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Alaska – the USA’s Last


Elev propunător Prof. coordonator

Selagea Alin Şufană Felicia
MAI 2009
Table of contents
Foreword………………………………………………………………………… 3

Introduction ……………………………………………………………………… 4
Chapter 1. Geography
1.1 General information………………………………………………………… 5
1.2 Regions………………………………………………………………………….page 5
1.3 Climate………………………………………………………………………….page 8
1.4 Climate and the economy …………………………………………………… 10
1.5 Flora&fauna …………………………………………………………… 12
Chapter 2. History
2.1 Alaska’s native people…………………………………………………………page 17
2.2 History of exploitation…………………………………………………………page 17
2.3 Oil ………………………………………………………………………………page 18
2.4 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act ……………………………………… 19
2.5 Politicians Bought and Sold ………………………………………………… 20
Chapter 3. Demographics
3.1 Race and ancestry …………………………………………………………….page 21
3.2 Languages …………………………………………………………………… 22
3.3 Religion ……………………………………………………………………… 22
Chapter 4. Economy
4.1 Energy ……………………………………………………………………… 23
4.2 Permanent Fund …………………………………………………………… 24
4.3 Cost of living ………………………………………………………………….page 25
4.4 Agriculture ………………………………………………………………… 25
Chapter 5. Transportation
5.1 Roads ………………………………………………………………………… 26
5.2 Rail …………………………………………………………………………… 27
5.3 Marine transport …………………………………………………………… 27
5.4 Air transport ………………………………………………………………… 28
5.5 Other transport ……………………………………………………………… 29

Chapter 6. Law and government
6.1 State government …………………………………………………………… 30
6.2 State politics ……………………………………………………………………page 30
6.3 Taxes ....……………………………………………………………………… 31
6.4 Federal politics ……………………………………………………………… 31
Chapter 7. Cities, towns and boroughs ...………………………………..………….page 33
Chapter 8. Education …………………….………………………………………… 34
Chapter 9. Public health and public safety …….…………………………………
Chapter 10. Culture ………………………………………………………………….page 34
10.1 Libraries……………………………………………………………………….page 35
10.2 Music ………………………………………………………………………… 35
Chapter 11. Alaska’s symbols…………………………………………………… 36
Outlook and conclusions..……………………………………………………………page 40
Bibliography...……………………………………………………………………… 41


I have chosen “Alaska” because this is a land of vast natural splendour, abundant
wildlife and few people. It offers unique experiences such as walking in wilderness, spectacular
cruising through the fjords of the Inside Passage, and frontier towns rich in gold rush history.
Alaska is one of USA’s most important and attractive regions and it will always let you unique
experiences, especially for those who search for adventures.
I have structured my work in eleven chapters.
The first chapter is named “Geography” and you can find in it some general
information about Alaska. Maybe a good reason to consider when deciding to visit this place is
the natural landscape, so I believe that you should read this chapter as it relates many interesting
things about the way Alaska looks like, which are the its regions and also some information
about them, the diversity of flora and fauna, which makes this land so special and unique but also
a few information about its climate.
In the next chapter, “History”, there is a short summary of Alaska’s most important
historical events, you can find how it was bought from Russia in 1867 for only 7.2 million USD,
which was the impact of discovering large amounts of oil and who were the first people to live
The next three chapters, “Demographics” , “Economy” and “Transportation” offer
some information about the way people live in Alaska, the way its population varied during the
time, some general information about the transport in Alaska, which are its main resources,
airports and the most common activities practiced there, but also its role in USA’s economy.
Chapter six and chapter seven, “Law and government” and “Cities, towns and
boroughs” offer some details about Alaska’s internal organization, the state’s politics and which
are the main cities from there, also including some information about these ones.
The next three chapters, “Education” , “Public health and public safety” and “Culture”
also allow you to find out some interesting things the cultural activities that take place in Alaska,
the importance given to the environment’s protection but also some information about the music
listened there or about the way you can get a book in order to read it.

The last chapter allows you to find out which are Alaska’s symbols, there are some
very interesting information about them and I believe you should read them.
The work ends with some conclusions regarding Alaska’s perspectives and future
development, as it has become an important land for the USA, that could offer many benefits and
because of that the USA has a great interest on it.

More than twice the size of Texas, Alaska is the largest state in the USA, a land of
vast natural splendour, abundant wildlife and few people. It offers unique experiences such as
walking in wilderness, spectacular cruising through the fjords of the Inside Passage, and frontier
towns rich in gold rush history.
Its sense of undiscovered wilderness and promise of adventure is still as strong today
as it was in the past, and having attracted thousands of pioneers in search of gold, fur, fishing,
logging and oil, this 'Last Frontier' today lures travellers in search of an unspoilt beauty and close
encounters with nature.
Known as the last frontier, Alaska originally attracted explorers and people who
dreamed of becoming rich during the famous gold rushes. Now, people are attracted to this
beautiful state for many interesting things. Along with its beauty and size, Alaska holds a great
history, world famous sites, and timeless traditions
Alaska isn't just a place you visit, it's a feeling you experience, and remember for a
lifetime. Imagine your vacation in Alaska for one moment. Your delight when you spot a grizzly
bear with a cub or two in tow. That instant when the silence of a misty fjord is shattered by a pod
of giant humpback whales, breaching high into the air, then crashing back against the sea. While
your floatplane flies over crystal glaciers, toward the midnight sun, remember: This is Alaska.
This is real. This is the adventure of a lifetime.
Travelling in Alaska is like travelling no other place on earth. There are 586,000
square miles of untamed wilderness here, and almost that many possibilities. Choose from
wildlife viewing, sea kayaking and guided glacier hikes. Relax aboard a one-day cruise, pan for
gold, bait a rod for Alaska’s world famous King salmon fishing. Alaska encompasses dozens of
ecosystems, from the dry Arctic tundra to the moist rainforests. Cruising the Inside Passage
continues to rank as one the most popular things to do in Alaska. Alaska is a grand American
vacation destination you don’t want to miss!

Alaska - Beyond your dreams. Within your reach! Alaska is a land of superlatives and
adventure. The Great Land consists of five distinct regions: Inside Passage, South-central,
Interior, Far North and Southwest

1. Geography
1.1 General information
Today, although it still has problems with communications and agriculture, the natural
beauty and mineral wealth of the country as well as its prized fishing and timber industries,
makes it a desirable place. Not to mention its strategic position, being only 84 km (52 miles)
from mainland Russia. Oil strikes indicate that Alaska may sit on one of the largest oil reserves
in the world.
Sometimes referred to as 'the last frontier' due to its small population and large
opportunities, it was an administrative territory of the US government from 1912 to 1959, when
it became the 49th State.
Total landmass is 1,518,800 sq kilometres (586,412 sq miles) and is more than twice
the size of Texas. It has 10,700 kilometres (6,640 miles) of rugged coastline and a wide array of
scenery. The southern coast sweeps in a wide arc from the south-east, encompassing the Gulf of
Alaska, to the chain of the Aleutian Islands in the west.
Moving inland, it rises steeply, particularly in the east where glaciers reach down to the
sea. Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet interrupt an otherwise never-ending coastline. The
Alaska Peninsula separates the southern coast from the Bering Sea, the coast of which is ice-
bound for most of the year. The coast then runs northwards indented by Bristol Bay, Norton
Sound and Kortzebue Sound and on to the Arctic Ocean.
Volcanic activity in Alaska is frequent, the whole length of the coastal mountain ranges
is geologically unstable and subject to earthquakes. The population is sparse and little damage to
property or human life occurs, notwithstanding the huge quake of 1964, which flattened many
parts of Anchorage.

