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$17.99

34rd Edition

For the First Time ever The Alaska Almanac Almanac® is now in COLOR!

—The Boston Globe

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DOG MUSHING

Mr. Whitekeys is a humorist and noted writer and commentator about all things wacky in or about Alaska. He hosts live performances and has a weekly TV series on Anchorage’s NBC-affiliate, KTUU. mrwhitekyes.com

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to bring to Alaska”

FACTS ABOUT ALASKA

Nancy Gates has lived in Alaska for 34 years and she’s had the daunting task of editing the Almanac since 2000. Her essays have appeared in many collections and magazines and she is coauthor of The Alaska Homesteader’s Handbook. “The best guide

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his is a must have reference (now in COLOR!) for those who are traveling to the north or those who already know and love it but want to impress others with their encyclopedic knowledge of Alaska’s fascinating past and present. This affordable, best-selling guide offers accurate, timely facts on “The guide is a handy reference for geography, history, economy, employment, travelers, researchers, and other people in all walks of life.” recreation, trophy records, climate, and —Alaska Journal of Commerce people of the state with the most “ests” ever: largest lake, tallest mountain, longest coastline, biggest cabbage, most acreage in national parks, and more. It also features Alaska’s funniest man, Mr. Whitekeys, who manages to find some of the more bizarre facts about the state for us.

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ALASKA ALMANAC

—Statesman Journal

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“An indispensable reference for those who love the northern state . . . a joy to read.”

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With the Wacky Wisdom of Mr. Whitekeys

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Alaska’s Favorite Factbook

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Alaska

Almanac Facts About Alaska 34th Edition

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Book compilation © 2013 by Alaska Northwest Books® Whitekeys’ Wisdom © 2013 by Mr. Whitekeys Mr. Whitekeys’ photograph © 2013 by Randy Brandon Front cover photo © iStockphoto.com/Beverley Vycital All other photographs © 2013 by the various photographers as credited under the images All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the publisher. First edition published 1976 Thirty-fourth edition 2013 Previously published as FACTS ABOUT ALASKA: THE ALASKA ALMANAC® ISBN 978-0-88240-913-9 (pbk.) ISBN 978-088240-998-6 (e-book) ISSN 0270-5370 Key title: The Alaska Almanac Cover and interior design: Elizabeth Watson Composition: Vicki Knapton Editor: Nancy Gates Maps: Gray Mouse Graphics Alaska Northwest Books® An imprint of

P.O. Box 56119 Portland, OR 97238-6118 (503) 254-5591 www.GraphicArtsBooks.com


Contents Fast Facts About Alaska, 5 Map of Alaska, 6–7 Acknowledgments, 8

Agriculture, 9 Air Travel, 10 Alaska Statehood Timeline, 12 Alaska–Canada Boundary, 14 Alaska Highway, 15 Alcoholic Beverages, 16 Alyeska, 16 Amphibians, 16 Anchorage, 17 Antiquities Laws, 17 Archaeology, 18 Arctic Circle, 19 Arctic Winter Games, 19 Area Code, 19 Aurora Borealis, 19

Baidarka, 22 Baleen, 22 Barabara, 22 Baranov, Alexander, 22 Barrow, 23 Baseball, 23 Baskets, 24 Beadwork, 26 Bears, 27 Bering, Vitus, 28 Bering Land Bridge, 29 Berries, 29 Billiken, 30 Birds, 30 Blanket Toss, 33 Boating, 33 Bore Tide, 35 Breakup, 35 Bunny Boots, 36 Bush, 36 Bus Lines and Shuttles, 36

Cabbage, 38 Cabin Fever, 38 Cabins, 39 Cache, 40

Calendar of Annual Events, 41 Camping, 45 Chambers of Commerce, 47 Cheechako, 49 Chilkat Blanket, 49 Chilkoot Trail, 50 Chitons, 50 Climate, 50 Coal, 54 Conk, 54 Constitution of Alaska, 55 Continental Divide, 55 Convention and Visitors Bureaus and Information Centers, 55 Cook, Captain James, 56 Coppers, 57 Cost of Living, 57 Courts, 59 Cruises, 62

Dalton Highway, 62 Daylight Hours, 63 Diamond Willow, 63 Dog Mushing, 64 Earthquakes, 66

Highways, 94 Hiking, 95 History, 96 Holidays in 2014, 101 Homesteading, 101 Hooligan, 103 Hospitals and Health Facilities, 105 Hostels, 106 Hot Springs, 106 Hunting, 106 Hypothermia, 109

Ice, 110 Icebergs, 110 Ice Fog, 111 Iceworms, 111 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, 111 Igloo, 112 Information Sources, 113 Inside Passage, 116 Inuit Circumpolar Conference, 116 Islands, 116 Ivory, 117

Economy, 68 Education, 70 Employment, 71 Energy and Power, 72 Eskimo Ice Cream, 74 Exports, 74

Jade, 118

Fairbanks, 75 Ferries, 76 Fishing, 78 Fish Wheel, 81 Forests, 81 Furs and Trapping, 81

Labor and Employer

Geography, 83 Glaciers and Ice Fields, 84 Gold, 86 Gold Strikes and Rushes, 87 Golf, 87 Government, 88 Government Officials, 90

Juneau, 118

Kennecott, Kennicott, 119 Kodiak, 119 Kuspuk, 119

Organizations, 120 Lakes, 120 Land Use, 120 Languages, 122

Mammals, 122 Masks, 126 McNeil River State Game Sanctuary, 127 Metric Conversions, 128 Microbreweries, 128 Mileage Chart, 129 Military, 129


Minerals and Mining, 131 Mosquitoes, 132 Mountains, 133 Mount McKinley, 133 Mukluks, 135 Muktuk, 135 Museums, Cultural Centers, Exhibits, Historic Parks, Historical Societies and Repositories, 135 Mushrooms, 147 Muskeg, 147 Musk Oxen, 147

National Forests, 149 National Historic Places, 149 National Parks, Preserves and Monuments, 152 National Petroleum Reserve, 154 National Wild and Scenic Rivers, 155 National Wilderness Areas, 157 National Wildlife Refuges, 157 Native Arts and Crafts, 158 Native Peoples, 160 Nenana Ice Classic, 166 Newspapers and Periodicals, 167 Nome, 170 No-see-ums, 171

Oil and Gas, 171 Oosik, 177 Parka, 177 Permafrost, 177 Permanent Fund, 178 Pioneers’ Homes, 179 Pipeline, 180 Place-Names, 181 Poisonous Plants, 181 Political Parties, 181 Populations and Zip Codes, 182 Potlatch, 182 Qiviut, 182

Radio Stations, 182 Railroads, 194 Regions of Alaska, 195 Religion, 198 Reptiles, 199 Rivers, 199 Roadhouses, 200 Rocks and Gems, 200 Russian Alaska, 200 Russian Christmas, 201

Salmon Strips, 201 School District, 202 Seward, 202 Seward, William H., 202 Shipping, 203 Sitka, 204 Sitka Slippers, 205 Skagway, 205 Skiing, 206 Skin Sewing, 208 Skookum, 208 Soapstone, 208 Soldotna, 208 Sourdough, 209 Speed Limits, 209 Spruce Bark Beetle, 209 State Forests, 210 State Park System, 210 State Symbols, 211 Subsistence, 215 Sundogs, 216 Taiga, 216 Talkeetna, 216 Telecommunications, 217 Television Stations, 218 Tides, 220 Timber, 220 Time Zones, 221 Totem Poles, 221 Tourism, 222 Trees and Shrubs, 223 Tundra, 223 Ulu, 223 Umiak, 223 Unalaska/Dutch Harbor, 224 Universities and Colleges, 224

Veniaminov, Ioann, 226 Volcanoes, 226 Weather, 228 Whales, 228 Whaling, 230 Wildland Fires, 231 Wildflowers, 233 Windchill Factor, 233 Winds, 233 World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, 234 World War II, 235 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, 236 Yukon River, 237

Zip Codes, 238 Yearly Highlights, 2011–2013, 239 Suggested Reading, 241 Index, 243


Fast Facts About Alaska Motto: North to the Future. Nickname: The Last Frontier. Capital: Juneau. Purchased from Russia: 1867. Organized as a territory: 1912. Entered the Union: Jan. 3, 1959, as the 49th state. Governor: Sean Parnell. Land area: 570,374 square miles, or about 365 million acres. The largest state in the country, Alaska is one-fifth the size of the combined Lower 48 states. Population: 732,298. Median age of residents: 34. Per capita personal income: $45,529 in 2011. Area per person: About 0.78 square miles per person; New York state has 0.0024 square mile per person. Largest city in population: Anchorage, 298,842. Highest temperature: 100°F, at Fort Yukon, 1915. Lowest temperature: –80°F, at Prospect Creek Camp, 1971. Heaviest annual snowfall: 974.5 inches, at Thompson Pass, near Valdez, winter of 1952–53. Heaviest annual rainfall: 332.29 inches, at MacLeod Harbor, Montague Island, 1976. Most popular national park: Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, in Skagway, visited by 854,250 people in 2012.

