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Alaska State Guide

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Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area, larger than 22 states [1]combined together and is located in the north-western region of the North American Continent. It is the least densely populated state of the United States and is bordered by Yukon, a Canadian territory, and the Canadian province of British Columbia to the east, the Arctic Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean to the north and some part of the west, and Russia advances to the west across the Bering Strait. Alaska is also commonly known as the “Last Frontier” because of its least populated regions and “The Land of the Midnight Sun” because the sun nearly never sets during the summer season in Alaska.

Image by Gillfoto (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Anchorage is the most populated and settled region of the state. The name “Alaska” was deduced from an Aleut Idiom (also known as as “Alyeska”, the Great Land) and meaning the object to which the action of the sea is directed. Russian Colonization started from the 18th century, prior to that, several indigenous tribes settled and occupied Alaska.

Alaska Fast Facts:

Capital city:
Largest city by population: Anchorage
Largest city by total land area: Sitka, with 4,710 square miles, 1,816 square miles of which are water
Sate Land Animal: Moose (Alces alces)
State Marine Mammal: Bowhead Whale (Balaena mysticetus)
Sate Bird: Willow Ptarmigan
State Tree: Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis)
State Flower: Forget me not (Myosotis alpestris)
Common Languages Spoken: English 89.7%
Native: (Eskimo–Aleut and Na-Dene languages) 5.2%
Spanish 2.9%

History of Alaska

Prehistoric Alaska starts from Paleolithic Period with Paleolithic people occupying the northwestern region of the North American Continent, across the Bering Land Bridge, now western Alaska. Several indigenous tribes occupied Alaska thousands of years before the European colonization started. The Alaska Native groups and the Inuit settled in Alaska at the time of arrival of the European explorers.

The onset of the Russian settlement started sometime in the late 17th century or the early 18th century. More Russian explorers and miners arrived in Alaska and the Yukon Territory as gold rushes gain popularity in the 1890s. It was believed that the first European contact occurred sometime around 1741, an expedition of the Russian Navy aboard. Since then, many traders arrived to explore the most valuable sea otters, unarguably regarded as the finest fur in the world. In 1784, the first permanent European settlement occurred and additionally many settlements were established around Cook Inlet.

Gradually the Russians took over the site of the precious sea otters (the Kurilian-Kamchatkan and Aleutian sea otters). Slowly they march towards Northwest coast of Alaska along Yakutat Bay, Queen Charlotte Islands, and Sitka Sound. In Sitka, the settlement of Arkhangelsk was established in 1799 and later became the primary settlement and colonial capital of Russian American. The fur traders introduced the Russian Orthodox religion in the 1740s.

In 1779, Spanish explorers entered Prince William Sound. There was a war between Britain and Spain in 1789 known as the Nootka crisis. The crisis started when Spain captured some British ships and Britain refused the Spanish claimed lands in British Columbia.

The Russian –American Company was established in 1799 and after the Battle of Sitka, the company had gained control over the American fur. With the establishment of the Hudson’s Bay company, (a Canadian Retail), the Russians control over trade was much subdued.

The various indigenous tribes of Alaska include the Native Americans ( the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian), the Athabascans, the Aleut and the Eskimos (the Inupiat and the Yupik).

Coastal Native Americans of Alaska

The Coastal Native Americans were the first settlement across Bering Land Bridge in western Alaska. The Tlingit settled along the coastal Panhandle, the Haidas settled around Prince of Wales Islands and the Tsimshain populated in British Columbia. The Coastal Native Americans honored animals’ sacrifice. Each household had clan names and used to own lands and properties. They embrace arts, crafts, paintings, music and many unique traditions to preserve the clan history. The very popular totem poles were carved to demonstrate myths, to pay respect to the deceased, and to signify the bountiful wealth of the owners.

Athabascan Native Americans of Alaska

The Athabascan Native Americans of Alaska were semi-nomadic people who moved and lived along the rivers. They were skilled, sturdy and strong hunters and fisherman. Athabascans made shoes out of rawhide and birch to make their nomadic movement easier. In winter times, some Athabascan settle permanently in villages. They also embrace the tradition of marriage, death ceremony and rejoice in a child’s first successful hunt.