1.2 Regions
One scheme for describing the state's geography is by labelling the regions:

• South Central Alaska is the southern coastal region and contains most of the
state's population. Anchorage and many growing towns, such as Eagle River, Palmer, and
Wasilla, lie within this area. Petroleum industrial plants, transportation, tourism, and two military
bases form the core of the economy here.
• The Alaska Panhandle, also known as Southeast Alaska, is home to many of
Alaska's larger towns including the state capital Juneau, tidewater glaciers, the many islands and
channels of the Alexander Archipelago and extensive forests. Tourism, fishing, forestry and state
government anchor the economy.
• Southwest Alaska is largely coastal, bordered by both the Pacific Ocean and the
Bering Sea. It is sparsely populated, and unconnected to the road system, but very important to
the fishing industry. Half of all fish caught in the U.S. come from the Bering Sea, and Bristol
Bay has the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery. Southwest Alaska includes Katmai and
Kodiak Island and the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. The region comprises western
Cook Inlet, Bristol Bay and its watersheds, the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands. It is
known for wet and stormy weather, tundra landscapes, and large populations of salmon, brown
bear, caribou, birds, and marine mammals. Except for the very northernmost part of the Alaska
Peninsula, south-western Alaska is almost completely treeless, due to the almost constant high
• The Alaska Interior is home to Fairbanks. The geography is marked by large
braided rivers, such as the Yukon River and the Kuskokwim River, as well as Arctic tundra lands
and shorelines.
• The Alaskan Bush is the remote, less crowded part of the state, encompassing
380 native villages and small towns such as Nome, Bethel, Kotzebue and, most famously,
Barrow, the northernmost town in the United States, as well as the northern most town on the
contiguous North American continent (cities in Greenland, the Northwest Territories, and
Nunavut that are farther north are on islands).
The northeast corner of Alaska is dominated by the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,
which covers 19,049,236 acres (77,090 km2). Much of the northwest is covered by the larger
National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska, which covers around 23,000,000 acres (93,100 km2). The
Arctic is Alaska's most remote wilderness. A location in the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska
is 120 miles (190 km) from any town or village, the geographic point most remote from
permanent habitation on the US mainland. The Rat Islands region in the Western Aleutians is
more than 200 miles (320 km) from the tiny settlements of Attu and Adak, and may be the

loneliest place in the United States. In 1971 the U.S. exploded an atomic bomb underground
here, on Amchitka Island.
With its myriad
islands, Alaska has nearly
34,000 miles (54,720 km) of
tidal shoreline. The Aleutian
Islands chain extends west
from the southern tip of the
Alaska Peninsula. Many
active volcanoes are found in
the Aleutians. Unimak Island,
for example, is home to
Mount Shishaldin, which is an
occasionally smoldering volcano that rises to 10,000 feet (3,000 m) above the North Pacific. It is
the most perfect volcanic cone on Earth, even more symmetrical than Japan's Mount Fuji. The
chain of volcanoes extends to Mount Spurr, west of Anchorage on the mainland.
One of North America's largest tides occurs in Turnagain Arm, just south of Anchorage
— tidal differences can be more than 35 feet (10.7 m). (Many sources say Turnagain has the
second-greatest tides in North America, but several areas in Canada have larger tides.)
Alaska has more than 3 million lakes. Marshlands and wetland permafrost cover
188,320 square miles (487,747 km2) (mostly in northern, western and southwest flatlands).
Frozen water, in the form of glacier ice, covers some 16,000 square miles (41,440 km2) of land
and 1,200 square miles (3,110 km2) of tidal zone. The Bering Glacier complex near the south-
eastern border with Yukon, Canada, covers 2,250 square miles (5,827 km2) alone.
The International Date Line jogs west of 180° to keep the whole state, and thus the
entire North American continent, within the same legal day.
According to an October 1998 report by the United States Bureau of Land
Management, approximately 65% of Alaska is owned and managed by the U.S. federal
government as public lands, including a multitude of national forests, national parks, and
national wildlife refuges. Of these, the Bureau of Land Management manages 87 million acres
(350,000 km²), or 23.8% of the state. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is managed by the
United States Fish and Wildlife Service. It is the World's largest wildlife Refuge, comprising 16
million acres (65,000 km2).

Of the remaining land area, the State of Alaska owns 101 million acres (410,000 km2);
another 44 million acres (180,000 km2) are owned by 13 regional and dozens of local Native
corporations created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. Thus, indirectly, the 84,000
Eskimo, Aleut and American Indian inhabitants of Alaska own one-ninth of the state. Various
private interests own the remaining land, totalling about 1% of the state.
Alaska is administratively divided into "boroughs", as opposed to "counties" or
"parishes." The function is the same, but whereas some states use a three-tiered system of
decentralization—state/county/township—most of Alaska uses only two tiers—state/borough.
Owing to the low population density, most of the land is located in the Unorganized Borough
which, as the name implies, has no intermediate borough government of its own, but is
administered directly by the state government. Currently (2000 census) 57.71% of Alaska's area
has this status, with 13.05% of the population. For statistical purposes the United States Census
Bureau divides this territory into census areas. Anchorage merged the city government with the
Greater Anchorage Area Borough in 1971 to form the Municipality of Anchorage, containing the
city proper and the bedroom communities of Eagle River, Chugiak, Peters Creek, Girdwood,
Bird, and Indian. Fairbanks has a separate borough (the Fairbanks North Star Borough) and
municipality (the City of Fairbanks).
Alaska is also home of the Mount McKinley mountain range which is the largest
mountain range in the United States (6,194m).

1.3 Climate
CLIMATIC ZONES – The geographical features already mentioned have a significant
effect on Alaska’s climate, which falls into five major zones. Reference is made to the section of
maps at the back, specifically to the map showing geographical subdivisions of Alaska. The
climate zones are: (1) a maritime Zone which includes south-eastern Alaska, the south coast, and
south-western islands; (2) a maritime continental zone which includes the western portions of
Bristol Bay and west-central zones. In this zone the summer temperatures are moderated by the
open waters of the Bering Sea, but winter temperatures are more continental in nature due to the
presence of sea ice during the coldest months of the year; (3) a transition zone between the
maritime and continental zones in the southern portion of the Copper River zone, the Cook Inlet
zone, and the northern extremes of the south coast zone; (4) a continental zone make up of the
remainders of the Copper River and west-central divisions, and the interior basin; and (5) an artic
zone, shown on the map as the arctic drainage division.

PRECIPITATION – In the maritime zone a coastal mountain range coupled with
plentiful moisture produces annual precipitation amounts up to 200 inches in the south-eastern
panhandle, and up to 150 inches along the northern coast of the Gulf of Alaska. Amounts
decrease to near 60 inches on the southern side of the Alaska Range in the Alaska Peninsula and
Aleutian Island sections. Precipitation amounts decrease rapidly to the north, with an average of
12 inches in the continental zone and less than 6 inches in the arctic region.
Snowfall makes up a large portion of the total annual precipitation. For example,
Yakutat averages 216 inches of snow annually and has a total annual precipitation (rain plus
water equivalent of snow) of about 130 inches. Along the arctic slope, Barrow receives an
average of 29 inches of snow annually and a total annual precipitation of slightly more than 4
inches. Total snow depths on the ground are controlled by the temperature of an area.
Fortunately, most of the areas of heavy snow have relatively mild temperatures which prevent
total depths from becoming excessive. Present-day snow removal equipment is able to keep
highways and airports operational.
Precipitation extremes are of interest. With reference to total amounts (both rain and
snow) and based on existing records, the greatest annual precipitation occurred at MacLeod
Harbor on Montague Island in the Gulf of Alaska with 332.29 inches in 1976. This station also
holds the record for monthly totals with 70.99 inches in November 1976.
The record maximum for 24 hours occurred on December 29, 1955, in the city of
Cordova (North Gulf of Alaska coast) with a measured amount of 14.13 inches. Snowfall
extremes are all credited to a station at Thompson Pass, which is on the highway north of
Valdez. The record measurements are: season (1952-53) 974.5 inches; month (February 1953)
298 inches; and 24-hour (December 1955) 62 inches.
TEMPERATURE – Mean annual temperatures in Alaska range from the low 40’s
under the maritime influence in the south to a chilly 10 degrees a long the Arctic Slope north of
the Brooks Mountain Range. The greatest seasonal temperature contrast between seasons is
found in the central and eastern portion of the continental interior. In this area summer heating
produces average maximum temperatures in the upper 70’s with extreme readings in the 90’s.
The highest recorded temperature for the state is 100 degrees at Fort Yukon in June 1915. In
winter the lack of sunshine permits radiation to lower temperatures to the minus 50’s and
occasionally colder for two or three weeks at a time. Average winter minimums in this area are
20 to 30 degrees below zero. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Alaska was minus 80
degrees at Prospect Creek on January 23, 1971.
Elsewhere in the state, temperature contrasts are much more moderate. In the maritime