North America’s tallest mountain: Mount McKinley at 20,320 feet. Nation’s farthest-north city: Barrow, 350 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Farthest-west town on the North American highway system: Kenai Peninsula’s Anchor Point, longitude 141.831W. World’s busiest seaplane base: Lake Hood Seaplane Base handles 70,000 aircrafts operations per year. North America’s longest highway tunnel: Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, 2.5 miles long, on the Portage Glacier Highway. Nation’s largest contiguous state park: Wood–Tikchik State Park, with 1.6 million acres of wilderness. North America’s biggest earthquake: Good Friday earthquake of March 27, 1964, with a magnitude rated at 9.2. Tidal range: 38.9 feet near Anchorage in Upper Cook Inlet. Nation’s greatest concentration of glaciers: About 29,000 square miles— 5 percent of the state—is covered by glaciers. Flyingest population: 1 in every 70 residents is an active pilot.


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Acknowledgments This 34th edition of The Alaska Almanac速 has been compiled and updated from information supplied by many helpful state and federal offices, publications, consultants, organizations, experts and individuals. The editors gratefully acknowledge: Laura Achee, Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation Anchorage Daily News Jeanne Anglin, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Jo Antonson, Alaska Department of Natural Resources Jack Bonney, Visit Anchorage Sue Benz, USDA, NASS, Alaska Field Office Russ Blome, Bureau of Land Management, Alaska State Office Breena Apgar-Kurtz, Alaska Department of Fish and Game John Brewer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Bill Brophy, Usibelli Coal Mine, Inc. Cheryl Cameron, Alaska Volcano Observatory Mikal R. Canfield, MSgt, USAF Public Affairs, Alaskan Command Alison Caputo, University of Alaska Southeast, Public Relations and Marketing Jim Clough, Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys Rod Combellick, Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys Kim Davis, University of Alaska Marketing and Communications Kim Elliot, Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators Shawn Eggert, PA1, U.S. Coast Guard, 17th District Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Kris Fister, Denali National Park and Preserve

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Neal Fried, Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development Chuck Gilbert, National Park Service, Alaska Region Andrew Heist, Alaska Department of Transportation Myrna Jensen, Visit Anchorage Sean Jordan, Alaska Department of Transportation Juneau Empire Mindy Lobaugh, Alaska Department of Education and Early Development Terry Miller, Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau Linda Nelson, CIRI Alaska Tourism Lisa Olson, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Beth Paluso, Audubon Alaska Bob Pawlowski, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil and Gas John Pennell, U.S. Army Alaska Jack Reneau, Boone and Crockett Club Kalei Rupp, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (Alaska National Guard) Cathy Tide, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Richard VanderHoek, Ph.D., Alaska Department of Natural Resources James Waddell, West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center Bruce Woods, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


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AGRICULTURE Agriculture in Alaska ranges from backyard gardens to 3,000-acre farms. Extremes of weather and a short growing season challenge cultivation in the state, but certain crops—notably potatoes, cabbage and carrots—thrive in the cool soil temperatures. Overall, climate is not the greatest impediment to Alaska farming. More significant hurdles are high production costs, lack of available, accessible farm ground and competition from the Lower 48. Alaska’s traditional farming is concentrated in two regions: the Matanuska Valley (northeast of Anchorage), which in 2010 contributed 59 percent of the state’s farm production value, and the Tanana Valley (running from Fairbanks to Delta Junction), which was responsible for 34 percent. An estimated 15 million to 18 million acres in Alaska are believed to be arable, but only 880,000 acres—less than one-half of 1 percent of the state—are currently considered land in farms. In 2010, crops covered 27,000 acres; the balance was in pasture and uncleared land. Total market value of Alaska’s agricultural products in 2011 was $32 million. Feed crops accounted for $4.5 million of total market receipts, and vegetables (including potatoes) were $7 million of the total. Greenhouse and nursery industries, which now account for the largest portion of the Alaska market basket, amounted to $13 million, or 41 percent of total cash receipts for 2011. The Tanana Valley harvests most of the barley grown in Alaska. Total production netted 175,000 bushels in 2011, yielding 36.5 bushels an acre. Production value for the 2011 barley crop was $788,000, down from the 2010 crop of $814,000. Harvest of oats yielded 80 bushels an acre for a total of 80,000 bushels at an estimated value of $276,000 in 2011. This reflects an increase from 60,000 bushels valued at $161,000 in 2010. Another Alaska agriculture enterprise is the raising of reindeer. Officials estimate there

is a total of 15,000 head in herds throughout Alaska. Most of the reindeer are located on the Seward Peninsula, where they contribute significantly to the local economies. Among the by-products of reindeer is the powder made from clipped antler, most of which is exported to the Far East, where it is believed to be an aphrodisiac. Sales related to reindeer were valued at $660,000 in 2010, down from $665,000 in 2009. Alaska has less than a half-dozen Grade-A dairies supporting 500 dairy cows that produced 800,000 gallons of milk in 2011. This is a decrease of over 23,000 gallons from 2010. These figures contrast with those of the 1960s when there were more than 50 Grade-A dairies with approximately 2,800 dairy cows producing 2.7 million gallons of milk. Economic stresses continue to hold down the number of farmers involved in this capitalintensive industry. The small vegetable gardens of the Russian fur traders are believed to constitute the first Alaska agriculture. Gold-rush days saw growing interest in local farming possibilities, but it wasn’t until 1935 that there was a concerted effort to introduce commercial growing. President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal resettlement plan transplanted 200 farm families from the Midwest to the Matanuska Valley, where they were to create a food source for the territory. Although most produce comes from Outside, local farmers still supply the state with fresh produce and dairy products. During the growing season, grocery stores and farmers markets feature “Alaska Grown . . . Fresher by Far” produce. There are more than 40 farmers markets selling local products during the summer. In Southcentral, the growing season averages 117 days; there are some days with more than 19 hours of sunlight in the summer (which help produce giant-size vegetables). The Tanana Valley growing season is shorter than that of the Matanuska Valley, with about 106 frost-free days. Because growingseason temperatures are warmer in the Tanana Valley, many experts consider the area

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to have greater agricultural potential. Barley and oats are raised for grain and hay. Most Alaska-grown grain is used for domestic livestock feed. All are spring varieties since few winter types survive the cold. Beef, pork, hay, eggs and fresh produce are produced throughout the Railbelt region and are easily transported to major markets. (The Railbelt is the region linked by the Alaska Railroad, from Seward north to Fairbanks.) There are nearly 1,100 sheep in Alaska (down from 27,000 in 1970), and 13,000 head of cattle. Across Alaska, the pressure of urban development is reducing the number of accessible acres available for farming. At the same time, the state is attempting to increase the number of farms through sales of agriculture tracts. Many Alaskans rely on farming to supplement other income. In 2011, there were 680 farms with annual sales of $1,000 or more. Since 1978, state land sales have placed more than 165,000 acres of potential agricultural land into private ownership. Most of this acreage is in the Delta Junction area, south of Fairbanks, where tracts of up to 3,200 acres were sold by lottery for farming. The Nenana area, southwest of Fairbanks, and the Fish Creek area of the

Mat-Su Valley are among those under consideration for future agricultural development. Additional information is available from the Alaska Agricultural Statistics Service, P.O. Box 799, Palmer 98547; (907) 745-4272; www.nass.usda.gov/ak.

Total Acreage of Alaska Cropland by Region, (2007 Census of Agriculture—latest numbers available) Region Percent Acres (86,238 total) Tanana Valley 73.0 63,621 Matanuska Valley 20.0 17,048 Rest of Alaska* 7.0 5,569 *Includes the Kenai Peninsula, Southeast and Southwestern portions of the state.

AIR TRAVEL Alaska is the flyingest state in the Union; the only practical way to reach many areas of rural Alaska is by airplane. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, Alaska Region, in February 2013 there were 10,490 active pilots and 10,411 registered aircraft. Since 1982, the federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP) provided more than $3.3

Floatplane on a remote lake in Alaska. Photo Š iStockphoto.com/JonnyNoTrees.

