a state on January 3,1959
"THE LAST FRONTIER"
ALASKA IS more than 1/4 THE SIZE OF THE UNITED STATES
IT IS THE FARTHEST NORTH,WEST AND EAST OF ANY STATE
East? Yes*Alaska crosses the International dateline*
THE POPULATION OF ALASKA IS NEARLY EQUAL TO THE AREA OF JUST OVER 600,000 PEOPLE AND SQUARE MILES
THAT MAKES ABOUT 1 SQUARE MILE FOR EACH PERSON!
The flag has the Big Dipper and the North Star
~ALASKA STATE SONG PLAYING~
Written by Marie Drake
Composed by Elinor Dusenbury
Eight stars of gold on a field of blue -
Alaska's flag. May it mean to you
The blue of the sea, the evening sky,
The mountain lakes, and the flow'rs nearby;
The gold of the early sourdough's dreams,
The precious gold of the hills and streams;
The brilliant stars in the northern sky,
The "Bear" - the "Dipper" - and, shining high,
The great North Star with its steady light,
Over land and sea a beacon bright.
Alaska's flag - to Alaskans dear,
The simple flag of a last frontier.
Copyright © 1985, University of Alaska Foundation, All rights Reserve
Alaska's state bird is the Ptarmigan
They turn pure white in winter
State fish is the King Salmon
State tree is the Blue Spruce or Sitka Spruce
The Whale is State mammal
State Flower is the For-get-me-not
In 1867 Secretary of State William H.Seward paid Russia 7.2million dollars for a huge region derided as "Seward's Icebox". Today this land is of overwhelming beauty and abundant resources.
It is a battleground between conservationists,energy and mining interests. More than a third of the mineral-rich state is forested. A quarter is set aside as parks,refuges and wilderness. Fisheries team with salmon,halibut and shellfish-staples of indigenous peoples for millenia.
Oil has been piped from the North Slope to the supertanker terminal at Valdez since 1977. In March 1989 the 30,000-ton EXXON VALDEZ ran aground in Prince William Sound,spilling 11 million gallons of oil--the nation's largest tanker spill. This disaster raised new concerns over opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,with it's herds of 180,000 Caribou, to petroleum exploration.
The economy is Industry:petroleum and natural gas,gold and other mining, food processing, lumber and wood products, tourism. Agriculture is seafood, nursery stock, dairy products, vegetables and livestock.
Before we start our journey through this huge land, we have to decide how to travel and what to wear. You had better bring every kind of clothes and be able to travel in many modes if you expect to comprehend the vastness of land and climate.
Alaska is divided into large sections for reference. They are Southeastern,Southcentral,Southwestern,Western, Interior and Arctic
Climate varies from the 90's above F in summer,down to 80deg.below zero in winter. Most extreme temps are in the Interior area.S.E.Alaska(see map)is wet and more lush and mild. Aleutians are damp and more barren islands. S.Central is more average,but is a semi-arid climate..around 15-17inches of rain a year.We have many active volcanos in the Aleutians and around Cook Inlet area-S.Central. It is arctic land in the north and growth is smaller for survival.
There are few highways and roads,compared to the size of the country,so we use alternate methods of travel for much of this state. Air travel is the most used. We have the largest small airplane traffic in the world. There are boats on the rivers in summer. Rafting is popular. We have many fishing boats and there is the Alaska Marine Highway for the South and Snow Machines in North. Dogsleds are still used,but mostly for sporting now. Trucks and 4wheel drive vehicles are the best for these roads.
Our highway system goes from Seward north to just beyond Fairbanks in the Interior. There is now a gravel road north up to Prudhoe Bay oil field. The highway goes down the Kenai Peninsula to Homer..called 'The End of the Road'. It is!
You can drive NE to Valdez or go on through the Alaska Highway through Canada and on to the 'Lower 48' (as Alaskans call the continental U.S.)
The Alaska RailRoad travels from Seward in the South,North to Fairbanks and is a mainstay for that route north,long before the highway was built.
Anywhere else you wish to go, you had better have a boat or a plane!
Are your bags packed? we'll have to abandon the old '57 Chevy for some of this trip. Let us go "Where few men have gone before"
"You know you're Alaskan when your school classes aren't cancelled because of cold or snow"
Click on the License plate to go off into adventure!