zone the summer to winter range of average temperatures in from near 60 to the 20’s. In the
transition zone, temperatures range from the low 60’s to near zero; in the maritime-continental
zones the range is from the low 60’s to 10 below zero. The arctic slopes has a range extending
form the upper 40’s to 20 below zero.
Winter temperatures play a principal role in the flow of most of Alaska’s rivers.
Usually beginning in late October and extending into May (and sometimes early June for the
northernmost steams), thick layers of ice form, permitting passage with all types of heavy
equipment. In many areas construction work and oil exploration is done in winter because both
the ground and the streams are frozen hard enough from the use of the heaviest of equipment.
Several rivers cease to flow completely during the coldest months.
WIND – A normal storm track along the Aleutian Island chain, the Alaska Peninsula,
and all of the coastal area of the Gulf of Alaska exposes these parts of the state to a large
majority of the storms crossing the North Pacific, resulting in a variety of wind problems. Direct
exposure results in the frequent occurrence of winds in excess of 50 mph during all but the
summer months. Shemya, on the western end of the Aleutian Islands, has experienced winds on
an estimated 139 mph (estimated because the wind recorder pen could only record up to 128
mph). Wind velocities approaching 100 mph are not common but do occur, usually associated
with mountainous terrain and narrow passes. For years, strong winds have taken their toll of both
merchant and fishing vessels.
An occasional storm will either develop in or move into the Bering Sea then move
north or north-eastward, creating strong winds along the western coastal area. Because of the low
flat ground in many places along the coast, these winds will cause flooding during the time the
winds are blowing onshore. Winter storms moving eastward across the southern Arctic Ocean
cause winds of 50 mph or higher along the arctic coast. Except for local strong wind conditions,
winds are generally light in the interior sections.
Strong winds, or in fact any wind occurring in the areas of extreme winter cold, create a
definite hazard to personnel exposed for even brief periods of time. For example, (using a wind
chill chart developed by the U.S. Army) a temperature of a -13°F and an accompanying wind of
15 mph equals conditions that would be experienced with a temperature of –49 °F and no wind.
If the temperature is a -49° F and the winds 10 mph, the resulting equivalent temperature is -81°

1.4 Climate and the economy
TIMBER - wooded areas in the state total approximately 100 million acres of both
commercial and non-commercial timber. South-eastern Alaska is and always has been the
principal production area. Lumber and pulp mills are important contributors to the economy of
that portion of the state. In south-central Alaska high, barren mountains and numerous glaciers
limit the forests to about 10 to 20 percent of the total area. Some commercial logging has
occurred in the Tyonek area on the northwest shore of Cook Inlet and in the Matanuska-Susitna
Valley. Some forested land exists in the central interior and south-western portions along major
rivers like the Yukon and the Kuskokwim but, to date, has not been developed commercially. No
commercial timber is found north of the Brooks Range or along the western coastal region.
Western interior forested areas are limited to small isolated patches without permafrost.
FARMING – It is estimated that state-wide there are 18 to 20 million acres of land
potentially suitable for cropland, but less than 20 thousand acres are actually under or have been
under cultivation. The largest acreages are devoted to grass crops for hay, silage, and pasture.
Rangelands are widespread in the Alaska mainland. Wind caribou herds foraging on portions of
these lands have numbered in the hundreds of thousands and are an important source of protein
in many Alaska villages. Cattle and sheep are raised in areas of the Kenai Peninsula, the Alaska
Peninsula, and the Aleutian Islands, and small herds of reindeer are raised on the tundra lands of
the Seaward Peninsula. Vegetable crops, especially potatoes, are also important, and limited mild
production in the Matanuska Valley north of Anchorage and the Tanana Valley near Fairbanks
provide fresh dairy products to local residents. Within the agricultural areas the growing season
averages 80 to 110 days each year. This is a short growing season, but the daily potential of 16 to
19 hours of sunshine each day produces some of the finest and largest vegetables grown
MINERAL – Oil is by far the most important mineral product at this time. Current
commercial production is at Prudhoe Bay, the Kenai Peninsula, and offshore Cook Inlet.
Production from the Prudhoe Bay field is now at 750,000 barrels per day and is projected to
reach 1.2 million barrels per day by the end of 1978. The trans-Alaska pipeline, completed in
1977, transports this crude petroleum from the Prudhoe Bay field on the North Slope of Alaska
to a refinery at North Pole and to Valdez, a deepwater port in the northern Gulf of Alaska. The
petroleum is then moved by oceangoing tankers to refineries in Alaska and the contiguous 48
states. Exploration for additional petroleum is in progress in several land areas and on the outer
continental shelf from the Gulf of Alaska to the Beaufort Sea coast. Commercial gas wells are

producing in the Barrow area and the Kenai Peninsula, and a large pipeline is expected to be
built in the next 5 to 10 years to transport Prudhoe Bay gas to the lower 48 states.
Coal is mined in the Healy area, and several other large deposits have been located but
are not commercially mined. Gold mining has resumed in the vicinity of Nome, bornite is mined
in the vicinity of Kobuk, and platinum of the Bering Sea coast. All other types of mining area of
a minor nature but are expected to develop as problems or transportation and production coasts
are solved.
FISHING – The fishing industry, which includes the taking of crab and shrimp, is
another leading industry in Alaska. Commercial fishing occurs along the entire Alaska coast but
is heaviest in the south-eastern Bering Sea, along the Aleutian Islands, and around the coast of
the Gulf of Alaska. Salmon have been the main product, but shellfish particularly ding and
tanner crab and shrimp, are becoming more important. A new fishery for bottom fish is emerging
with the implementation of the U.S. zone of extended jurisdiction within 200 miles of the coast.
Halibut have also long been an important part of the harvest. In recent years, at least one Alaskan
port has been listed among the top 10 U.S. ports in terms of both pounds of fisheries products
landed and total economic value of the landings.
TOURISM – Out-of-state visitors have been increasing in number each year. Because
of the airplane, tourism extends into nearly every part of the state. This is particularly true if
game hunting is included. Hunting for bear, caribou, moose, and sheep draws hundreds of people
to the state each year and contributes many thousands of dollars to the economy.

Alaska is home to several various plants, animals, and insects because it is such a
big and diverse state. It has the climate of the southern regions which can be compared to the
climate of Washington and Oregon. Then there is the North Slope that can be compared to that
of Siberia. It has some of the most common plants and animals in the world, yet we have some
that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Alaska winters are harsh requiring most warm-blooded mammals to put on weight
and grow heavier coats to prepare for the winter. Then there are other, more customized
adaptations. In some large herbivores such as caribou and musk oxen, special nasal passages are
designed to capture heat that would otherwise escape as steamy breath. Arctic wolves have
specialized blood vessels in their paws that keep pad temperatures about one degree above
freezing. Some winter residents avoid the whole climate challenge by hibernating.
These plants, animals, and insect are not all of the flora and fauna in Alaska by any
means. These samples are just a few of the major flora and fauna of the interior.
There are a wonderful variety of wild animals that live in Alaska. Depending on
where you visit, you can find a vast array of mammals, birds or marine life. Many of the wild
animals that live in Alaska can be found in the state's many wildlife refuges.
As home to the white polar bear, the brown or grizzly bear and the black bear, most
of the Alaskan territory is considered bear country, or, as a camper or hiker may say, "beware"
country. Bears are probably the most frequently seen wild animals that live in Alaska. The
Kodiak bear calls the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge his home, which was established in 1941
in order to protect some of the Alaska native animals. Alaska bears are not only found in the
wild. They are often discovered in big cities such as Juneau, Anchorage and Fairbanks. Since
they are often found near garbage dumpsters, it behoves you to exercise caution. Be particularly
weary of mothers with cubs.
In 1928, 23 American Bison were transplanted to Alaska. They replaced the wild
herd that had died out about 500 years ago. There are several hundred American Bison in
Alaska. The Musk Ox was also reintroduced in order to restore a species of Alaska native
animals that hunters eliminated in 1865. Although a number the Alaskan animals are native to
the area, others are introduced species.

Alaska Native Animals

Brown Bear
There are over 2,700 brown bears living in Alaska. Most of them reside on the
Kodiak Island archipelago. The adult
female bears are rarely seen on the
road. Like any traditional housewife,
they stay home to protect the babies.

Since Mama Bear usually weighs between 400-600 pounds, you can bet that they don't have a
membership to Curves. However, with weights up to 1,500 pounds, Papa Bear is even bigger.
Little Brown Bat
Don't go into the attic! There are bats on the rafters! This tiny critter comes out at
night to find the best places to do on insects. Weighing only 1/4 ounce, it has no need of the
Short-Tailed Weasel
Also known as ermine, this is animal is a highly active predator. Its fur turns
white in the winter, which means it often ends up as a coat on the backs of wealthy women.

Red Fox
Red Fox can either be red or silver. Although some black foxes can be seen in
Alaska, they are considered to be a colour phase of the red fox. Foxes can occasionally be seen
along the Alaska road system.
Many of the animals in Alaska
are introduced species. These include:
· Sitka Black-Tailed Deer
· Roosevelt Elk
· Mountain Goat
· Muskrat
· Beaver
· Red Squirrel
· Snowshoe Hare

Please remember that feeding the animals in Alaska can be dangerous to both
humans as well as the animals themselves. If you are in bear country, make a lot of noise as you
approach. Bears do not like surprises. If you are camping, do not keep food in your tent. Be
especially weary of moose. They will attack without provocation.