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billion for airport construction, development and planning throughout the state. These federal funds were provided for more than 1,365 AIP grants within the state. In 2011, the FAA Alaska Region distributed $229.2 million in 59 grants to state and “local” airport sponsors. According to the FAA, Alaska has 287 public use land-based airports, 44 heliports and approximately 735 recorded landing areas (private, public and military). Additionally, pilots land on many of the thousands of lakes and gravel bars across the state where no constructed facility exists. Of the 138 seaplane bases in Alaska, Lake Hood in Anchorage is the largest and busiest in the world. It accommodates an annual average of about 190 takeoffs and landings daily. The daily average jumps to nearly 400 operations during the peak summer months. There were 68,732 operations in 2011, when combined with the Lake Hood gravel strip. Merrill Field in Anchorage recorded an estimated 130,779 flight operations in fiscal year 2011. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport saw nearly 5 million passengers in fiscal year 2011. Ted Stevens Anchorage International is the No. 2 airport in the United States for cargo traffic, based on preliminary all-cargo aircraft landed weight. The airport serves 49 cargo destinations, and averages 500 wide-body cargo landings per week. The 768 acres of airfield pavement at TSAIA are never closed for snow. Airfield maintenance crews moved more than 6 million tons of snow from November 2011 through April 2012—a record-breaking year for snowfall in the area. Pilots who wish to fly their own planes to Alaska should have the latest federal government flight information publication, Alaska Supplement. Travel and safety information is available from the Federal Aviation Administration, 222 W. Seventh Ave., No. 14, Anchorage 99513-7587; www.faa.gov. Air taxi operators are found in most

Alaska communities, and aircraft can be chartered to fly you to a wilderness spot, and pick you up later at a prearranged time and location. Most charter operators charge an hourly rate, either per planeload or per passenger (sometimes with a minimum passenger requirement); others may charge on a per-mile basis. Flightseeing trips to area attractions are often available at a fixed price per passenger. In the Anchorage area, prices range from $100 to $385 ($600 to $810 for bear viewing). Charter fares begin at $475 per hour for a four-passenger flight, to $1,350 per hour for a ten-passenger flight. A wide range of aircraft is used for charter and scheduled passenger service in Alaska. The larger interstate airlines—Alaska, American, Delta, Jet Blue, US Airways and United—use jets (Boeing 737, 757, 767 and Airbus comparable aircraft). Prop jets and single- or twin-engine prop planes on wheels, skis and floats are used for most intrastate travel. A few of these types of aircraft flown in Alaska are 19-passenger de Havilland Twin Otter, Cessna Caravan, SAAB, Metroliner, 10-passenger Britten-Norman Islander, 7-passenger Grumman Goose (amphibious), DC-3, 4-passenger Cessna 185, 9-passenger twin-engine Piper Navajo Chieftain, 5- to 8-passenger de Havilland Beaver, 3- to 4-passenger Cessna 180, 5- to 6-passenger Cessna 206 and single-passenger Piper Super Cub.

International Service. Several international carriers provide cargo or passenger service in Alaska through the Ted Stevens International Airport gateway. The list includes Air Canada, Air China, Asiana Airlines, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, China Cargo Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Condor, EVA Air, Great Wall Airlines, 11


Icelandair, Jade Cargo, Japan Air Charter, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Nippon Cargo Airlines, Omni Air International, Shanghai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Yangtze River Express, Yakutia Airlines.

Interstate Service. U.S. carriers providing interstate cargo or passenger service: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, Empire Airlines, Era Aviation, Evergreen International, FedEx, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Kalitta Air, Lynden Air Cargo, North American Airlines, Northern Air Cargo, Omni Air International, Polar Air Cargo, Southern Air, Sun Country Airlines, TransNorthern, United Airlines, United Parcel Service, US Airways and World Airways. Intrastate Service. Cargo or passenger carriers include Ace Air Cargo, Desert Air Alaska, Era Aviation, Everts Air Cargo, Frontier Flying Service, Grant Aviation, Hageland Aviation and PenAir. Cargo carriers include ACE Air Cargo, Alaska Airlines, Everts Air Cargo, Lynden Air Cargo and Northern Air Cargo.

1867–1875—U.S. Army assigned legal authority over the new possession; beginning of 17-year period viewed as the “era of no government.” Aug. 12, 1868—William H. Seward forecasts statehood in a speech at Sitka. 1876–1879—Army withdraws troops for transfer to battle uprising of Nez Perce Indians in Pacific Northwest; Customs collector Montgomery P. Berry remains sole federal official at Sitka. 1878—Native Alaskans, victims of lawlessness, petition British government for assistance. British send a warship to protect them. 1880—Discovery of gold in Juneau area; Alaska’s population: 33,426. 1879–1884—American sloop of war U.S.S. Jamestown arrives; Commander Lester A. Beardslee begins period of law enforcement under auspices of U.S. Navy.

Air Taxi Operators. There are many smaller air taxis operating out of communities throughout the state. Those based at Merrill Field include ACE Hangars, Alaska Air Transit, Dena’ina Air Taxi, Jay-Hawk Air, Lake and Pen Air, Lake Clark Air Service and Spernak Airways, Inc.

ALASKA STATEHOOD TIMELINE From a Russian Colony to an American State March 30, 1867—Secretary of State William H. Seward negotiates with Russian Minister to the United States, Baron Edouard de Stoeckl. They sign the Treaty of Cession of Russian America. U.S. agrees to pay $7.2 million for Alaska. Oct. 18, 1867—Stars and Stripes raised at Baranov’s Castle during transfer ceremony in capital city of New Archangel, now Sitka.

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The U.S.S. Jamestown arrived in 1879, beginning a period of U.S. Navy rule in Alaska. Courtesy Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

1884—First Organic Act designates Alaska a customs district; allows for limited judicial and civil government. President Chester A. Arthur appoints John H. Kinkead as Alaska’s first governor. 1890—Alaska’s population: 32,052. 1896—Gold strikes in Canada draw


thousands through Alaska en route to Klondike; enforcement of law differs greatly on each side of the international boundary. 1899— Nome gold rush; Alaska gets a criminal code. 1900—Juneau replaces Sitka as the capital; Alaska’s population: 63,592. 1902—Fairbanks gold rush. 1906—Alaska’s first nonvoting territorial representative, Frank H. Waskey, appointed to the House of Representatives. 1910—Alaska’s population: 64,356. 1912—Second Organic Act designates Alaska a territory; establishes more expansive self-rule. 1915—New federal railroad connects Seward, Anchorage and Fairbanks. 1916—First statehood bill introduced by Judge James Wickersham, voteless delegate to Congress. The bill fails. 1920—Population: 55,036. 1930—Population: 59,278. 1940—Population: 72,524. 1946—Alaskans pass referendum for statehood by a 3-to-2 margin; President Harry S. Truman’s first State of the Union address urges statehood for Alaska and Hawaii. 1948—E. L. “Bob” Bartlett introduces a statehood bill to Congress. Stalled in Rules

Committee by Republicans who fear new state would send Democrats to Washington. 1949—Ernest Gruening forms “Alaska Statehood Committee,” garnering support from leading politicians, actors, authors and other prominent figures. Another bill is introduced to Congress. 1950—Statehood bill passes in the House, 186 to 146. Fails in the Senate. Population: 128,643. Nov. 8, 1955—Fifty-five Constitutional Convention delegates from throughout Alaska begin 75 days of meetings in Fairbanks to write a constitution. Gruening’s address, “Let Us End American Colonialism” galvanizes the group. Feb. 5, 1956—Convention delegates draft new constitution, including an ordinance to adopt Tennessee Plan to elect as-yet-unrecognized representatives to Congress. April 24, 1956—Alaskans vote overwhelming approval of Constitution. Jan. 14, 1957—Florida Sen. Spessard Holland introduces Tennessee Plan delegates, Alaska’s two “senators” and one “representative,” to the Senate. Ernest Gruening, Bill Egan and Ralph Rivers are not seated, but begin months of intense lobbying in Washington.

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June 30, 1958—U.S. Senate approves the Alaska Statehood Act, 64 to 20. Aug. 26, 1958—Alaskans endorse statehood in a 5-to-1 margin vote. July 7, 1958—President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs Alaska Statehood Act. Jan. 3, 1959—Alaska enters the Union. 1960—Alaska’s population: 226,167.

ALASKA-CANADA BOUNDARY In 1825, Russia, in possession of Alaska, and Great Britain, in possession of Canada, established the original boundary between Alaska and Canada. The demarcation was to begin at 54°40’ north latitude, just north of the mouth of Portland Canal, follow the canal to 56° north latitude, then traverse the mountain summits parallel to the coast as far as 141° west longitude. From there it would conform with that meridian north to the Arctic Ocean. The boundary line along the mountain summits in southeastern Alaska was never to be farther inland than 10 leagues—about 30 miles. After purchasing Alaska in 1867, the United States found that the wording about the boundary line was interpreted differently by the Canadians, who held that the measurements should be made inland from the mouths of bays. The Americans argued the measurements should be made from the heads of the bays. In 1903, an international tribunal upheld the American interpretation of the treaty, providing Alaska the 1,538-milelong border it has with Canada today. The southeastern Alaska border is 891 miles long, and 181 miles of that border are over water. If the Canadians had won their argument, they would have had access to the sea, and Haines, Dyea and Skagway now would be in Canada. A 20-foot-wide vista—a swath of land 10 feet on each side of the boundary between southeastern Alaska, British Columbia and Yukon Territory—was surveyed and cleared between 1904 and 1914. Portions of the 710-mile-long land portion of the boundary were again cleared in 1925, 1948, 1978 and

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nchorage International Airport was renamed Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in 2000, in honor of Alaska’s senior senator. Senator Stevens had been in the Senate since 1968. Legislators and community leaders wanted to honor Sen. Stevens during his lifetime; renaming Alaska’s largest airport, a hub for international air traffic, in his honor seemed the obvious choice. —2001 The Alaska Almanac®

1982 by the International Boundary Commission. Monument and vista maintenance in 1978 and 1982 was conducted by the Canadian section of the commission and by the U.S. section in 1983, 1984 and 1985. The Alaska–Canada border along the 141st meridian was surveyed and cleared between 1904 and 1920. Astronomical observations were made to find the meridian’s intersection with the Yukon River; then, under the direction of the International Boundary Commission, engineers and surveyors of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey and the Canadian Department of the Interior worked together north and south from the Yukon. The straight-line vista extends from Demarcation Point on the Arctic Ocean south to Mount St. Elias in the Wrangell Mountains (from there the border cuts east to encompass southeastern Alaska). This part of the border stretches for 647 miles in one of the world’s longest straight lines, as well as the world’s longest unguarded border. Monuments are the actual markers of the boundary and are located so they tie in with survey networks of both the United States and Canada. Along the Alaska


boundary most monuments are 21⁄2 -foot-high cones of aluminum-bronze set in concrete bases or occasionally cemented into rock. A large pair of concrete monuments with a pebbled finish marks major boundary road crossings. Because the boundary is not just a line but in fact a vertical plane dividing land and sky between the two nations, bronze plates mark tunnel and bridge crossings. Along the meridian, 191 monuments are placed, beginning 200 feet from the Arctic Ocean and ending at the south side of Logan Glacier.