Aleuts of Alaska

Over 10,000 years ago, the Aleuts were populated in the islands of the Aleutian chain. Fishing was their main occupation, and also engage in weaving grasses into baskets and sewing seal gut into raincoats. The Aleuts had a hierarchy of the honorable (composed of honorable whalers and elders), common people and slave. At the death of an honorable, the body is preserved and slaves were sacrificed to respect the dead.

Eskimos of Alaska

Eskimos are the Native Americans of Alaska whose main occupation is hunting. The demarcation of status within the village is based on the hunting skills. They are also famous throughout history for their carving skills, the notable one is their small ivory pieces. They used umiaks (open boats), kayaks, vessels, dog sleds, made snow goggles with a thin slit to protect their eyes from the blizzard, sew trousers, and coats boots. The coat with hood called the parkas made out of wolf or bear fur.

Interesting Facts about Eskimos:

  • Eskimos are divided into two groups, the Inupiat Eskimos (populated in Arctic region of Alaska) who feed on walruses, seals and whales and the Yup’ik Eskimos (populated in the west) who feed on birds, caribou and other small animals.
  • The snow hut "igloo" is the home of the Eskimos. It is a dome-shaped dwelling built from ice blocks and snow. The igloos are built in various shapes and sizes.
  • The language they speak  is "Eskimo" and its dialects. Eskimo language is a main branch of the Eskimo-Aleut family of languages.
  • The Eskimos follow the religion of rich mythology and also practice Shamanism.

Alaska Purchase History

The Alaska Purchase is the attainment of Russian American from the Russian Empire by the United States in 1867. A treaty was singed between the U.S Senate and the Russian Empire. The then government of Alaska was designated the Department of Alaska (1867-1884). The government of Alaska was designated as the District of Alaska from 1884 to 1912. Alaska was renamed the Territory of Alaska, when Congress enacted the Second Organic Act in 1912. Alaska became the 49th state of the union in 1959 [2]and reorganized and designated as the State of Alaska.

Statehood of Alaska

The decision to include Alaska among the United States of America was much of a debate to the legislators of the other 48 states due to Alaska’s sparse population, harsh topography and climate and its unstable economy. But later, with the discovery of oil at Swanson River on the Kenai Peninsula, the attainment of Alaska statehood became a serious matter. The Alaska Statehood was made official on 1959 by President Dwight D Eisenhower. The territorial capital, Juneau remained the state capital of Alaska. The first governor of the state of Alaska was William A. Egan.

The state of Alaska is divided into 19 organized boroughs (not counties) and an unorganized borough, an area larger than any U.S states. Boroughs have their own organized governments, but the state administers and oversees the unorganized borough that is divided into 11 census areas to maintain the census record.

Timeline of Alaska

18th Century History of Alaska

Grigorii Shelikov establishes first white settlement at Three Saints Bay, Kodiak.

1795 The first Russian Orthodox Church established in Kodiak.

19th Century History of Alaska

Russian fort at Old Sitka destroyed by Tlingits.

1847 Fort Yukon established.

1861 Gold discovered on Stikine River near Telegraph Creek.

1868 Alaska designated as the Department of Alaska under Brevet Major General Jeff C. Davis, US Army.

1869 The Sitka Times, first newspaper in Alaska, published.

1878 School opens at Sitka, to become Sheldon Jackson Junior College. First canneries in Alaska established at Klawock and Sitka.

20th Century History of Alaska

Territorial status for Alaska provides for Legislature

1913 First Alaska Territorial Legislature convenes. First law passed grants women voting rights.

1918 The first train from Seward steams into Anchorage, marking the completion of the southern half of the railroad line.

1942 Japanese invade Alaska's Aleutian Islands. As part of the defense of the West Coast, the Alaska Highway is built in the amazingly short time of eight months and 12 days, linking Anchorage with the rest of the nation. Anchorage enters the war years with a population of 7,724 and emerges with 43,314 residents.

1959 Statehood proclaimed. State Constitution in effect.

1964 Good Friday earthquake.

1982 Time zones shift to include all Alaska, except western-most Aleutian Islands, in one zone: Alaska Standard Time.

1983 Drinking age is raised from 18 to 21 by the Legislature. Time zone shift: all Alaska. except westernmost Aleutians Islands, move to Alaska Standard Time, one hour west of Pacific Standard time.