Hunting in Alaska is best described by region. The type of Alaska hunting trip will
vary throughout the entire state. Deer hunting is available in Southeast Alaska's coastal

rainforest, whereas musk ox hunting is practiced on the tundra of western Alaska. South Central
Alaska is famous for Dall sheep hunting. The world-famous Kodiak is known for Alaska bear
Alaska Moose Hunting
If you are interested in Alaska moose hunting, you will want to head for the hills of
the Interior. Because there are so many moose throughout Alaska, they have been crucial to the
development of the state. Alaska moose hunting was once the primary method 0f supplying meat
to the mining camps. Throughout the history of Alaska, moose were used as a source of food and
clothing. Today, Alaskans harvest approximately 6,000 to 8,000 moose. This translates into 3.5
million pounds of meat. Since this is high quality meat, anyone on an Alaska moose-hunting trip
is legally bound to salvage this meat for human consumption. If you end up with more moose
meat than you will need, consider donating the excess to the Alaskan Hunters Fighting Hunger
You will need to need to sign a transfer of possession form and drop the game of
at one of Food Bank of Alaska's airline partners: Northern Air Cargo, ERA and Pentair. These
partners will transport the game to Anchorage, where game processors will clean, grind and
package the game for use by the nonprofit agencies involved in feeding feed hungry men,
women and children throughout the entire state of Alaska.

Bear Hunting
The best Alaska bear hunting areas are found in the tidal areas in Prince William
Sound southward through the panhandle of Alaska. Early May through early June is usually the
best time for Alaska bear hunting. If you plan to use bear flesh for food, you must be certain that
it is well-cooked. Alaska bears have been known to have trichinosis, which can be transmitted to
humans who eating infected meat that is not cooked thoroughly. It also behoves you to realize
that bears are extremely powerful animals that are capable of being dangerous to humans.
Although they are cautious and secretive, they will defend their food supply against anyone who
they perceive as an intruder. This is important to be aware of if you are hunting in Alaska.
Although hunting in Alaska can be an exciting experience, there are inherent
dangers associated with the sport. These include, but are not limited to dangerous game, early
winter weather, and distance from any viable source of help. Observe all safety precautions, and
consider the services of an Alaska hunting guide.

Alaska Fishing Guides

Do you have dreams

about catching that record-breaking
king salmon or trophy rainbow
trout? If you are planning a fishing
trip to Alaska, the highly
experienced Alaska fishing guides
can make your dreams come true!
Although there are many fishing
guides throughout the state, your best option is to obtain the services of professional Alaska
fishing guides who work for an established Alaska fishing lodge. Since lodge owners will not
sacrifice their reputations with unqualified guides, these Alaska fishing guides will definitely be
licensed professionals.
The State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game statistics show that anglers who
do not engage the services of an Alaska fly fishing guide will spend close to 40 hours fishing
before they will even hook a fish. Fishing vacationers who used an Alaska fly fishing guide only
spend a few hours before they hook and land their fish. Given that your Alaska fishing vacation
may be of short duration, an Alaska fly fishing guide may make help you optimize your time.
Your guide will have extensive knowledge about where to find the best fishing locations, He will
also be able to provide you with best fishing equipment and tackle.
You can also find Alaska fishing guides that specialize in a specific type of fish.
For example, if you plan on fishing for halibut, you should know that Alaska Halibut sport
fishing tackle is highly specialized. Most fishing boat captains are reluctant to reveal the secrets
of their techniques and fishing spots. Therefore, it behoves you to engage the services of a guide.
Alaska halibut are usually caught on heavy duty, but limber rods that contain small pulleys as
guides. Additionally, the rods may have heavy-duty level wind reels with 60- 120 lb test lines
Quite often, a less experienced angler will lose a rod when they hook their first Alaska halibut by
jigging. In this case, the guidance of an Alaska fly-fishing guide would prove to be beneficial.
Unless you are a highly experienced angler, if you plan on fishing for any of the
Alaskan breeds of salmon, you should definitely consider the services of an Alaska salmon
fishing guide. Experienced Alaska salmon fishing guides have valuable knowledge about boat

handling and water conditions. Most of the Alaska salmon fishing guides take their guest out on
powerboats that cruise along the Kenai River and the Kasilof Rivers.
With nearly 24 hours of daylight during fishing season, you will have plenty of
time for fishing on your Alaska vacation. Why not make the most of that time by engaging the
services of a fishing guide? Alaska and the fish are waiting! Book your trip now!

2. History
2.1 Alaska Native Peoples
The land now known as the state of Alaska has been continuously inhabited by Native
peoples for thousands of years: the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian of the south-eastern coastal
rainforest; the Athabascan tribes of the interior; the Aleut people of the Aleutian Chain and
Pribilof Islands; the Yupik people of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and coastal southwest
Alaska; and the Inupiat of the northern coast of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. The Aleut word
alaxsxag or agunalaksh, meaning the "great land" or "shores where the sea breaks its back" may
be the source of the name "Alaska." The Aleut people have lived in the Aleutian Islands for
approximately 6,000 years.
The native peoples of Alaska, comprising distinct languages, cultures, and traditions,
share a close connection with the land and sea. As Justice Thomas Berger writes in Village
Journey: "The traditional economy is based on subsistence activities that require special skills
and a complex understanding of the local environment that enables people to live directly from
the land." Subsistence is a word used to describe the hunting, fishing, and gathering traditions of
Alaska Native peoples that includes the cultural and spiritual values of respect, sharing, love of
the land, and integral relations among humans, animals, and the environment. "If you respect
things and look at them as having a spirit or being, then you're in a place where you're at a
balance. You look at the world that way and respect it and you see that it's providing you with a
way of life, and your kids."- Gabriel George, Angoon

2.2 History of Exploitation

Alaska's recent history of the last 250 years is punctuated by a series of boom-and-bust
cycles of exploitation of natural resources by European, Asian and European-American colonists
in search of fur, whales, gold, copper, salmon, and oil. Promyshlenniki, or Russian fur traders,

arrived in Alaska in the 1740's.
Traders from Siberia exploited
the superior kayaking and
hunting skills of the Aleut people
by forcing them into slavery to
kill sea otters from Alaska to
Baja California. In the sixty
years following Vitus Bering's
claim of Alaska for Russia in 1741, the Aleut population declined from 15,000 to 2,000. People
died from European diseases such as smallpox and measles for which they had no immunity. The
northern coast of Alaska was invaded by the "original oil men from the South," the Yankee
whalers in search of whale oil and baleen, who nearly decimated the bowhead whale population
in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in the mid-1800's.
As Russia wiped out the sea otters, its interest in Alaska waned. In 1867, the Tsar of
Russia reached an agreement with then U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward to sell Alaska
to the United States for 7.2 million USD, about 2 cents per acre. Seward was widely criticized
for the deal to acquire what some perceived as a frozen wasteland and the agreement became
known as "Seward's folly." For Seward, the agreement fulfilled his dream of manifest destiny.
The sovereign rights of the Alaska Native peoples were ignored in the transaction.
In the decades that followed, gold strikes began in southeast Alaska and expanded into
Interior Alaska and to the Bering Sea around Nome. The gold rush rapidly transformed Alaska.
Outsiders with gold fever now numbered in the thousands. Early efforts to establish Alaska as a
state failed, although in 1906 Alaska had a non-voting delegate in the U.S. House of
Representatives. Railroads and roads were built to facilitate the export of gold, copper, and coal.
World War II and the Cold War highlighted Alaska's strategic importance and ended
the Territory's political isolation. In 1942, the 1,400 mile Alaska Canada Military Highway
between Dawson Creek, British Columbia and Delta Junction near Fairbanks, was built in 8
months at a cost of $138 million. Alaska's strategic military significance and growing economic
importance with the prospect of oil, prompted Congress to approve Alaska's statehood in 1958.
Alaska became the 49th state.