ALASKA HIGHWAY (See also Highways) The Alaska Highway runs 1,422 miles through Canada and Alaska from Milepost 0 at Dawson Creek, British Columbia, through Yukon Territory to its official finish in Delta Junction, Alaska, then onward to its unofficial finish in Fairbanks at Milepost 1,523. (Each town claims an “end of the road” status and has a much-photographed milepost marker outside its visitor center.) Until this overland link between Alaska and the Lower 48 was built in 1942, travel to and from Alaska was primarily by water.

History. The highway was built to relieve Alaska from the hazards of shipping by water and to supply a land route for equipment during World War II. By agreement between the governments of Canada and the United States, the highway was built in eight months by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and was dedicated in November 1942. Crews worked south from Delta Junction, Alaska; north and south from Whitehorse, Yukon; and north from Dawson Creek, British Columbia. The building of the highway was recognized as one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century. Two major sections of the highway were connected on Sept. 23, 1942, at Contact Creek, Milepost 588.1, where the 35th Engineer Combat Regiment working west from Fort Nelson met the 340th Engineer General Service Regiment working east from Whitehorse. The last link in the highway was completed Nov. 20, 1942, when the 97th Engineer General Service Regiment, heading east from Tanacross, met the 18th Engineer Combat Regiment, coming northwest from Kluane Lake, at Milepost 1200.9. A ceremony commemorating the event was held at Soldiers Summit on Kluane Lake, and the first truck to negotiate the entire highway left that day from Soldiers Summit and arrived in Fairbanks the next day. After World War II, the Alaska Highway was turned over to civilian contractors for widening and graveling, replacing log bridges with steel and rerouting at many points. Road improvements on the Alaska Highway continue today. Preparation for Driving the Alaska Highway. Make sure your vehicle and tires

RV travel on the Alaska Highway and its spur roads continues to increase with road improvements. Photo by Tricia Brown.

are in good condition before starting out. A widely available item to include is clear plastic headlight covers to protect your headlights from flying rocks and gravel. You might also consider a wire-mesh screen across the front of your vehicle to protect paint, radiator and headlights from flying gravel. For those hauling trailers, a

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piece of quarter-inch plywood fitted over the front of your trailer offers protection from rocks and gravel. You’ll find well-stocked auto shops in the North, but may wish to carry your own emergency items: flares; first-aid kit; mosquito repellent; trailer bearings; good bumper jack with lug wrench; a simple set of tools, such as hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, wire, crescent wrenches, socket and/or open-end wrenches, pry bar; electrician’s tape; small assortment of nuts and bolts; fan belt; one or two spare tires (two spares for traveling any remote road); and any parts for your vehicle that might not be available along the way. Include a few extra gallons of gas and water, especially for remote roads. You may wish to carry a can each of brake, power steering and automatic transmission fluids. While the main route is nearly all paved, long stretches of the Alaska Highway routinely undergo widening or other improvements, and delays are possible. Dust is worst during dry spells, following heavy rain (which disturbs the road surface) and in construction areas. If you encounter much dust, check your air filter frequently. To help keep dust out of your vehicle, try to keep air pressure in the car by closing all windows and turning on the fan. Filtered heating and air-conditioning ducts in a vehicle bring in much less dust than open windows or vents. When U.S. citizens driving the Alaska Highway through Canada cross the border into the U.S., they are now required to show a valid U.S. passport or passport card.

ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES The legal age for possession, purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages is 21 in Alaska. Underage drinkers may lose their driver’s licenses for 90 days. Any business that serves or distributes alcoholic beverages must be licensed by the state. The population in a geographic area limits the number of different types of licenses issued. Generally one license of each 16

type may be issued for each 3,000 persons or fraction thereof. Licensed premises include bars, some restaurants and clubs. Packaged liquor, beer and wine are sold by licensed package stores. Licenses are renewed biennially. Recreational site licenses, caterer’s permits and special events permits allow the holder of a permit or license to sell at special events, and allow nonprofit fraternal, civic or patriotic organizations to serve beer and wine at certain activities. State law allows liquor outlets to operate from 8 a.m. to 5 a.m. (except on election days), but provides that local governments may impose tighter restrictions. Dozens of communities have banned possession and/or sale and importation of alcoholic beverages (knowingly bringing, sending or transporting alcoholic beverages into the community). Others have banned the sale of all alcoholic beverages. Contact the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board at (907) 269-0350 for a current list or check www. commerce.alaska.gov/dnn/abc.

ALYESKA (See also Skiing) Pronounced Al-YES-ka, this Aleut word means “the great land” and was one of the original names for Alaska. Mount Alyeska, a 3,939-foot peak in the Chugach Mountains south of Anchorage, is the site of the state’s largest ski resort. AMPHIBIANS Three species of salamander, two species of frog and one species of toad are found in Alaska. In the salamander order are the rough-skinned newt, long-toed salamander and northwestern salamander. In the frog and toad order are the boreal toad, wood frog and spotted frog. The northern limit of each species may be the latitude at which the larvae fail to complete their development in one summer. While some species of salamander can


overwinter as larvae in temperate southeastern Alaska, the shallow ponds of central Alaska freeze solid during the winter. All these amphibians are found primarily in southeastern Alaska, except for the wood frog, Rana sylvatica, which with its shortened larval period is found widespread throughout the state and north of the Brooks Range.

ANCHORAGE (See also Regions of Alaska) Anchorage is located on a broad peninsula in Cook Inlet, defined by Knik Arm and Turnagain Arm, and bordered to the east by the Chugach Mountains. Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula make up the region Alaskans call Southcentral, a region milder in climate than the Interior, with average temperatures of 15°F in January and 58°F in July and an average snowfall of about 70 inches a year. Anchorage’s daylight has a daily maximum of 19 hours, 21 minutes in summer and reaches a minimum of 5 hours, 28 minutes in winter. The population of Anchorage was 1,856 in 1920, and remained at a few thousand until after World War II. In 1994, Alaska’s most populous city broke the quarter-million mark for the first time; in 2012 it was home to an estimated 298,842 people (about 41 percent of the state’s population). Anchorage suffered millions of dollars in damage in a devastating earthquake on March 27, 1964, originally measured at 8.6 on the Richter scale but later upgraded to a magnitude of 9.2—the strongest ever recorded in North America. (See also Earthquakes.) Sometimes called the “Air Crossroads of the World,” Anchorage is a gateway for international travelers. Surrounded by dense spruce, birch and aspen forests, it is just a step away from wilderness and multiple recreational opportunities. Anchorage also serves as a jump-off point for tourists—whether they’re heading 200 miles north to visit Denali National Park and Mount McKinley, North America’s highest mountain; or south 52 miles to view

Portage Glacier, one of the state’s mostvisited sights; or even to one of Alaska’s Bush locations for hunting, fishing, skiing, hiking, nature photography or sightseeing. Although bear and moose may occasionally wander the city’s highways and byways, Anchorage offers many of the attractions of any large metropolis, such as art galleries, museums, libraries, cultural diversity, music—including a symphony orchestra, opera and dance—and theaters big enough to stage productions by national touring companies. Anchorage has more than 400 churches and more than 270 public and private schools, including the University of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Pacific University. Restaurants offer everything from fine dining and ethnic cuisine to fast food. Anchorage has more than 8,500 hotel/motel rooms plus hundreds of bed-and-breakfast or hostel beds. Contact Visit Anchorage for a free visitor’s guide, maps and additional information: 524 W. Fourth Ave., Anchorage 99501-2212; (907) 276-4118; www.anchorage.net.

ANTIQUITIES LAWS (See also National Historic Places) State and federal laws prohibit excavation or removal of historic and prehistoric cultural materials without a permit. Nearly all 50 states have historic preservation laws; Alaska’s extends even to tidal lands, making it illegal to pick up artifacts on the beach while beachcombing. It sometimes is difficult to distinguish between historic sites and abandoned

Last summer, Travel and Leisure magazine voted Anchorage “The Worst Dressed City” in the entire U.S.A.! It makes us look back fondly on the Dress Code at Anchorage’s old Fly By Night Club: “Wear something above your waist. Wear something below your waist. And that should just about do it.” We love being ahead of our time.

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property. Old gold-mining towns and cabins, as well as areas such as the Chilkoot and Iditarod Trails, should always be considered historic sites or private property. Also, cabins that appear to be abandoned may be seasonally used trapping cabins; the structure and possessions are vital to the owner. Alaska law prohibits the disturbance of fossils, including those of prehistoric animals such as mammoths.