21st Century History of Alaska

Sarah Palin takes office as Alaska's first woman governor

50th Anniversary of Alaska Statehood

Geography of Alaska

Alaska is the largest state of the United States by area with a total land area of 663,268 square miles (1,717,856 km2) and has 3.5 million lakes. It is the 4th least populous state in the United States and is bordered by Yukon, a Canadian territory, and the Canadian province of British Columbia to the east, the Arctic Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean to the the north and some part of the west, and Russia advances to the west across the Bering Strait. Alaska. By area, it is larger than 22 states of United States combined together and has more ocean coastline than that of all other states put in together. Juneau, the capital city is not connected by roadways due to its geographical features and extremely cold weather. It is only accessible by airways or waterways [1].

Topography of Alaska

Alaska has many ocean coastlines and is among the two states which is not bordered by another state. The state is roughly divided into South-central region, South-eastern region, South-western region, Interior region, North Slope and Aleutian Islands.

Geaographical Facts:

Total Area:
570,380 miles (1,477,300 km2 )
Longitude: 130oW to 172oE
Largest state: Anchorage
Largest Borough: North Slope Borough
Highest point: Mount McKinley (Denali)
20,320 ft (6194 m)
Mean point: 1900 ft (580 m)
Lowest point: Oceansea level
Area covered by Marshlands and wetland permafrost: 188,320 square miles (487,700 km2)
Area covered by frozen water or glacier ice: 16,000 square miles (41,000 km2) of land and 1,200 square miles (3,100 km2) of tidal zone
Average Annual Temperature: 42.15oF
Average Annual Rainfall: 62.24 inch
Average Annual Snowfall: 88 inch
Annual high temperature: 48.1oF
Annual low temperature: 36.2o

South-Central Alaska

The South Central Alaska comprises of Anchorage and towns of Palmer, Wasilla, Cordova, Valdez, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, the Kenai Peninsula, Cook Inlet, Copper River Valley and Prince William Sound area. Almost half of the population of Alaska settled in the south- central region. The south central region with its huge tourist attraction, fisheries and petroleum production has contributed immensely to the growing economy of the state. Temperatures in the region normally range from 18oC to -12oC. Daylight hours changes from 18 hours in summer season (June and July) to 6 hours in winter season (December and January). Five mountain ranges, including Kenai mountains, Chugach Mountains, Talkeetna Mountains, Wrangell mountains and Alaska Range form the terrain of South central region.

South-Eastern Alaska

The South Eastern Alaska, also known as the Alaska Panhandle comprises of Juneau (state capital), Sitka, Ketchikan, towns including Petersburg, Metlakatla Wrangell, Haines, Hoonah, Angoon, Thorne Bay, Craig, Klawock,Yakutat, Skagway, and Gustavus, many forests including Tongass National Forests (largest national forest in the United States), and glaciers. South east Alaska has a total land area of 35,138 square miles (91,010 km2) and is the northern extreme of the Inside Passage. It comprises of six boroughs and three census areas.The south east Alaska is a home to many wildlife as it is a temperate rain forest. Wildlife and trees include brown bears, black bears, the endangered Alexander Archipelago wolf, rare Sitka black-tailed deer, humpback whales, orcas, five species of salmon, rare bald eagles, marbled murrelets, harlequin ducks, scoters, marbled murrelets and sitka spruce and western hemlock.

Interior Alaska

The Interior Alaska comprises of Faibanks, several small towns including North Pole, Eagle, Delta Junction, Tok, Glenallen, Cantwell, , intertwined rivers like the Yukon River, the Kuskokwim River, Mount Mckinley, the Wrangell Mountains, the Ray Mountains, Arctic Tundra lands and coastlines. Alaskan Athabaskans are the native people of the interior Alaska. Temperature in this region is very extreme and range from 17oC in summer to -24oC during winter. The highest and lowest temperatures of the state were recoded in the Interior, with 38oC in Fort Yukon and −64oC in Prospect Creek.

South Western Alaska

The South Western Alaska is an isolated region and least settled area comprising of Kodiak Island, Katmai, Lake Clark, Cook Inlet, Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, and several coastlines including the Pacific Ocean, the Bering Sea, the Bristol Bay, Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian islands. The south western region of Alaska is isolated and prone to bad stormy and wet weathers but the region plays a really important role to the fishing industry. Bristol Sea and Bristol Bay are the world’s largest producer of sockeye salmon fish.