2.3 Oil!
In 1902, the New York Times reported: "An immense oil gusher was struck at Cotella

[sic] on the south Alaskan coast. An important new industry is thus added to Alaska's resources."
The Katalla discovery, about 110 miles southeast of Valdez, only resulted in a local boom and
dreams were dashed when the small refinery was destroyed by fire in 1933. The search for
commercial discoveries of oil had begun. Irene Ryan, a geological engineer and bush pilot
stated: "I felt people should be looking for oil instead of gold. Everyone thought I was nuts."
In the early 1950's, nationalization of Iran's oil fields and attempts to close the Suez
Canal led oil companies to seriously approach potential oil reserves in Alaska. Oil companies
began to purchase vast acreage in oil leases, with over 5 million acres leased by the end of 1955.
After about 165 consecutive oil well failures by oil companies in Alaska, Richfield, a small
California company that later merged with Atlantic Refining and became ARCO, struck oil in
the Swanson River area of the Kenai Peninsula in 1957. The well soon produced 900 barrels of
oil per day, the first commercially productive well in Alaska. The Kenai Peninsula and Cook
Inlet region became an important producer of oil and natural gas, with 15 offshore oil platforms,
on-shore oil and gas production, large processing, refining, and transportation facilities.
Atlantic Richfield struck an 'elephant' field at Prudhoe Bay along the Beaufort Sea
coast in 1968. With a capacity of 10 billion barrels, it became the country's largest oilfield. Oil
companies honed in like sharks. In 1969, Alaska received over $900 million in one oil lease sale
alone. Five years after the Prudhoe Bay discovery, Congress approved construction of the Trans-
Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), with then Vice-President Spiro Agnew casting the deciding
vote in the United States Senate. The pipeline, operated by a consortium of seven oil companies
forming Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, traverses 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay to tidewater
in Valdez on Prince William Sound. On June 20, 1977 the first oil from Prudhoe Bay flowed
southward. At peak capacity, TAPS carried 2 million barrels of oil per day. Nearly one-tenth of
the crude oil consumed in the United States flows from Prudhoe Bay through TAPS.

2.4 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act

Oil companies lobbied hard for the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
(ANCSA) because they feared that Native claims along the proposed TAPS route might prohibit
the granting of right of way. ANCSA, passed in 1971, gave Alaska Natives title to 44 million
acres and $962 million to settle aboriginal land claims. ANCSA was the largest land claim
settlement in U.S. history. Each Alaska Native became a stockholder and received 100 shares in
one of twelve regional corporations. ANCSA was set up for failure. ANCSA was negotiated by
few who did not represent most Alaska Native people. As Lillian Liliabas questioned: "Who

voted for ANCSA? You won't find ten people on the Kuskokwim who voted for ANCSA." "The
imposition of a settlement of land claims that is based on corporate structures was an
inappropriate choice. The village has lost its political and social autonomy."-Justice Thomas
Alaska Native tribes are asserting their rights to protect their lands and subsistence way
of life through legal and political avenues. A lower court ruling known as the Venetie decision
established that ANCSA did not extinguish many tribal rights of self-governance. The State of
Alaska spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and successfully battled to overturn this decision.
The schism between rural and urban Alaskans continues to widen amid growing accusations that
the state legislature is racist.

2.5 Politicians Bought and Sold

Fully 85% of Alaska's government revenue comes from the oil and gas industry.
Industry contributions also fill a hefty portion of the politicians' campaign chests. Many
Alaskans are lulled into complacency with the average of about $1,000 per year return on the
Permanent Fund Dividend, a state-managed trust fund created from oil royalties. In turn, the oil
industry receives little scrutiny from state and federal regulators.
The lack of government oversight of the oil industry in Alaska has created serious
problems that threaten the environment, human health and safety. The tragic Exxon Valdez oil
spill that poisoned over 1,000 miles of Alaska's coastline was a culmination of government
complacency. A recent report commissioned by the Alaska Forum for Environmental
Responsibility concludes that "Alyeska's efforts are not sufficient to protect the environment
TAPS crosses, and the health and safety of its workers, from the risks of an aging pipeline." Oil
companies in Cook Inlet committed thousands of violations of their Clean Water Act permit
from 1987-1995. With a special exemption for Cook Inlet, EPA allows the oil industry to dump
millions of pounds of toxic waste each year.
Despite its failure to act responsibly, the industry is granted access to virtually the
entire coastline of the Beaufort Sea and Cook Inlet through special area-wide state and vast
federal lease sales. The state has spent millions of dollars to lobby Congress to open the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge to oil development, a move supported by Alaska's Congressional
delegation. Meanwhile, the industry encroaches on the borders of the Refuge through its
Warthog, Sourdough, and other prospects. The Minerals Management Service is offering lease
sales in the Chukchi, Beaufort, Gulf of Alaska, and Cook Inlet. Plans to open the National

Petroleum Reserve are also proceeding.

3. Demographics

Historical populations Pop. %±

1950 128,643 —

1960 226,167 75.8%

1970 300,382 32.8%

1980 401,851 33.8%

1990 550,043 36.9%

2000 626,932 14.0%

Est. 2008 686,293 9.5%

The United States Census Bureau, as of July 1, 2008, estimated Alaska's population at
686,293, which represents an increase of 59,362, or 9.5%, since the last census in 2000. This
includes a natural increase since the last census of 60,994 people (that is 86,062 births minus
25,068 deaths) and a decrease due to net migration of 5,469 people out of the state. Immigration
from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 4,418 people, and migration within
the country produced a net loss of 9,887 people. In 2000 Alaska ranked 48th out of 50 states by
population. Alaska is the least densely populated state, and one of the most sparsely-populated
areas in the world, at 1.0 people per square mile (0.42/km²), with the next state, Wyoming, at 5.1
per square mile (1.97/km²). It is the largest U.S. state by area, and the 6th wealthiest (per capita

3.1 Race and ancestry

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 69.3% of single-race Alaska residents were
Caucasian and 15.6% were Native American or Alaska Native, the largest proportion of any
state. Multiracial/Mixed-Race people are the third largest group of people in the state, totalling
6.9% of the population. The largest self-reported ancestry groups in the state are German

(16.6%), Alaska Native or American Indian (15.6%), Irish (10.8%), British (9.6%), American
(5.7%), and Norwegian (4.2%).
The vast sparsely populated regions of northern and western Alaska are primarily
inhabited by Alaska Natives, who are also numerous in the southeast. Anchorage, Fairbanks, and
other parts of south-central and southeast Alaska have many whites of northern and western
European ancestry. The Wrangell-Petersburg area has many residents of Scandinavian ancestry
and the Aleutians contain a large Filipino population. Most of the state's black population lives in
Anchorage, though Fairbanks also has a sizable black population.

3.2 Languages
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 85.7% of Alaska residents aged 5 and older speak
English at home. The next most common languages are Spanish (2.88%), Yupik (2.87%),
Filipino (1.54%), and Iñupiaq (1.06%). A total of 5.2% of Alaskans speak one of the state's 22
indigenous languages, known locally as Native American languages, of which most are

3.3 Religion
Alaska has been identified, along with Pacific Northwest states Washington and
Oregon, as being the least religious in the U.S. According to statistics collected by the
Association of Religion Data Archives, only about 39% of Alaska residents were members of
religious congregations. Evangelical Protestants had 78,070 members, Roman Catholics had
54,359, and mainline Protestants had 37,156. After Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, the largest
single denominations are Mormons with 29,460, Southern Baptists with 22,959, and Orthodox
with 20,000. The large Eastern Orthodox (with 49 parishes and up to 50,000 followers,
population is a result of early Russian colonization and missionary work among Alaska Natives.
In 1795, the First Russian Orthodox Church was established in Kodiak. Intermarriage with
Alaskan Natives helped the Russian immigrants integrate into society. As a result, more and
more Russian Orthodox churches gradually became established within Alaska. Alaska also has
the largest Quaker population (by percentage) of any state. In 2003 there were 3,000 Jews in
Alaska (for whom observance of the mitzvah may pose special problems). Estimates for the
number of Alaskan Muslims range from 2,000 to 5,000. Hindus are also represented through a
number of temples and associations and adherents number over one thousand. Alaskan Hindus
often share venues and celebrations with members of other religious communities including

Sikhs and Jains.

4. Economy

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline

transports oil, Alaska's most
important export, from the North
Slope to Valdez. Pertinent are the heat
pipes in the column mounts

The 2005 gross state product was $39.9 billion, 45th in the nation. Its per-capita GSP
for 2006 was $43,748, 7th in the nation. The oil and gas industry dominates the Alaskan
economy, with more than 80% of the state's revenues derived from petroleum extraction.
Alaska's main export product (excluding oil and natural gas) is seafood, primarily salmon, cod,
Pollock and crab. Agriculture represents only a fraction of the Alaskan economy. Agricultural
production is primarily for consumption within the state and includes nursery stock, dairy
products, vegetables, and livestock. Manufacturing is limited, with most foodstuffs and general
goods imported from elsewhere. Employment is primarily in government and industries such as
natural resource extraction, shipping, and transportation. Military bases are a significant
component of the economy in both Fairbanks and Anchorage. Federal subsidies are also an
important part of the economy, allowing the state to keep taxes low. Its industrial outputs are
crude petroleum, natural gas, coal, gold, precious metals, zinc and other mining, seafood
processing, timber and wood products. There is also a growing service and tourism sector.
Tourists have contributed to the economy by supporting local lodging.