ARCHAEOLOGY (See also Bering Land Bridge) Alaska has a long and rich archaeological history. Many experts believe the first human migrants to North and South America some 40,000 to 15,000 years ago came first to

Harpoon dart heads from Kodiak Island (top) and Umnak Island (bottom) show the similarities of the Kodiak and Umnak Islands. Courtesy of Don Dumond. From In Search of Ancient Alaska by Ellen Bielawski, Ph.D.

Alaska, either by crossing over the nowsubmerged Bering Land Bridge that connected Siberia to Alaska during the last ice age, or by utilizing watercraft along the land bridge’s southern coast. Archaeological investigations over the last several decades have produced some of the earliest evidence of human occupation in Alaska. These sites, in the Tanana drainage of

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central Alaska, include the Broken Mammoth, Meade and Swan Point sites. They have produced deposits ranging back to more than 13,000 years old. Small hunting tools have been found throughout Alaska, probably belonging to nomadic hunting and gathering peoples. The archaeological record becomes more complex about 4,000 years ago, when it reveals cultural patterns that can be traced lineally to Alaska Native groups still extant at the time of contact with Europeans. There is still much to discover about Alaska’s prehistory. Many archaeological sites are small, representing the camps of wandering hunters and gatherers; some sites, especially along the coast where rich natural resources allowed people to become more sedentary and established, are large and deep. Where permafrost or other frozen deposits occur, preservation of even the most perishable organic materials offers a wealth of information on life in the past. There are several thousand known archaeological sites in the state. One of the most famous is the 500-year-old Utkeaviq Site at Barrow, where a “frozen family” was unearthed from Mound 44 in the Birnirk archaeological site during 1982–83. Important finds in the last decade include well-preserved organic artifacts like arrows and atlatl dart shafts that have been recovered from glaciers and other frozen contexts. In 1993, another of the oldest documented sites of human habitation in North America was discovered. Called the Mesa Site, it is located about 150 miles north of the Arctic Circle in the foothills of the Brooks Range. The 11,500-year-old hunting site, perched atop a 200-foot mesa overlooking the surrounding plain, has produced stone tools reminiscent of “Paleo Indian” sites of the continental U.S. and Canada. It probably was used for 2,000 years as a hunters’ lookout for prey such as caribou. Archaeological excavations, or digs, are generally confined to the summer months. The University of Alaska frequently sponsors


digs, as do several state and federal agencies. Recent excavations have taken place near Barrow, Delta Junction, Kodiak, Fairbanks, Kotzebue, Sitka and on the Kenai and Alaska Peninsulas. Participants are invited, for a fee, to take part in a dig on Afognak Island. Inquire with the Native Village of Afognak, 323 Carolyn St., Kodiak, AK 99615; (907) 486-6357; www.afognak.org/dig.php. Additional information about projects is available from the Alaska Office of History and Archaeology, www.dnr.alaska.gov/parks/oha/index.htm.

ARCTIC CIRCLE (See also Daylight Hours) The Arctic Circle (See map, pages 6–7) is the latitude at which the sun does not set for one day at summer solstice and does not rise for one day at winter solstice. The latitude, which varies slightly from year to year, is approximately 66°34’ north from the equator and circumscribes the northern frigid zone. A solstice occurs when the sun is at its greatest distance from the celestial equator. On the day of summer solstice, June 20 or 21, the sun does not set at the Arctic Circle, and because of refraction of sunlight, it appears not to set for four days. Farther north, at Barrow (the northernmost community in the United States), the sun does not set from May 10 to Aug. 2. At winter solstice, Dec. 21 or 22, the sun does not rise for one day at the Arctic Circle. At Barrow, it does not rise for 67 days. ARCTIC WINTER GAMES The Arctic Winter Games are held every two years in mid-March for northern athletes from Alaska, northern Alberta, Greenland, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik– Northern Quebec, Yukon Territory and Russia. The first games were held in 1970 in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and have since been held in Fairbanks and on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, Whitehorse, Yukon, Wood Buffalo, Alberta and Grande Prairie, Alberta. Fairbanks will host the games in 2014.

In 2012, a contingent of 282 athletes from Alaska participated in the games held in Whitehorse, Yukon. Competition includes alpine skiing, arctic sports (traditional Inuit and Dene games), badminton, basketball, curling, cross-country skiing, dog mushing, figure skating, freestyle skiing, gymnastics, hockey, short track speed skating, ski biathlon, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowshoe biathlon, indoor soccer, table tennis, volleyball and wrestling. Cultural events and performances encourage participation by people of all ages. Information: www.arcticwintergames.org.

AREA CODE The area code for nearly all of Alaska is 907. The one exception is the tiny community of Hyder in Southeast Alaska, which shares an area code with nearby Stewart, British Columbia—250. Although virtually all Alaska Bush communities now have full telephone service, the situation today differs greatly from 1979, when RCA Alaska Communications reported that 140 of the 291 communities it served had only a single phone monitored by an operator. AURORA BOREALIS The aurora borealis—the northern lights—is produced by charged electrons and protons striking gas particles in Earth’s upper atmosphere. The electrons and protons are released through sunspot activity on the Sun and emanate into space. A few drift the one- to two-day course to Earth, where they are pulled to the most northern and southern latitudes by the planet’s magnetic forces. The color of the aurora borealis varies, depending on how hard the gas particles are being struck. Auroras can range from simple arcs to drapery-like forms in green, red, blue and purple. The lights occur in a pattern rather than as a solid glow because electric current sheets flowing through gases create V-shaped potential double layers. Electrons near the center of the current sheet move faster, hit the atmosphere harder and cause 19


The 2012 Arctic Winter Games were held in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, on March 4 to 10. Among the Alaskan winners were these:

Arctic Sports:

One-Foot High Kick: Open Male, Silver: Casey Ferguson. Bronze: Brian Randazzo. Open Female, Gold: Alice Strick. Junior Female, Silver: Autumn Ridley. Two-Foot High Kick: Open Male, Silver: Brian Randazzo. Bronze: Casey Ferguson. Open Female, Bronze: Alice Strick. Junior Female, Bronze: Autumn Ridley. Alaskan High Kick: Open Male, Gold: Casey Ferguson. Silver: David Thomas. Open Female, Gold: Jaclyn Weston. Bronze: Erica Meckel. Junior Male, Bronze: Emery Booshu. Junior Female, Gold: Autumn Ridley. Bronze: Tahnee Esparza. Kneel Jump: Open Female, Gold: Erica Meckel. Silver: Jaclyn Weston. Junior Male,

Gold: Jose Casados. Silver: Martin Gardiner. Junior Female, Silver: Autumn Ridley. Bronze: Tahnee Esparza. One Hand Reach: Open Male, Gold: Casey Ferguson, David Thomas. Knuckle Hop: Open Male, Bronze: David Thomas. Sledge Jump: Open Male, Bronze: David Thomas. Triple Jump: Open Female, Silver: Erica Meckel. Junior Male, Bronze: Martin Gardiner. Junior Female, Silver: Autumn Ridley. Bronze: Tahnee Esparza. All-Around: Open Male, Gold: Casey Ferguson. Silver: David Thomas. Open Female, Bronze: Erica Meckel. Junior Female, Silver: Autumn Ridley.

Dene Games:

Finger Pull: Junior Male, Gold: Randy Standifer Jr. Silver: Gabe Holley. Bronze: Jonathan Wilson. Junior Female, Bronze: Rae Rae Timmerman. Hand Games: Junior Male, Silver: Team Alaska. Junior Female, Silver: Team Alaska. Snow Snake: Junior Male, Silver: Randy Standifer Jr. Stick Pull: Junior Male, Gold: Randy Standifer Jr. Silver: Drew Dewberry. Junior Female, Silver: Paulina Nicole Valencia. Bronze: Olivia Piiyuuk Shields. Juvenile

Female, Gold: Victoria Treder. Pole Push: Open Male, Bronze: Team Alaska. Junior Male, Gold: Team Alaska. Junior Female, Gold: Team Alaska. Juvenile Female, Bronze: Team Alaska. All-Around: Open Male, Bronze: Drew Dewberry. Junior Male, Gold: Randy Standifer Jr., Silver: Jonathan Wilson. Junior Female, Bronze: Olivia Piiyuuk Shields. Juvenile Female, Silver: Victoria Treder.