North Slope Alaska

The Northern Slope of the Brooks Range is the North Slope of Alaska is mostly tundra and comprises of some small villages. The North Slope is famous for its large petroleum reserves of crude oil and the region comprises of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The source of oil is an old seabed under the North Slope.

Aleautian Islands of Alaska

The Aleutian Islands are composed of 14 large volcanic islands and over 55 smaller ones belonging to both the United States and Russia. the islands stretch over 1200 miles into the Pacific Ocean. The islands along with their 57 volcanoes lie in the northern part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Temperatures around the region varies from 3oC to -1oC (January) and about 11oC in August. The islands’ climate is oceanic with heavy rainfall.

Climate of Alaska

The climate of Alaska ranges from sub-artic in the south central region to extreme seasonal weather of the Interior and the oceanic climate of the Aleutian Islands and the purely Arctic climate in the North Slope. Alaska receives abundant precipitation state wide throughout the year. The highest and lowest temperatures of the state were recoded in the Interior, with 38oC in Fort Yukon and −64oC in Prospect Creek [4].

Alaska Division of Forestry

The Alaska Division of Forestry under the Department of Natural Resources manages and oversees the forests of Alaska and maintains a healthy ecosystem. There are million acres of commercial forest in Alaska and the forests are known for its bio-diversity and are home to many wild animals, flora, and fauna. The Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in the United States of America. About 2% of the state owned land area is under three designated State Forests including Haines State Forest, Tanana Valley State Forest, and Southeast State Forest.

The Haines State Forest covers 286,000 acres of land [4] and the terrain varies from sea level to more than 7000 feet. The forest is located in a zone between the wet coastal oceanic climate and the extremely cold Arctic Interior climate and encompasses watersheds of the Chilkoot, Chilkat and the Ferebee rivers. The Forest comprises mainly of two types; western hemlock/Sitka spruce, and black cottonwood/willow. The major resource incurred from the forest is timber and almost the entire areas of the forest are rich in minerals. Many explorers visit the forest for educational or commercial purposes and also to explore the wild life including moose, black and brown bears, wolves, marten, lynx, porcupines, Trumpeter swans, geese, and mountain goats. Several species of rare and beautiful birds also inhabit in this forest.

The Tanana Valley State Forest covers about 1.81 million acres of land and the terrain ranges from 275 feet around the Tanana River to more than 5000 feet in the Alaska Range [4]. The forest is located around the central-eastern Alaska. The natural resources incurred from the forest include gravel, oil, gas, timber and is also a great place to go for an expedition of the wildlife, hunting, fishing, skiing and fruit picking.

The Southeast State Forest is the newest designated state forest of Alaska and covers 48,472 acres of land [5]The Division of Forestry manages the resources of the forest and the productions of the forest contribute a lot to the economy of the state.

The Tongass National Forest is a temperate rain forest that covers million acres of land and is the largest national forest in the United States. About 40% of the forest is under wetlands, ice, snow, rock and some alien vegetation while the rest of the10 million acres of land are covered with vegetation, trees, wildlife, flora, fauna and birds. The forest encloses the islands of the Alexander Archipelago, the Northern Pacific coastal forests, Pacific Coastal Mountain ice fields, tundra regions, glaciers, and the peaks of the Coast Mountains. The United States Forest Service manages and oversees the entire forest. The Tongass national Forest serves as the main life line to the three Alaska native tribes including the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian. It is the home to many rare species of flora and faunas including five species of salmon, brown and black bears, and bald eagles and many migratory birds travel and stay in summer months. Over 5,750,000 acres of land is covered. The forest also provides several recreational activities, such as wildlife photography, expedition to explore the rare species, educational and commercial tours.

Contact Details of the Department of Natural Resources:
550 W. 7th Ave, Suite 1260,
Anchorage, AK 99501-3557
Phone: 907-269-8400 Fax: 907-269-8901 TTY: 907-269-8411
Website: http://forestry.alaska.gov/stateforests.htm

Mountain Peaks in Alaska

Alaska has an extremely rugged topography and the topographical elevation varies to a great extend. Alaska has many hundreds of mountain peaks. Some of the major mountain peaks are-

Mount McKinley (Denali): 20,320 ft (6194 m). Mount McKinley is the highest mountain peak in North American and the third most prominent peak next to Mount Everest and Aconcagua. It is located in the south-central Alaska and encompasses two important summits- the South Summit (higher one) and the North Summit (lower one). (refer: 50 states)

Mount Saint Elias : 18,009 ft (5489 m). Mount Saint Elias is the second highest mountain peak in United States and also in Canada. It is also commonly known as boundary peak and is located between the Yukon and Alaska border.