4.1 Energy
Alaska has vast energy resources. Major oil and gas reserves are found in the Alaska

North Slope (ANS) and Cook Inlet basins. According to the Energy Information Administration,
Alaska ranks second in the nation in crude oil production. Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope
is the highest yielding oil field in the United States and on North America, typically producing
about 400,000 barrels per day (64,000 m³/d). The Trans-Alaska Pipeline can pump up to 2.1
million barrels (330,000 m3) of crude oil per day, more than any other crude oil pipeline in the
United States. Additionally, substantial coal deposits are found in Alaska’s bituminous, sub-
bituminous, and lignite coal basins. The United States Geological Survey estimates that there are
85.4 trillion cubic feet (2,420 km3) of undiscovered, technically recoverable gas from natural gas
hydrates on the Alaskan North Slope. Alaska also offers some of the highest hydroelectric power
potential in the country from its numerous rivers. Large swaths of the Alaskan coastline offer
wind and geothermal energy potential as well.
Alaska's economy depends heavily on increasingly expensive diesel fuel for heating,
transportation, electric power and light. Though wind and hydroelectric power are abundant and
underutilized, proposals for state-wide energy systems (e.g. with special low-cost electric
interties) were judged uneconomical (at the time of the report, 2001) due to low (<$0.50/Gal)
fuel prices, long distances and low population. The cost of a gallon of gas in urban Alaska today
is usually $0.30-$0.60 higher than the national average; prices in rural areas are generally
significantly higher but vary widely depending on transportation costs, seasonal usage peaks,
nearby petroleum development infrastructure and many other factors.
Alaska accounts for 1/5 (20%) of domestically produced United States oil production.
Prudhoe Bay (North America's largest oil field) alone accounts for 8% of the United States
domestic oil production.

4.2 Permanent Fund

The Alaska Permanent Fund is a legislatively controlled appropriation established in
1976 to manage a surplus in state petroleum revenues from the recently constructed Trans-
Alaska Pipeline System. From its initial principal of $734,000, the fund has grown to $40 billion
as a result of oil royalties and capital investment programs. Starting in 1982, dividends from the
fund's annual growth have been paid out each year to eligible Alaskans, ranging from $331.29 in
1984 to $3,269.00 in 2008 (which included a one-time $1200 "Resource Rebate"). Every year,
the state legislature takes out 8 percent from the earnings, puts 3 percent back into the principal
for inflation proofing, and the remaining 5 percent is distributed to all qualifying Alaskans. To
qualify for the Alaska State Permanent Fund one must have lived in the state for a minimum of

12 months, and maintain constant residency.

4.3 Cost of living

The cost of goods in Alaska has long been higher than in the contiguous 48 states. This
has changed for the most part in Anchorage and to a lesser extent in Fairbanks, where the cost of
living has dropped somewhat in the past five years. Federal government employees, particularly
United States Postal Service (USPS) workers and active-duty military members, receive a Cost
of Living Allowance usually set at 25% of base pay because, while the cost of living has gone
down, it is still one of the highest in the country.
The introduction of big-box stores in Anchorage, Fairbanks (Wal-Mart in March 2004),
and Juneau also did much to lower prices. However, rural Alaska suffers from extremely high
prices for food and consumer goods, compared to the rest of the country due to the relatively
limited transportation infrastructure. Many rural residents come into these cities and purchase
food and goods in bulk from warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam's Club. Some have embraced
the free shipping offers of some online retailers to purchase items much more cheaply than they
could in their own communities, if they are available at all.

4.4 Agriculture
Due to the northern climate and steep terrain, relatively little farming occurs in Alaska.
Most farms are in either the Matanuska Valley, about 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Anchorage,
or on the Kenai Peninsula, about 60 miles (97 km) southwest of Anchorage. The short 100-day
growing season limits the crops that can be grown, but the long sunny summer days make for
productive growing seasons. The primary crops are potatoes, carrots, lettuce, corn, and cabbage.
Farmers exhibit produce at the Alaska State Fair. "Alaskan Grown" is used as an agricultural
Alaska has an abundance of seafood, with the primary fisheries in the Bering Sea and
the North Pacific, and seafood is one of the few food items that is often cheaper within the state
than outside it. Many Alaskans fish the rivers during Salmon season to gather significant
quantities of their household diet while fishing for subsistence, sport, or both.
Hunting for subsistence, primarily caribou, moose, and sheep is still common in the
state, particularly in remote Bush communities. An example of a traditional native food is
Akutaq, the Eskimo ice cream, which can consist of reindeer fat, seal oil, dried fish meat and
local berries.
Most food in Alaska is transported into the state from "outside", and shipping costs

make food in the cities relatively expensive. In rural areas, subsistence hunting and gathering is
an essential activity because imported food is prohibitively expensive. The cost of importing
food to villages begins at $0.07/lb and rises rapidly to $0.50/lb or more. The cost of delivering a
7-pound gallon of milk is about $3.50 in many villages where per capita income can be $20,000
or less. Fuel for snow machines and boats that consume a couple gallons per hour can exceed

5. Transportation

5.1 Roads
Alaska has few road connections compared to the rest of the U.S. The state's road
system covers a relatively small area
of the state, linking the central
population centres and the Alaska
Highway, the principal route out of
the state through Canada. The state
capital, Juneau, is not accessible by
road, only a car ferry, which has
spurred several debates over the
decades about moving the capital to
a city on the road system, or building
a road connection from Haines. The
western part of Alaska has no road
system connecting the communities
with the rest of Alaska.
One unique feature of the Alaska Highway system is the Anton Anderson Memorial
Tunnel, an active Alaska Railroad tunnel recently upgraded to provide a paved roadway link
with the isolated community of Whittier on Prince William Sound to the Seward Highway about
50 miles (80 km) southeast of Anchorage. At 2.5 miles (4.0 km) the tunnel was the longest road
tunnel in North America until 2007. The tunnel is the longest combination road and rail tunnel in
North America.

5.2 Rail
Built around 1915, the Alaska
Railroad (ARR) played a key role in the
development of Alaska through the 20th
century. It links north Pacific shipping
through providing critical infrastructure
with tracks that run from Seward to
Interior Alaska via South Central Alaska,
passing through Anchorage, Eklutna,
Wasilla, Talkeetna, Denali, and Fairbanks,
with spurs to Whittier, Palmer and North Pole. The cities, towns, villages, and region served by
ARR tracks are known state-wide as "The Railbelt". In recent years, the ever-improving paved
highway system began to eclipse the railroad's importance in Alaska's economy.
The railroad, though famed for its summertime tour passenger service, played a vital
role in Alaska's development, moving freight into Alaska while transporting natural resources
southward (i.e., coal from the Usibelli coal mine near Healy to Seward and gravel from the
Matanuska Valley to Anchorage.)
The Alaska Railroad was one of the last railroads in North America to use cabooses in
regular service and still uses them on some gravel trains. It continues to offer one of the last flag
stop routes in the country. A stretch of about 60 miles (100 km) of track along an area north of
Talkeetna remains inaccessible by road; the railroad provides the only transportation to rural
homes and cabins in the area; until construction of the Parks Highway in the 1970s, the railroad
provided the only land access to most of the region along its entire route.
In northern Southeast Alaska, the White Pass and Yukon Railroad also partly runs
through the State from Skagway northwards into Canada (British Columbia and Yukon
Territory), crossing the border at White Pass Summit. This line is now mainly used by tourists,
often arriving by cruise liner at Skagway. It featured in the 1983 BBC television series Great
Little Railways.

5.3 Marine transport

Most cities, towns and villages in the state do not have road or highway access; the
only modes of access involve travel by air, river, or the sea.

Alaska's well-developed state-owned ferry system (known as the Alaska Marine
Highway) serves the cities of Southeast, the Gulf Coast and the Alaska Peninsula. The system
also operates a ferry service from Bellingham, Washington and Prince Rupert, British Columbia
in Canada via the Inside Passage to Skagway. The Inter-Island Ferry Authority also serves as an
important marine link for many communities in the Prince of Wales Island region of Southeast
and works in concert with the Alaska Marine Highway.
In recent years, large cruise ships began creating a summertime tourism market, mainly
connecting the Pacific Northwest to Southeast Alaska and, to a lesser degree, towns along the
north gulf coast. Several times each summer, the population of Ketchikan sharply rises for a few
hours when two ships dock to debark more than a thousand passengers each while four other
ships lie at anchor nearby, waiting their turn at the dock.