—Source: Arctic Winter Games, www.arcticwintergames.org.

the different intensities of light observed in the aurora. Displays take place as low as 40 miles above Earth’s surface, but usually begin about 68 miles above and extend hundreds of miles into space. They concentrate in two bands roughly centered above the Arctic Circle and Antarctic Circle (the latter known as the aurora australis) that are about 2,500 miles in diameter. In northern latitudes the greatest

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occurrence of auroral displays is in the spring and fall months, because of the tilt of the planet in relationship to the sun’s plane. Displays may occur on dark nights throughout the winter. If sunspot activity is particularly intense and the denser-than-usual solar wind heads to Earth, the resulting auroras can be so great that they cover all but the tropical latitudes. Some observers claim that the northern lights


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n 2007, Cathy Parker, a 42-year-old bank executive and football mom from Jacksonville, Florida, learned of Barrow’s need for a high school football field while listening to a segment about the Whalers on ESPN. She initiated Project Alaska Turf to raise funds to bring an artificial turf to the nation’s northernmost city. Donations poured in from Florida to Alaska, and Parker was among the excited spectators at the team’s first game on the new field. The Whalers won the game, and celebrated with a victory dip in the Arctic Ocean; the balmy summertime temperature that day was 50 degrees. —2009 The Alaska Almanac®

make a sound similar to the rustle of taffeta, but scientists say the displays cannot be heard in the audible frequency range. Residents of Fairbanks, located on the 65th parallel, see the aurora borealis an average of 240 nights a year. The University of Alaska Fairbanks issues weekly aurora forecasts in winter. Additional information and forecasts can be found at www.gi.alaska. edu/AuroraForecast.

Photographing the Aurora Borealis. To capture a shot of the northern lights, you will need a digital SLR camera with high ISO capability, a tall, sturdy tripod with a good ballhead, a locking-type cable release (if needed for a long exposure) and an f3.5 lens (or faster). It is best to photograph the lights on a night when they are not moving too rapidly. And as a general rule, photos improve if you manage to include recognizable subjects in the foreground—trees and lighted cabins are favorites of many photographers. Set up your camera at least

75 feet back from the foreground objects to make sure that both the foreground and aurora are in sharp focus. Normal and wide-angle lenses are best. Try to keep your exposures under a minute— a 10- to 30-second exposure is generally best. The lens openings and exposure times are only starting points, since the amount of light generated by the aurora is inconsistent. (For best results, bracket widely.) Use the “B-Bulb” or manual setting of the camera and use the following exposures as a place to start: f-stop ISO 400 f1.2 3 sec. f1.4 4 f1.8 5 f2 10 f2.8 20 f3.5 30

ISO 800 1.5 sec. 2 3 5 10 15

If you are using a digital camera, review the image taken and then adjust your exposure based on what the image looks like—more exposure if they are dark, less exposure if too light. A few notes of caution: Protect the camera from low temperatures until you are ready to make your exposures. Cameras with electronically controlled shutters may not function properly at low temperatures. Having several sets of extra batteries (kept warm in a pocket close to your body and changed frequently) is a good idea. Use a flash card that works in extreme cold. While waiting on a frigid night, put the flash card and the battery in your pocket until you are ready to shoot. Chemical hand warmers in your pockets are a great help. A headlamp will free up both hands for handling your camera. Be sure to remove the filter from your lens when photographing the aurora. Set camera to single point focus, preferably the center one. Prefocus the camera at infinity in the daylight—before shooting the aurora. Choose an edge with good contrast and hit the focus button a few time to get a confirmed focus.

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Set lens to manual focus and tape focusing dial to nonmoving barrel of the lens so you don’t accidentally change the settings in the dark. Follow the basic rules and experiment with exposures. The first photographs to show the aurora borealis in its entirety were published in early 1982. These historic photographs were taken from satellite-mounted cameras specially adapted to filter unwanted light from the sunlit portion of the Earth, which is a million times brighter than the aurora. From space, the aurora has the appearance of a nearly perfect circle. For additional information on photographing the aurora, consult camera shops in Alaska, or professional Alaskan outdoor photographers.

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BAIDARKA The baidarka (also spelled bidarka or bidarkee), or Unangaˆx (Aleut) kayak, is a portable decked boat made of skins (usually seal) stretched over wood frames. The baidarka (a Russian term for the skin boats) was widely used by the Unangaˆx (Aleut) and Alaska coastal Natives for transportation and hunting in areas associated with Russian influence. Baidarkas were the only form of kayak commonly built with three hatchways—two for the Unangaˆx (Aleut) paddlers and one for the Russian passenger.

Three-hatch baidairka about 1900. Photo by J.E. Thwaites, courtesy of Anchorage Museum of History and Art. From Baidarka by George Dyson.

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BALEEN (See also Baskets; Whales) Baleen (often mistakenly called “whalebone”) hangs from the upper jaw of baleen whales in long, fringed, bonelike strips. Baleen whales, such as humpback, bowhead, minke and gray, feed by taking in seawater and filtering through the baleen small fish, plankton and the tiny, shrimplike creatures called krill. Baleen is made of keratin, a substance found in human fingernails. The outer edge of baleen is hard; the inside edges of the baleen plates form a fringe of coarse bristles that resembles matted goat hair. The number of plates along the jaw of an adult humpback, the largest of the baleen whales, varies from 600 to 800 (300 to 400 a side); the roof of the mouth is empty of plates. The bowhead whale has 600 plates, some of which reach 14 feet or more in length. Baleen varies in thickness and texture. Baleen from humpback whales is coarse; sei whales have finely textured baleen. Baleen was once used for corset stays, Venetian blinds, hairbrushes and buggy whips. It is no longer of significant commercial use, although Alaska Natives use brownishblack bowhead baleen to craft fine baskets and model ships, or apply scrimshaw to raw pieces before selling them as gift items. BARABARA Pronounced buh-RAH-buhruh, this traditional Aleut or Eskimo dwelling is semisubterranean and built of sod supported by driftwood or whale ribs. BARANOV, ALEXANDER (See also Sitka) Alexander Andreyevich Baranov (1747–1819), sometimes called “Lord of Alaska,” was manager of the fur-trading Russian–American Co. and the first governor of Russian Alaska. A failed Siberian fur businessman, Baranov seemed an unlikely choice for overseeing the expansion of the Russian– American empire when he arrived at Kodiak in


1790. But his aggressiveness and tough political skills proved indispensable. Within seven years, he had eliminated all competitors and secured the entire south Alaska coast, from the Aleutian Islands to Yakutat, for the Russian–American Co. Learning to handle a baidarka and navigate a seagoing sloop, he established Fort St. Michael at remote Sitka Bay in 1799, and in 1804 reestablished the post following its destruction by Tlingit warriors. Baranov was a pragmatic ruler. He encouraged marriage between European men and Native women. The settlement’s need for clerks and artisans led him to require basic schooling for all children. Lacking military support to exclude British and American ships from Alaska waters, he cultivated cordial relations with foreign captains. By the time he retired in 1818, Russian influence in the North Pacific stretched from Siberia to Fort Ross in northern California. Baranov died of fever aboard ship en route to St. Petersburg in 1819.

BARROW (See also Museums; Native Peoples; Regions of Alaska) Situated 350 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Barrow is the northernmost city in the United States and the largest Iñupiat Eskimo community in the world. Barrow was called Utqiagvik by its Iñupiat founders. Because of its key location at the junction of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, Barrow became an important whaling site. The town remains a center of subsistence whaling and harvesting of other land and water species. More than 4,400 people live in this polar environment, unconnected to any other community by road. Within the 21-squaremile city limits, however, are 127 miles of maintained roadway covering three distinct areas of settlement: the traditional Iñupiat community of Barrow, the former Naval Arctic Research Laboratory and portions of the former Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line station.

Barrow is the seat of government of the North Slope Borough, and serves as a regional center for the 89,000-square-mile borough. It is also the corporate headquarters for the Arctic Slope Regional Corp. and the Ukpeagvik Iñupiat Corp., which were established under the Native Claims Settlement Act. Barrow has a strong and growing tourist industry. Visitors are attracted by everything from traditional whaling celebrations to polar bear watching, northern lights and the midnight sun. A monument across from the airport is dedicated to American humorist Will Rogers and famed pilot Wiley Post, who were killed in a 1935 airplane crash 15 miles south of Barrow.

BASEBALL Six teams make up the Alaska Baseball League: Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks, Anchorage Bucs, Athletes in Action Fire, Anchorage Glacier Pilots, Peninsula Oilers and Mat–Su Miners. Baseball season opens in June and runs through the end of July. Each team plays a round-robin schedule with the other Alaska teams in addition to scheduling games with visiting Lower 48 teams. The caliber of play in Alaska is some of the best nationwide at the amateur level. Major league scouts rate Alaska baseball at A to AA, visiting each season to check out talent for possible recruitment. The Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks is the oldest of the Alaska League baseball teams. Known for the famous Midnight Sun games played in Fairbanks every year during the summer solstice, the Goldpanners first fielded a team in 1960. The team enjoyed a string of championships at the National Baseball Congress in Wichita, Kansas, drawing national attention to baseball in Alaska. Hobbled by financial difficulties and the death of longtime team president and benefactor, Bill Stroecker, the Goldpanners did not play a 23