Mount Foraker : 17,400 ft (5304 m). Mount Foraker is the third highest mountain peak in the United States and the second highest in the Alaska Range. It is located in the central Alaska Range.

Mount Fairweather (Fairweather Mountain): 15,299 ft (4663 m). Mount Fairweather is designated among the world’s highest coastal mountains. It is located along the eastern Pacific ocean bordering Alaska, United States and western Canada.

Demographics of Alaska [5]

According to the July 1, 2013 census, the estimated population of Alaska is 735,132 and reflects a hike of 3.5% from the 2010 census. At 1.2 inhabitants per square mile, it is regarded as one of the most lt and sparsely populated areas in the world. As per capita income, it is the tenth wealthiest state in the United States. The White race composed of 67% of the total population of Alaska and is the dominant race of the state. Additionally, German composed of 18.3% of the people of Alaska and is the largest ancestry group of the state.Almost half of the residents of Alaska live in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau.

  • Population, 2013 estimate: 735,132
  • Population, 2010 (April 1) estimates base: 710,231
  • Population, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013: 3.5%
  • Population, 2010: 710,231
  • Persons under 5 years, percent, 2013: 7.5%
  • Persons under 18 years, percent, 2013: 25.6%
  • Persons 65 years and over, percent, 2013: 9.0%
  • Female persons, percent, 2013: 47.6%

Alaska Racial Population as of 2013:

White alone, percent, 2013: 67.3%
Black or African American alone: 3.9%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone: 14.7%
Asian alone: 5.8%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone: 1.2%
Two or More Races: 7.1%
Hispanic or Latino: 6.6%
White alone, not Hispanic or Latino: 62.5%

Economy of Alaska

The Economy of Alaska is aptly described as the three-legged-stool and these legs are essential for the growth of the state economy and also to support business and domestic requirements. The three legs are composed of the Federal Government, Petroleum and gas Industry and all other industries combined.

Alaska's 15 Largest Private Sector Employers in 2010 [6]

Providence Health & Services: 4,000
Walmart/Sam’s Club: 3,000 to 3,249
Carrs/Safeway: 2,750 to 2,999
Fred Meyer: 2,500 to 2,749
ASRC Energy Services: 2,500 to 2,749
Trident Seafood: 2,250 to 2,499
BP Exploration Alaska: 2,000 to 2,249
CH2M HILL: 1,750 to 1,999
NANA Management Services: 1,750 to 1,999
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC)3: 1,500 to 1,749
Alaska Airlines: 1,500 to 1,749
GCI Communications: 1,250 to 1,499
Banner Health (includes Fairbanks Memorial Hospital): 1,250 to 1,499
Southcentral Foundation: 1,250 to 1,499
Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation: 1,000 to 1,249.
Over the years the economy of Alaska has been growing immensely and the petroleum and gas industry is the largest contributor to Alaska’s growing economy. Alaska leads the nation in its fish and seafood export chiefly, salmon, crab, Pollock, hellibut, and cod. Due to the extreme climate and rugged terrain, Agriculture contributes very little to Alaska’s economy and most of the produces are used for domestic consumption other than export. Alaska has very less number of farms and consequently lesser farm products. The Government sector is Alaska’s major employer. Fairbanks and Anchorage are known for several important military bases and play a major role in the economic growth of the state. Tourism is also a principal part of Alaska’s economy and is one of the largest employers of the state. Many plans and programs are implemented to improve Alaska’s transportation network and accordingly, to help enhance the tourism sector. The main industries that drive the economy of Alaska are petroleum and oil, fishing, tourism, timber, mining and agriculture. According to the estimation of the Alaska Department of Labour and Workforce Development in 2010, it was declared that the Providence Health and Services is the largest private sector employer of the state. Forests in Alaska with the bountiful natural resources are also one of the major components of Alaska’s economy.