5.4 Air transport

Cities not served by
road or sea can be reached only
by air or by hiking/dogsled,
accounting for Alaska's
extremely well-developed bush
air services—an Alaskan
novelty. Anchorage itself, and
to a lesser extent Fairbanks, are
serviced by many major
airlines. Air travel is the
cheapest and most efficient
form of transportation in and out of the state. Anchorage recently completed extensive
remodeling and construction at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport to help
accommodate the upsurge in tourism (in 2000–2001, the latest year for which data is available,
2.4 million total arrivals to Alaska were counted, 1.7 million via air travel; 1.4 million were
Regular flights to most villages and towns within the state that are commercially viable
are challenging to provide, so they are heavily subsidized by the federal government through the
Essential Air Service program. Alaska Airlines is the only major airline offering in-state travel
with jet service (sometimes in combination cargo and passenger Boeing 737-400s) from

Anchorage and Fairbanks to regional hubs like Bethel, Nome, Kotzebue, Dillingham, Kodiak,
and other larger communities as well as to major Southeast and Alaska Peninsula communities.
The bulk of remaining commercial flight offerings come from small regional commuter airlines
such as Era Aviation, PenAir, and Frontier Flying Service. The smallest towns and villages must
rely on scheduled or chartered bush flying services using general aviation aircraft such as the
Cessna Caravan, the most popular aircraft in use in the state. Much of this service can be
attributed to the Alaska bypass mail program which subsidizes bulk mail delivery to Alaskan
rural communities. The program requires 70% of that subsidy to go to carriers who offer
passenger service to the communities. Perhaps the most quintessentially Alaskan plane is the
bush seaplane. The world's busiest seaplane base is Lake Hood, located next to Ted Stevens
Anchorage International Airport, where flights bound for remote villages without an airstrip
carry passengers, cargo, and many items from stores and warehouse clubs. Alaska has the
highest number of pilots per capita of any U.S. state: out of the estimated 663,661 residents,
8,550 are pilots, or about one in 78.

5.5 Other transport

Another Alaskan transportation method is the dogsled. In modern times (that is, any
time after the mid-late 1920s), dog mushing is more of a sport than a true means of
transportation. Various races are held around the state, but the best known is the Iditarod Trail
Sled Dog Race, a 1150-mile (1850 km) trail from Anchorage to Nome (although the mileage
varies from year to year, the official distance is set at 1049 miles). The race commemorates the
famous 1925 serum run to Nome in which mushers and dogs like Togo and Balto took much-
needed medicine to the diphtheria-stricken community of Nome when all other means of
transportation had failed. Mushers from all over the world come to Anchorage each March to
compete for cash, prizes, and prestige. The "Serum Run" is another sled dog race that more
accurately follows the route of the famous 1925 relay, leaving from the community of Nenana
(southwest of Fairbanks) to Nome.
In areas not served by road or rail, primary transportation in summer is by all-terrain
vehicle and in winter by snowmobile or "snow machine," as it is commonly referred to in

6. Law and government

6.1 State government

Like all other U.S. states, Alaska is governed as a republic, with three branches of
government: an executive branch consisting of the Governor of Alaska and the other
independently elected constitutional officers; a legislative branch consisting of the Alaska House
of Representatives and Alaska Senate; and a judicial branch consisting of the Alaska Supreme
Court and lower courts.
The State of Alaska employs approximately 15,000 employees state-wide.
The Alaska Legislature consists of a 40-member House of Representatives and a 20-
member Senate. Senators serve four year terms and House members two. The Governor of
Alaska serves four-year terms. The lieutenant governor runs separately from the governor in the
primaries, but during the general election, the nominee for governor and nominee for lieutenant
governor run together on the same ticket.
Alaska's court system has four levels: the Alaska Supreme Court, the court of appeals,
the superior courts and the district courts. The superior and district courts are trial courts.
Superior courts are courts of general jurisdiction, while district courts only hear certain types of
cases, including misdemeanor criminal cases and civil cases valued up to $100,000. The
Supreme Court and the Court Of Appeals are appellate courts. The Court Of Appeals is required
to hear appeals from certain lower-court decisions, including those regarding criminal
prosecutions, juvenile delinquency, and habeas corpus. The Supreme Court hears civil appeals
and may in its discretion hear criminal appeals.]

6.2 State politics

Alaska has been characterized as a Republican-leaning state with strong libertarian
tendencies. Local political communities have often worked on issues related to land use
development, fishing, tourism, and individual rights. Alaska Natives, while organized in and
around their communities, have been active within the Native corporations. These have been
given ownership over large tracts of land, which require stewardship.
Alaska is the only state in which possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is
completely legal under state law, though the federal law remains in force.
The state has possessed an independence movement favouring secession from the

United States, with the Alaska Independence Party labelled as one of "the most significant state-
level third parties operating in the 20th century".
Most Alaskan governors have been conservatives, generally Republicans, but some
have not always been elected under the official Republican banner. For example, Republican
Governor Wally Hickel was elected to the office for a second term in 1990 after leaving the
Republican ship and briefly joining the Alaskan Independence Party ticket just long enough to be
re-elected. He subsequently officially rejoined the Republican fold in 1994.

6.3 Taxes
To finance state government operations, Alaska depends primarily on petroleum
revenues and federal subsidies. This allows it to have the lowest individual tax burden in the
United States, and be one of only five states with no state sales tax, one of seven states that do
not levy an individual income tax, and one of two states that has neither. The Department of
Revenue Tax Division, reports regularly on the state's revenue sources. The Department also
issues an annual overview of its operations, including new state laws that directly affect the tax
While Alaska has no state sales tax, 89 municipalities collect a local sales tax, from 1%
to 7.5%, typically 3% to 5%. Other local taxes levied include raw fish taxes, hotel, motel, and
B&B 'bed' taxes, severance taxes, liquor and tobacco taxes, gaming (pull tabs) taxes, tire taxes
and fuel transfer taxes. A percentage of revenue collected from certain state taxes and license
fees (such as petroleum, aviation motor fuel, telephone cooperative) is shared with municipalities
in Alaska.
Fairbanks has one of the highest property taxes in the state as no sales or income taxes
are assessed in the Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB). A sales tax for the FNSB has been
voted on many times, but has yet to be approved, leading law makers to increase taxes
dramatically on other goods such as liquor and tobacco.
In 2008 the Tax Foundation ranked Alaska as having the 4th most "business friendly"
tax policy. Superior states were Wyoming, Nevada, and South Dakota.

6.4 Federal politics

In presidential elections, the state's Electoral College votes have been won by the
Republican nominee in every election since statehood, except for 1964. No state has voted for a
Democratic presidential candidate fewer times. Alaska supported Democratic nominee Lyndon

B. Johnson in the landslide year of 1964, although the 1960 and 1968 elections were close.
Republican John McCain defeated Democrat Barack Obama in Alaska, 59.49% to 37.83%.
McCain's running mate was Sarah Palin, the state's governor and the first Alaskan on a major
party ticket. The Alaska Bush, the city of Juneau and midtown and downtown Anchorage have
been strongholds of the Democratic party. Matanuska-Susitna Borough and South Anchorage
typically have the strongest Republican showing. As of 2004, well over half of all registered
voters have chosen "Non-Partisan" or "Undeclared" as their affiliation, despite recent attempts to
close primaries.
Because of its population relative to other U.S. states, Alaska has only one member in
the U.S. House of Representatives. This seat is currently being held by Republican Don Young,
who was re-elected to his 19th consecutive term in 2008.
On November 19, 2008, Ted Stevens was defeated by Mark Begich, who was declared
the winner of the election by virtue of having an insurmountable lead during the counting
process. This loss also meant that the Senate Republican caucus could avoid the spectacle of
having to throw out Stevens, its longest-serving member, following his conviction on seven
felony corruption charges.
Republican Frank Murkowski held the state's other senatorial position. After being
elected governor in 2002, he resigned from the Senate and appointed his daughter, State
Representative Lisa Murkowski as his successor. In response to a subsequent ballot initiative, the
state legislature attempted to amend the law to limit the length of gubernatorial appointments.
She won a full six-year term in 2004. In 2006 Frank Murkowski was defeated in the Republican
primary by Sarah Palin, who in 2008 became the Republican nominee for Vice President of the
United States.