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otorcyclist Garett Edgmon, 40, was traveling south at about 45 or 50 mph rounding a bend of the Old Glenn Highway when he caught a glimpse of reddish-brown fur barreling down the hill toward him. The bear slammed into his front wheel and sent the bike skidding across the road. Edgmon was thrown onto the bear’s head and neck as they slid together for a short distance. A witness stated that the bear did a flip, then scrambled off under the guardrail. Edgmon only remembers painfully staggering to his feet in shock, and trying to drag his new 750-pound 1200cc Kawasaki Voyager off the roadway. He credited his full-face helmet with saving his life. —2006 The Alaska Almanac®

full season in 2011. Seven former Goldpanners were listed as 2012 major league players, including Brooks Conrad, Greg Dobbs, Jason Giambi, Adam Kennedy, Kris Medlen, Brendan Ryan and Michael Young, The Anchorage Glacier Pilots have completed their 43rd year. This semipro team drafts collegiate athletes from all over the United States. The Pilots consistently finish in the top seven when they compete in the annual National Baseball Congress Championships in Wichita, Kansas, most recently taking first place in 2001. More than 80 former players have gone on to play in the major leagues. Eleven former Glacier Pilots were playing in the majors in 2012, including Hector Ambriz, Chase D’Arnaud, Greg Dobbs, Jacoby Ellsbury, Casey Fien, Jeff Francis, Ben Francisco, Eric Hinske, Ryan Ludwick, Mike Pelfrey and Mike Zagurski. The Peninsula Oilers Baseball club, founded in 1974, plays its home games on the Kenai Peninsula. Once established, the Oilers

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became the third team in the original Alaska Baseball League. In the 2011 season, the Oilers placed second in the NBC World Series in Wichita, Kansas. Previous Peninsula Oilers now playing in the Major League include Rich Aurilia, Carmen Cali, Mike Cervenak, J. D. Drew, Ken Harvey, Paul Janish, Tyler Johnson, Ryan Ludwick, Jeremy Reed and Mark Teahen. The Matanuska-Susitna Miners, based in Palmer, started off as the Green Valley Giants in 1976. In 1980, the name was changed to emphasize the team’s separation from the Fairbanks Goldpanners and to underscore the importance of mining in the MatanuskaSusitna Valley. The miners won the National Baseball Congress championships in 1987 and 1997. As of 2011, a total of 68 former Miners players had moved up to play in the majors. The Anchorage Bucs began playing during the 1981 season. They defeated Team USA in 1991, defeated the Moscow Red Devils in 1992 and won the Alaska League championship several times. In 1993, the Bucs were recognized as America’s No. 1 summer collegiate team. Thirteen former Bucs currently playing in the majors are Heath Bell, Jason Castro, Ike Davis, Jeff Francis, Thomas Field, Chris Gimenez, Paul Goldschmidt, Casey McGehee, Tyson Ross, Logan Schafer, Kurt Suzuki, Jered Weaver and CJ Wilson. The Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks is the newest team to join the Alaska Baseball League. Formerly known as the AIA Alaska Fire, the team made Fairbanks its home from 2001 until 2011. The team moved to their new home in Chugiak-Eagle River in time for the 2012 season. The list of other major league players who were once on Alaska teams is impressive, and includes stars Tom Seaver, Mark McGwire, Chris Chambliss, Barry Bonds, Randy Johnson and Dave Winfield. Find more information on the Alaska Baseball League at www.alaskabaseballleague.org.

BASKETS (See also Baleen; Native Arts and Crafts) Native basketry varies greatly


according to materials locally available. Athabascan Indians of the Interior, for example, weave baskets from willow root gathered in late spring. The roots are steamed and heated over a fire to loosen the outer bark. Weavers then separate the material into fine strips by pulling the roots through their teeth.

Aleut baskets are prized for their exquisite, fine weaving. Photo by Roy Corral.

Yup’ik Eskimo grass baskets are made in river delta areas of Southwestern Alaska from Bristol Bay north to Norton Sound and from Nunivak Island east to interior Eskimo river villages. Weavers use very fine grass harvested in fall. A coil basketry technique is followed, using coils from 1⁄8 - to 3⁄4 -inch wide. Seal gut, traditionally dyed with berries (today with commercial dyes), is often interwoven into the baskets. Baleen, a glossy, hard material that extends in slats from the upper jaw of some types of whales, is also used for baskets. Baleen basketry in the Iñupiat region originated about 1905 when Charles D. Brower, trader for a whaling company at Point Barrow, suggested, after the decline of the whalebone (baleen) industry for women’s corsets, that local Native men make the baskets as a source of income. The baskets

were not produced in any number until the weave and shape of the baskets were copied from the split-willow Athabascan baskets acquired in trade. A decorative “knob” of ivory is often added. Later, baleen baskets were also made in Point Hope and Wainwright. Most birch-bark baskets are made by Athabascan Indians, although a few Eskimos also produce them. Baskets are shaped as simple cylinders, or canoe shapes, held together with spruce root lashings. Sometimes the birch bark is cut into thin strips and woven into diamond or checkerboard patterns. Birch bark is usually collected in spring and early summer; large pieces free of knots are preferred. Birch-bark baskets traditionally were used as cooking vessels. Food was placed in them and hot stones added. Birch-bark baby carriers are still made, chiefly for collectors. Among the finest of Alaska baskets are the tiny, intricately woven Aleut baskets made of rye grass, which in the Aleutians is abundant, pliable and very tough. The three main styles of Aleut baskets—Attu, Atka and Unalaska—are named after the islands where the styles originated. Although the small baskets are the best known, Aleuts also traditionally made large, coarsely woven baskets for utilitarian purposes. Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian Indians make baskets of spruce roots and cedar bark. South of Frederick Sound, basket material usually consists of strands split from the inner bark of red cedar. To the north of the sound, spruce roots are used. Maidenhair ferns are sometimes interwoven into spruce root baskets to form patterns resembling embroidery. A large spruce root basket may take months to complete. Examples of Alaska Native basketry may be viewed in many museums, including the University of Alaska Museum of the North, Fairbanks; the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Anchorage; the Sheldon Jackson Museum, Sitka; and the Alaska State Museum, Juneau.

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Prices for Native baskets vary greatly. A finely woven coiled beach-grass basket may cost from $100 to $1000; birch-bark baskets may range from $35 to $800; willow-root trays may cost $800; finely woven Aleut baskets may cost $200 to $800; cedar-bark baskets may range from $30 to $80; and baleen baskets range in price from $800 to more than $2,400 for medium-size baskets. These prices are approximate and are based on the weave, material used, size and decoration added, such as beads, embroidery or ivory.

BEADWORK (See also Native Arts and Crafts; Parka) Eskimo and Indian women create a variety of handsomely beaded items. Before contact with Europeans, Indian women sometimes carved beads of willow wood or made them from seeds of certain shrubs and trees. Glass seed beads became available to Alaska’s Athabascan Indians in the mid-19th century, although some types of larger trade beads were in use earlier. Beads quickly became a coveted trade item. The Cornaline d’aleppo, an opaque red bead with a white center, and the faceted Russian blue beads were among the most popular types. The introduction of small glass beads

Athabascan artists are known for their superb beadwork. From Alaska Native Ways by Natives of Alaska (text) and Roy Corral (photographs).

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Nuggets

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esidents of Barrow were treated to a rare sight in November 2005, when a shaggy musk ox wandered through town. The Ice Age–looking tourist was apparently on vacation from his herd in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. While visits from musk oxen are not unheard of as far north as Kaktovik or Point Lay, seeing him dodging traffic in Barrow created quite a stir. State biologist Geoff Carroll explained that subdominant males often get exiled from their herds and then go on a walkabout for years before returning, recruiting a female and expanding their territory. —2006 The Alaska Almanac®

sparked changes in beadwork style and design. More colors were available and the smaller, more easily maneuvered beads made it possible to work out delicate floral patterns impossible with larger trade beads. Historically, beads were sewn directly onto leather garments or other items with the overlay stitch. Contemporary beadwork is often done on a separate piece of felt that is not visible once the beads are stitched in place. Alaska’s Athabascan beadworkers sometimes use paper patterns, often combining several motifs and tracing their outline on the surface to be worked. The most common designs include flowers, leaves and berries, some in very stylized form. Many patterns are drawn simply from the sewer’s environment. Since the gold rush, magazines, graphic art, advertising and patriotic motifs have inspired Athabascan beadworkers, although stylized floral designs are still the most popular. Designs vary regionally, as do the ways in which they are applied to garments or footgear. Skilled practitioners execute


beadwork so distinctive it can be recognized at a glance.

BEARS (See also Mammals; McNeil River State Game Sanctuary) Three species of bear inhabit Alaska: the black, the brown/grizzly and the polar bear. Most of Alaska can be considered bear country, and for those wishing to spend time in Alaska’s great outdoors, bear country becomes “beware” country. Sows are

extremely aggressive if their young are around, and bears will guard a moose kill against all passersby. Bear behavior should always be considered unpredictable. Bear scat or a large concentration of flies in one area are signs for hikers to watch for and retreat from. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game publishes Bear Facts, recommended reading for hikers and campers. Excellent bear information is also available from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/safety/bears.htm. Black Bears. Black bears are usually jet black or brown with a brown-yellow muzzle, and weigh from 100 to 200 pounds as adults. The brown color phase can sometimes be confused with grizzlies, but black bears are generally smaller and lack the grizzly’s distinct shoulder hump. Black bear habitat covers three-fourths of Alaska, with high concentrations found in the Southeast, Prince William Sound and the coastal mountains and lowlands of Southcentral Alaska. Low to moderate densities are found in Interior and Western Alaska. Their range is semi-open forests, and though omnivorous, their diet consists mainly of vegetation due to the difficulty of getting meat or fish. Black bears

often spend their lives within five miles of their birthplace and will frequently return to their home range if transplanted. They easily climb trees; both cubs and adults use trees as a place of escape. Cubs are generally born in late January or February weighing 8 to 10 ounces. Average litter size is two cubs, but three or four cubs in a litter is not unusual. Black bears den in winter for up to six months but are not true hibernators. Their body temperature remains high and they awaken easily—even in midwinter. Brown/Grizzly Bears. Fur colors of brown/grizzly bears vary from blond to black with shades of brown and gray in between. As adults, they can weigh over 1,000 pounds, but are usually smaller; size depends on sex, age, time of year and geographic location. Coastal bears, referred to as “browns” or “brownies,” are the largest living omnivorous land mammals in the world and grow larger than Interior “grizzlies.” Browns or grizzlies are found in most of Alaska except for islands in the extreme southeastern part of the state.