Petroleum and Oil industry in Alaska

Petroleum and Oil industry is the major sector that supports Alaska’s economy. The Alaska North Slope and Cook Inlet basins are the principal sources where oil and gas are found. Oil revenues generate around 80% of the state’s budget and Alaska is the second largest producer of crude oil in the United States of America as estimated by the Energy Information Administration. The Trans Alaska Pipeline system generates huge oil revenues for the state. The pipeline has large diameter and is capable to pump up to 2.1 million barrels of crude oil. One of Alaska’s priced possessions is the expensive diesel gas which is quite essential for transportation, electric power and heating. Additionally, Alaska’s numerous rivers offer high hydroelectric power to the state and also to the entire United States and is ranked among the highest hydroelectric power potential in the country.

Fishing and Seafood Industry in Alaska

Alaska’s numerous coastlines and rivers are among the largest sources of fish and seafood in the world. It leads the nation in its commercial fishing sector and the exported products include salmon, crab, cod, halibut, shrimp, Pollock and herrings. The fishing and seafood industry is an important source of food and provide jobs to thousands of people of Alaska. An estimated 6 billion pounds of seafood produce are collected each year from the primary fisheries in the Bering Sea and the North Pacific. In 2013, Southeast fisheries provide more than 210 harvesting jobs [7].

Cost of Living in Alaska

The cost of living in Alaska is higher as compared to all the other 48 states of the United States. Many changes have been implemented over the last five years to bring down the cost of food, consumer goods and commodities. With the introduction of Big-Box-Stores in parts of Anchorage and Fairbanks, the cost of goods have dropped but rural part of Alaska is still suffering from extremely high cost of food and goods. Most food and food products in Alaska are imported from outside. The major exported items of Alaska include fish, fur, timber, oil, and gold.

Government of Alaska

The Government of Alaska is guarded by the Constitution of Alaska which was ratified on 1956. It is a Republican Government with three distinct branches: the executive branch (Governor of Alaska and state agencies), the legislative branch (the House of Representatives and the Senate) and the judicial branch (Supreme Court and lower courts). Additionally, the state has 246 federally recognized tribal governments and one federal Indian (Native American). Alaska was proclaimed a state on 1959.

The Executive Branch

The Executive branch consists of the Governor of Alaska, the Lieutenant Governor of Alaska, the Governor’s cabinet, executive officials and state agencies. The Governor is the chief official of the Alaska executive branch. The Governor serves the state for four-year terms. The Alaska gubernatorial election is held every four years to elect the governor and the lieutenant governor. Bill Walker is the current governor of Alaska, sworn in on December 1, 2014. Louis Mead Treadwell is the 11th Lieutenant Governor of Alaska from 2010 to 2014.

The Legislative Branch

The 26th Alaska State Legislature is the body of the state government of Alaska which is divided into two separate assemblies, namely Alaska House of Representatives and Alaska Senate. The legislature meets in the State Capitol building in Juneau.

The Judicial Branch

The Judiciary is the system that applies law to ensure justice in the state. It consists of the The Judiciary system in Alaska is the unified and completely state funded judicial system. The Alaska court system consists of the Appeallet Courts and the Trial Courts.

For more information on the Government of Alaska Click here.

Education in Alaska

The Department of Education and Early Child development is the division which is responsible to assess and manage the workings of all schools, colleges and universities in the state. The department’s mission is to provide quality education and best values to the students to ensure success in education, workplace and in every spheres of life. Various programs and plans are implemented to enhance the standard of education and also to improve the academic success rate. The core services include: public school funding, fiscal accountability, compliance and oversight, school effectiveness programs and active partnerships with government, public and private entities for the efficient working of the department.

Alaska did not have any law school or medical school, as of 2013. Alaska has had a problem, famously termed as “brain drain” in which several students and youths of Alaska, including most of the top academic achievers, leave the state for higher studies and never return. The state has implemented some plans and scholarship programs to tackle this problem. The Alaska Education Grant Program (AEG) offers financial assistance to eligible students who are enrolled in post secondary schools in Alaska. Additionally, through the Alaska Scholars Program, the University of Alaska offers four-year scholarships to the top 10% of Alaska high school graduates.

The top universities of Alaska include the University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Southeast, University of Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska Pacific University. The Alaska Department of Education & Early Development declared Salcha Elementary School in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School
District and Beryozova School in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District as National Title I Distinguished Schools [88].

