Alaska. The Great Land. The Last Frontier. The Land of the Midnight Sun. It’s vast. It’s remote. It’s rugged. Just hearing the word Alaska conjures up thoughts of untamed wilderness. Your mind starts running wild with images of grizzly bears and glaciers and gold and mountains and bush planes and northern lights and dog mushing and whales and howling wolves, boundless wilderness and jaw-dropping beauty.
In your youth you probably read a little Jack London and came across a Robert Service poem or two. By now, you’ve probably watched every Alaskan reality show there is: The Grizzly Man, Deadliest Catch, Kilchers in Alaska, and Bush Pilots of Alaska. You were captured by the movie Into the Wild. You realize Alaska is not for the faint of heart but for the avid adventurer ready to explore the out-of-bounds. Alaska embodies the natural essence of freedom and answers your own inner call of the wild. You are drawn to the primal wilderness, formidable nature, vast tracts of open land. You have been reading about polar bears and climate change and you may even have some concerns about the future of Alaska’s glaciers.
You want to go and see this place for yourself. While you still can.
So do it now! Making the trip to Alaska will be one of the most rewarding things you ever do. It is the destination of all destinations…the ultimate adventure. It is the trip of a lifetime you’ve always wanted to take. But you want to do it right.
That’s where traveling with Austin Adventures- a company that really knows Alaska- comes into play. Maybe you’re just considering a trip for the future. Or maybe you’ve already put your resources together, carved out some time and you are ready to go! Wherever you are in your Alaska dream, now is a good time to start learning and getting prepared for your journey up north.
Here you will find somewhat nerdy but certainly noteworthy nine facts about Alaska. Standing all on its own, the state is off the charts in terms of its uniqueness. There are a lot of things to learn about Alaska History and Geography. Here are just 9 that make Alaska divine…
1: Alaska is BIG!
- #1 in size! Alaska comes from an Aleut word, “Alyeska” which translates to “The Great Land.” Alaska is by far the largest state in the union. ALASKA is huge: It is over 586,000 square miles!
- 1.3 persons per square mile is the population density in Alaska.
- #1 with a population of only 740,000 people, making it the least densely populated state in the U.S.
- #1 and only Arctic State in the nation! The northern part of Alaska close to the Arctic ocean mostly consists of tundra, mountain ranges, and coastal planes.
- #1 for Public lands: Alaska has the most public lands in the U.S. Nearly 90 percent of Alaska is publicly-owned with some 325,700,000 acres under state and federal ownership.
- #1-Tallest peak in the nation! Denali (Aleut for “The Great One”) reaches 20,310 feet from Alaska’s interior. It is the tallest peak in the U.S. and in North America, and the third tallest and third most isolated peak in the world. And, did you know that the ten highest peaks in the U.S. are in Alaska?
2: Alaska is a Diverse and Wild Landscape
- The 2 biggest national forests are in Alaska: The Tongass and the Chugach. National Forests are public lands owned by the American people through the federal government. The lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and other land agencies. They are set aside to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. Learn more about Tongass National Forest and Chugach National Forest!
- 2 oceans border Alaska: the Arctic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Alaska has the record for the most coastline in the country with over 34,000 miles of coastline!
- 2 high tides and 2 low tides a day happen in Alaska.
- The 2nd largest tidal fluctuation in the world happens on Alaska’s Turnagain arm: the difference between low tide and high tide can be 35 feet!
3: Alaska is Home to Incredible Wildlife
3 species of bear inhabit Alaska: The state provides habitat for about 4,700 polar bears (The Chuckchi Sea and Beaufort Sea populations) 100,000 black bears, and about 30,000 brown bears (grizzly bears and coastal brown bears).
4: The Sunlight’s Seasons
Fairbanks, Alaska experiences under 4 hours of daylight every winter solstice. Fairbanks also celebrates the summer solstice with a full 24 hours of sunlight!
5: Alaska’s Geography
- Alaska can be divided into 5 distinct regions: the Far North, South Central, Southeast, Southwest and Interior.
- 5% of Alaska is covered in glaciers
- Alaska’s indigenous people- Alaska Natives- can be divided into five major groupings: Aleuts, Northern Eskimos (Inupiat), Southern Eskimos(Yuit), Interior Indians (Athabascans) and Southeast Coastal Indians (Tlingit and Haida). Today, Alaska Natives make up about 15% of the population.
6: The Alaskan Bush Pilots
6 times as many pilots per capita live in Alaska compared to the rest of the United States. 90% of Alaska is inaccessible by road! Aviation is a way of life in Alaska and is the primary mode of transportation. Now, ladies, I know what you’re thinking: now you are really ready to go to Alaska! But let’s not get carried away. These days there are as many female pilots as there are male. And let’s not forget the ole saying in Alaska, that “the odds are good and the goods are odd!”
7: Two Cents Per Acre?
The U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million in 1867. This amounted to about 2 cents an acre. The treaty was secured by the Secretary of State, William Henry Seward.
8: The Islands of Alaska
8 of the ten largest islands in the U.S. are in Alaska: Kodiak Island, Prince of Wales, Chichagof, St. Lawrence, Admiralty, Nunivak, Unimak and Baranof. There are actually over 2670 named islands in Alaska.
9: Alaskan Earthquakes
9.2 on the Richter Scale made the Good Friday earthquake of March 1964 the most powerful earthquake in North American history. It was the 2nd largest ever recorded earthquake next to the 1960 Valdivia Earthquake in Chile. The epicenter was in Prince William Sound, South-central Alaska.
Taking the trip to Alaska will one of the most rewarding experiences of your life – make sure you have everything covered.