7. Cities, towns and boroughs

Anchorage, Alaska's largest city Alaska's capital city, Juneau

Alaska is not divided into counties, as most of the other U.S. states, but it is divided
into boroughs. Many of the more densely populated parts of the state are part of Alaska's sixteen
boroughs, which function somewhat similarly to counties in other states. However, unlike
county-equivalents in the other 49 states, the boroughs do not cover the entire land area of the
state. The area not part of any borough is referred to as the Unorganized Borough. The
Unorganized Borough has no government of its own, but the U.S. Census Bureau in cooperation
with the state divided the Unorganized Borough into 11 census areas solely for the purposes of
statistical analysis and presentation. A recording district is a mechanism for administration of
the public record in Alaska. The state is divided into 34 recording districts which are centrally
administered under a State Recorder. All recording districts use the same acceptance criteria, fee
schedule, etc., for accepting documents into the public record.
The state's most populous city is Anchorage, home to 278,700 people in 2006, 225,744
of whom live in the urbanized area. The richest location in Alaska by per capita income is
Halibut Cove ($89,895). Sitka, Juneau, and Anchorage are the three largest cities in the U.S. by

8. Education

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development administers many school
districts in Alaska. In addition, the state operates several boarding schools, including Mt.
Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, Nenana Student Living Center in Nenana, and Galena High
School in Galena.
There are more than a dozen colleges and universities in Alaska. Accredited
universities in Alaska include the University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska
Fairbanks, University of Alaska Southeast, and Alaska Pacific University. 43% of the population
attends or attended college. Alaska has had a problem with a "brain drain". Many of its young
people, including most of the highest academic achievers, leave the state after high school
graduation and do not return. The University of Alaska has attempted to combat this by offering
partial four-year scholarships to the top 10% of Alaska high school graduates, via the Alaska
Scholars Program.

9. Public health and public safety

Alaska residents have long had a problem with alcohol use and abuse. Many rural
communities in Alaska have outlawed its import. This problem directly relates to Alaska's high
rate of Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) as well as contributing to the high rate of suicides and
teenage pregnancies. Suicide rates for rural residents are higher than urban.
Domestic abuse and other violent crimes are also at high levels in the state; this is in
part linked to alcohol abuse.

10. Culture
Some of Alaska's popular annual events are the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race that starts
in Anchorage and ends in Nome, World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, the Alaska
Hummingbird Festival in Ketchikan, the Sitka Whale Fest, and the Stikine River Garnet Fest in
Wrangell. The Stikine River features the largest springtime concentration of American Bald
Eagles in the world.

The Alaska Native Heritage Centre celebrates the rich heritage of Alaska's 11 cultural
groups. Their purpose is to enhance self-esteem among Native people and to encourage cross-
cultural exchanges among all people. The Alaska Native Arts Foundation promotes and markets
Native art from all regions and cultures in the State, both on the internet; at its gallery in
Anchorage, 500 West Sixth Avenue, and at the Alaska House New York, 109 Mercer Street in
Alaska Natives -- Inuit, Inupiaq or Yupik drummers and dancers -- give informal
performances in the lobby of the Alaska Native Medical Centre in Anchorage on weekday

10.1 Libraries
The four main libraries in the state are the Alaska State Library in Juneau, the Elmer E.
Rasmuson Library in Fairbanks, the Z. J. Loussac Library in Anchorage, and the UAA/APU
Consortium Library, also in Anchorage. Alaska is one of three states (the others are Delaware
and Rhode Island) that does not have a Carnegie library.

10.2 Music
Influences on music in Alaska include the traditional music of Alaska Natives as well
as folk music brought by later immigrants from Russia and Europe. Prominent musicians from
Alaska include singer Jewel, traditional Aleut flautist Mary Youngblood, folk singer-songwriter
Libby Roderick, metal/post hardcore band 36 Crazyfists and the group Pamyua.
There are many established music festivals in Alaska, including the Alaska Folk
Festival, the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival the Anchorage Folk Festival, the Athabascan Old-
Time Fiddling Festival, the Sitka Jazz Festival, and the Sitka Summer Music Festival. The most
prominent symphony in Alaska is the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, though the Fairbanks
Symphony Orchestra and Juneau Symphony are also notable. The Anchorage Opera is currently
the state's only professional opera company, though there are several volunteer and semi-
professional organizations in the state as well.
The official state song of Alaska is "Alaska's Flag", which was adopted in 1955; it
celebrates the flag of Alaska.

11. Alaska’s symbols
The word Alaska comes from the Aleut term Alyeska which means The Great Land. Alaska is
the largest state in the union. At 586,412 square miles it is one-fifth the size of the Lower 48.

The greatest annual precipitation in Alaska occurred in MacLeod Harbor in Prince William
Sound where 332.29 inches were recorded. Record snowfalls were recorded north of Valdez at
974.5 inches. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Alaska was minus 80 at Prospect Creek.

State population
Alaska’s population is 626,932 (2000 Census). Nearly half of the state’s residents live in
Anchorage. Alaska has almost one square mile for each person in the state (New York has .003).

Alaska has 17 of the 20 highest peaks in the U.S. Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North
America, is 20,320 ft. above sea level. Denali, the Indian name for the peak, means The Great
At over 2 miles in mapped length, El Capitan Cave on Prince of Wales Island is the longest cave
in North America

Kodiak and Prince of Wales Island in Alaska are the largest and third largest islands in the
United States

The Yukon River, almost 2,000 miles long, is the third longest river in the U.S. There are more
than 3,000 rivers in Alaska and over 3 million lakes. The largest, Lake Iliamna, encompasses
over 1,000 square miles.

Alaska has an estimated 100,000 glaciers, covering about five percent of the state. There are
more active glaciers and ice fields in Alaska than in the rest of the inhabited world. The largest
glacier is the Bering Glacier Complex at 2,250 square miles (approximately the size of

Compass Points
Alaska boasts the northernmost (Point Barrow), the easternmost (Semisopochnoi Island in the
Aleutians), and the western most (St. Lawrence Island) points in the United States.

There are more than 70 potentially active volcanoes in Alaska. Several have erupted in recent

North America’s strongest recorded earthquake, with a magnitude of 9.2, rocked Alaska March
27, 1964. Each year, Alaska has approximately 5,000 earthquakes, including 1,000 that measure
above 3.5 on the Richter scale. Of the ten strongest earthquakes ever recorded in the world, three
have occurred in Alaska.

Amazing Birds
The largest known concentration of bald eagles in the world spend time each fall and winter
along the Chilkat River in Southeast Alaska. More than 3,500 bald eagles gather to feed on
salmon. Literally billions of birds of more than 440 different species occur in Alaska.

Alaska has 6,640 miles of mainland coastline. Including islands, it has 33,904 miles of coastline.

National Forests
The nation’s two largest national forest, the Tongass and the Chugach, are located in Alaska.

Alaska’s map

State Motto: North to the Future

State Flower:
Wild Forget-Me-Not

State Bird:
Willow Ptarmigan

State Fossil:
Woolly Mammoth

State Insect:
Four-spotted Dragonfly

State Tree:
Sitka Spruce

State Fish:
Chinook Salmon

12. Outlook and conclusions
The future of Alaska will be heavily influenced by the contributions of science and
engineering R&D. The survival of the North Pacific fisheries; the continued extraction of the
state's oil, gas, and other natural resources; the preservation of its wildlife and unique natural
environment; solutions to the special construction, transportation, and habitation problems the
state faces due to its climate and its volcanic and seismic activity; and the provision of modern
living standards for all citizens while preserving the independence and cultural heritage of
Alaska's native peoples-all of these and more require the generation and application of new
knowledge through research and development.
Some of this research and development will be paid for and conducted by profit-seeking
industrial firms. Much, however, will need to be funded by the federal government as public
goods. As noted above, however, federal agencies provide nearly three-fourths of all R&D
funding in Alaska, far more than their 36 percent share of R&D in the nation as a whole. The
federal government is the only body that has the resources and capabilities to sustain much of the
R&D vital to Alaska's interests. While the amount of money that the federal government puts
into R&D in Alaska-and into R&D on Arctic issues performed outside of the state-is small
relative to the national R&D picture, its importance to the Alaska's future is difficult to
Alaskans therefore have an especially strong interest in federal R&D funding trends and
the future of the federal R&D system-and we stand at a critical juncture for that system. After
many years of growth, federal funding for R&D has begun to decline. The end of the Cold War
has undermined the long-standing national security rationale under which federal R&D-both
defense and civilian-has prospered since the 1950s. At the same time, efforts to balance the
federal budget by 2002 have created a climate of unprecedented austerity in federal discretionary
expenditures. While most areas of R&D, and particularly basic research, continue to have strong
bipartisan support in Congress and the Administration, the nation's research efforts may well
become an unwitting casualty of the budget wars.

13. Bibliography