Tradition and Culture of Alaska

The state of Alaska has very rich culture and tradition. Alaskan culture is a blend of the major cultural groups of American Indians and Alaskan Natives. Anchorage is a city of Alaska which is famous for its rich culture and heritage and is home to many natives. Music, art and entertainment are also important aspects of the state of Alaska. The popular and notable cultural events of Alaska include

  • The Sled Dog Race from Anchorage to Nome that has now become an Alaskan tradition and is celebrated every year on March as dog sledding race from Anchorage to Nome. The racers are called Iditarod racers. This is also a favourite recreational activity for many and can enjoy it in Anchorage, Juneau, Denali and Girdwood
  • Anchorage July 4th Celebration Parade & Festival.
  • The Blueberry Festival and Alaska Hummingbird Festival in Ketchikan
  • The Alaska State Fair from August until September.
  • World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks
  • Alyeska Spring Carnival and 38th Annual Slush Cup celebrated in April.
  • The Fur Rendezvous from February until March.
  • The Stikine River Garnet Fest in Wrangell.

The Alaska Native Arts Foundation maintains and advertises Native art and culture from across the State. Folk music and music of Alaska Natives are famous in the state. Some lively music festivals in Alaska include

  • The Alaska Folk Festival in January.
  • The Athabascan Old-Time Fiddling Festival.
  • The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival.
  • Multicultural Drumming and Dancing celebrated in February.
  • The Sitka Jazz Festival and the Sitka Summer Music Festival
  • The Anchorage International Film Festival celebrated in the month of December.

Hunting was an essential survival tradition followed by many tribes and natives and is still regarded as a common tradition of the state, particularly in remote Bush area. Hunting of Caribou, moose and Dall sheep is still very popular and contribute in making a traditional native food called Akutaq, the Eskimo ice cream.

Transportation in Alaska

The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT & PF) administers and manages the entire transportation system of the state of Alabama. The transportation system in Alaska comprises of road transport, rail transport, air transport, marine transport and other transportation modes are dog-sled and snow machine.

The road transportation in Alaska poses certain hurdles due to its limited connectivity and minimum accessibility. The road system of Alaska links very small area of the state. The state transportation department has come up with many improvement programs to ensure road travel easier and more convenient. The plans include, Alaska Iways programs, statewide maintenance and operations initiatives, highway safety plans, Adopt-A-Highway program and many other initiatives implemented to improve road travel experience.

Air transport in Alaska is an essential and the most efficient transportation in Alaska which connects the region of the state that is not accessible by Northern American road network or the Ferry system, popularly termed as the Bush region of Alaska.
The major airports serving the state are Fairbanks International Airport, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Juneau International Airport, and Ketchikan International Airport

The Alaska Railroad Corporation oversees all passenger and freight railroads connecting ports and people to major regions of the state. The Alaska railway serves as a passenger carrier as well as cargo carrier and extends from Seward to North Pole via Anchorage, Denali and Fairbanks. The passenger train operate daily during summer seasons but weekly only in the winter seasons. Primarily the railway in Alaska is used for freight transfer and in moving natural resources, such as coal and gravel to the various ports of Alaska.

The water transportation in Alaska is the key mode of transportation used as passenger carrier as well as freight carrier. The waterways provide connectivity to those remote paces not accessible by roads. The Alaska Marine Highway System is a full fledged organized ferry system operated by the government of the United States of Alaska, since 1963.

For more information on Alaska Transportation Network Click here.

Interesting facts about Alaska:

  • "Alaska's Flag" is the official state song of Alaska.
  • "North to the Future" is the State Motto.
  • Yukon, with 1,875 miles in Alaska and 2,298 total is the longest river in Alaska.There are over 3,000 rivers in the state [9].
  • Kodiak, in the Gulf of Alaska, with 3,588 square miles is the largest island of Alaska [9].
  • Alaska's State Gem is Jade and has a large deposit of Jade on the Seward Peninsula.
  • Alaska's State Mineral is Gold.
  • October 18 is celebrated as Alaska Day. It marks the anniversary of the formal transfer of the territory and the hoisting of the U.S Flag on October 18, 1867 at Sitka .


  1. Alaska Size
  2. Alaska Statehood
  3. Alaska Climate
  4. State Forests
  5. Alaska Demographics
  6. Fish and Sea food Industry
  7. Alaska's Private Sector Employers
  8. Salcha Elementary School
  9. Alaska's geographical facts

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