Coat of Arms
Governor W Bill Walker
» United States of America
»English, Inupiaq, Siberian Yupik, Central Alaskan Yup’ik, Alutiiq, Unangan, Dena’ina, Deg Xinag, Holikachuk, Koyukon, Upper Kuskokwim, Gwich’in, Tanana, Upper Tanana, Tanacross, Hän, Ahtna, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian
»663,268 sq mi, (1,717,856 km2)
»736,732 (2014 est)
» USA ($) United States Dollar
»– east of 169° 30′ – Alaska: UTC -9/-8
» – west of 169° 30′ – Aleutian: UTC -10/-9
Alaska is a U.S. state situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent. Bordering the state to the east is the Canadian territory of Yukon and the Canadian province of British Columbia, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia (specifically, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug and Kamchatka Krai) further west across the Bering Strait.
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area, the 4th least populous and the least densely populated of the 50 United States.
Approximately half of Alaska’s 735,132 residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. Alaska’s economy is dominated by the oil, natural gas, and fishing industries, resources which it has in abundance.
Tourism is also a significant part of the economy.
Although it had been occupied for thousands of years by indigenous peoples, from the 18th century onward, European powers considered the territory of Alaska ripe for exploitation and trade.
The United States purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire on March 30, 1867, for 7.2 million U.S. dollars at approximately two cents per acre ($4.74/km2).
The area went through several administrative changes before becoming organized as a territory on May 11, 1912. It was admitted as the 49th state of the U.S. on January 3, 1959.
The 2007 gross state product was $44.9 billion, 45th in the nation. Its per capita personal income for 2007 was $40,042, ranking 15th in the nation.
According to a 2013 study by Phoenix Marketing International, Alaska had the fifth-largest number of millionaires per capita in the United States, with a ratio of 6.75 percent.
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 a very small 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.
Alaska imports from Canada by industry
- Energy (40%)
- Minerals & metals (19%)
- Equipment & machinery (14%)
- Transportation (4%)
- Chemicals (2%)
- Forest products (2%)
- Other (20%)
Bears larger than bison, national parks the size of nations, and glaciers bigger than other US states. The word ‘epic’ barely does Alaska justice.
Like many travelers, I am drawn to roads less traveled, isolated frontier regions where spontaneity and excitement rule over certainty and home comforts.
Alaska, for me, fits all of these requirements. Challenging, unpolished and, on occasions, a hard nut to crack, it is, in many ways, the antithesis of the country where I grew up (the UK).
Like a stranger in a strange land, I never fail to be astonished by the state’s extremes and gaping lack of people. And though travel here isn’t always easy, it’s a constant education.
Alaska is, without a doubt, America’s grittiest outdoor playground where skilled bush pilots land with pinpoint accuracy on crevasse-riddled glaciers, and backcountry guiding companies take bravehearts on bracing paddles down almost virgin rivers.
With scant phone coverage and a dearth of hipster-friendly coffee bars to plug in your iPad, this is a region for ‘doing’ rather than observing.
Whether you go it alone with bear spray and a backpack or place yourself in the hands of an experienced ’sourdough’ (Alaskan old-timer), the rewards are immeasurable.
- Alaska is huge. It actually spans what once were five time zones! So big in fact you probably won’t scratch the surface of what it has to offer in terms of geography, wildlife, local flavor, or Alaska native culture.
- You might visit a couple of the regions of the state during your visit.
- It is quite possible to experience the ancient rainforest of Southeast Alaska, camp in Denali National Park, and kayak among icebergs in Prince William Sound on the same trip.
- Another option is to focus on a smaller (still huge) region of the state and spend enough time for a better look and then plan a return trip to explore a different region.
- Alaska does not have to be a once in a lifetime destination.
- Three weeks in the Inside Passage, traveling from town to town by ferry, is likely to leave you wanting more time if you enjoy hiking, sea kayaking, fishing, wildlife watching, scenery, Native culture, biking.
- The Kenai Peninsula, south of Anchorage, is another region worthy of an extended stay and is easily accessed from Anchorage.
- Plenty of public campgrounds make this an extremely affordable do-it-yourself destination if you have a few folks to share the cost of a rental car.An Anchorage, Denali, Fairbanks, Valdez driving loop also offers plenty to see and do for two weeks or more and can be quite affordable with camping and a shared rental car.