A Toklat grizzly bear. From Fairbanks: Alaska’s Heart of Gold by Tricia Brown (text) and Roy Corral (photographs).

The lowest populations are found in the northern Interior and the Arctic. Their range is wherever food is abundant, but the bears prefer open tundra and grasslands. Diet

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consists of a wide variety of plants and animals, including their own kind, and humans under some circumstances. In their realm, grizzlies are king and fear no other animal except humans with a firearm. While attacks on people are the exception, the results can be tragic. These bears are also tremendously strong and have been seen carrying—off the ground—an 800-pound moose. One to two hairless cubs are usually born in late January or February weighing 8 to 10 ounces, and sows have been known to adopt orphaned cubs. Time of year and duration of denning varies with the location and physical condition of the bear, and can be up to six months of the year. Dens are frequently on hillsides or on mountain slopes. Polar Bears. The only areas on a polar bear not covered with heavy, white fur are its eyes and large, black nose. The bear, seemingly aware that his nose gives him away to prey, will hold a paw up to hide it when hunting. An adult polar bear weighs 1,500 pounds or more and has a long neck with a proportionately small head. Polar bear habitat is the Canadian–eastern Alaska Arctic and the western Alaska Arctic–eastern Russia, the latter being home to the world’s largest polar bears. Polar bear range is the arctic ice cap, with the species being more numerous toward the southern edge of the ice pack. Occasionally polar bears will come ashore, but they generally stay near the coast. While ashore they eat some vegetation, but their diet consists primarily of ringed seals, walrus, stranded whales, birds and fish. Cannibalism of cubs and young bears by older males is not unusual. Polar bears are strong swimmers; reports exist of swimming bears found 50 miles from the nearest land or ice. When swimming, they use their front paws for propulsion and trail their rear paws. Mother bears have been seen with cubs hanging on to their tails, towing them through the water. Cubs are born in December with two being the common litter size. They weigh about a pound at birth and remain with their

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mother for about 28 months. Usually only pregnant sows den up, for an average of six months in the winter. Polar bears need stable, cold areas for denning, and dens in Alaska have been found 30 miles inland, along the coast, on offshore islands, on shore-fast ice and on drifting sea ice.

BERING, VITUS Vitus Jonassen Bering (1681–1741) is credited as the first European to discover Alaska. A Danish captain serving Russia under the crown of Peter the Great, Bering was in command of an expedition to find out if the continents of Asia and America were connected and to claim new lands for Russia. He piloted his first expedition in 1728 through the strait that now bears his name, concluding that Asia and America were not joined. On that voyage, however, he never saw the fog-shrouded Alaska mainland. The expedition was considered a failure. In June 1741, Bering set sail again as captain of the ill-fated St. Peter. Also on board was German naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller; the Steller sea lion and Steller’s jay owe their names to his fieldwork on the journey. A second ship, the St. Paul, piloted by Aleksey Chirikov, accompanied the St. Peter. During the voyage, Bering and Chirikov lost contact in foul weather, never to meet again. In July both ships sighted southern Alaska. On July 16, Steller led a landing party on what is now Kayak Island at Cape St. Elias, just east of Prince William Sound. Short of food and weakened with scurvy, Bering was anxious to set sail for Kamchatka before winter. Against the advice of Steller, the explorer sailed for home. In heavy seas the St. Peter ran aground on a rocky island off the Siberian coast, since known as Bering Island. Twenty sailors, including Bering, died of scurvy. The remaining sailors survived by eating fish and seals, eventually built a boat from the wreckage of the St. Peter, and returned to Russia. Bering’s voyage not only laid the basis for


Russian claims to Alaska but also opened the fur trade. His crews brought back many pelts, among them 800 sea otter skins. By the late 1700s, the Russian fur trade had become the richest fur enterprise in the world, setting the stage for the extinction of the Steller’s sea cow by 1768 and the near extinction of the sea otter in the 1820s.

BERING LAND BRIDGE The Bering Land Bridge was formed when the glaciers of the Wisconsinan period flowed across the northern cap of Earth. Millions of cubic miles of water from Earth’s oceans were bound in these glaciers, causing the ocean levels to lower by more than 300 feet. Between 40,000 and 15,000 years ago, the lowered sea levels exposed a 1,000-mile (north to south) corridor of dry land connecting North America with Asia. Now known as the Bering Land Bridge, it enabled the migration of plants and animals, including humans, between the Old World and the New World. When the glaciers retreated, the water returned to the sea, covering the bridge and creating the Bering Strait between Alaska and Siberia. Recognizing the need to preserve the area’s unique paleontological and archaeological resources, in 1980 the U.S. Congress created the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, managed by the National Park Service. The preserve occupies 2.7 million acres of the Seward Peninsula in northwest Alaska. Visitors will find extensive lava flows and maar lakes (formed by ash and steam explosions), sandy beaches, tundra and Serpentine Hot Springs, which is considered one of the preserve’s highlights. Located in a valley of granite spires called tors, the hot springs attract those who come to bathe, hike, relax and observe wildlife. Bering Land Bridge National Preserve contains more than 400 species of plants as well as a diverse population of migratory birds. Animals found here include musk oxen, bears, moose, wolves, wolverines, reindeer, caribou, foxes and other smaller species.

Depending on the season, access is possible only by aircraft, boat, dogsled, foot, skis or snowmobile. Recreational options include camping, backpacking, hiking, photography, wildlife viewing and coastal boating. Federal highway access ends 400 miles from Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, but the information superhighway leads right to it. www.nps.gov/bela

BERRIES Wild berries abound in Alaska, with the circumboreal lingonberry/lowbush cranberry (Vaccinium vitisidaea) being the most widespread. Blueberries of one species or another grow in most of the state. Some 50 other species of wild fruit are found in Alaska including strawberries, raspberries, cloudberries, salmonberries, crowberries, nagoonberries and crab apples. High-bush cranberries (which are not really cranberries) can be found on bushes even in the dead of winter; the frozen berries provide a refreshing treat to the hiker. The fruit of the wild rose, or rose hip, is not strictly a berry but is an ideal source of vitamin C for Bush dweller and city resident alike. A few hips will provide as much of the vitamin as a medium-size orange. The farther north the hips are found, the richer they are in vitamin C. Lingonberry/ lowbush cranberry (Vaccinium vitisidae) From Alaska Wild Berry Cookbook.

Alaska does have one poisonous berry, the baneberry. Sometimes called doll’s eyes or chinaberries, baneberries may be white or scarlet in color. As few as six berries can induce violent symptoms of poisoning in an adult.

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Basic Wild Berry Cobbler ⁄2 to 11⁄2 cups sugar (amount varies) 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 cup boiling water 3 cups your choice berries 1 tablespoon butter or margarine 1 cup sifted flour 1 tablespoon sugar

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11⁄2 teaspoons baking powder ⁄2 teaspoon salt 1 ⁄4 cup shortening 1 ⁄2 cup milk Your choice of spices (optional with tartness of berries) 1

Preheat oven to 400˚F. To prepare the fruit filling, combine sugar and cornstarch and blend in boiling water. Stir over medium heat until mixture has boiled for 1 minute. Add berries, then pour into a buttered 10x6-inch pan. Dot with butter and sprinkle on spices if you wish. Keep the berries warm in the oven while the topping is being prepared. To prepare the topping, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Work in the shortening, then stir in the milk until a soft dough is formed. Drop by spoonfuls over the hot berry mixture and bake for 30 minutes. Cobblers are great served with fruit sauces, milk or ice cream.

BILLIKEN This smiling ivory figure with a pointed head, though long a popular Northland souvenir, is not an Eskimo invention. Florence Pretz of Kansas City patented the billiken in 1908. A small, seated, Buddha-like figure, the original billiken was manufactured by the Billiken Co. of Chicago and sold as a good luck charm. Thousands of these figurines were sold during the 1909 Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exposition in Seattle. Billikens vanished soon afterward from most Lower 48 shops; however, someone had brought them to Nome, and the Eskimos of King Island, Little Diomede and Wales began carving replicas of the billikens from walrus ivory and walrus teeth. A popular notion contends that rubbing a billiken’s tummy brings good fortune. BIRDS The official Checklist of Alaska Birds, compiled each year by the University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks, includes 498 naturally occurring bird species in Alaska. If unsubstantiated sightings are included, the species total increases. 30

Millions of ducks, geese and swans wing north to breeding grounds each spring. Seabirds congregate by the millions in nesting colonies on exposed cliffs along Alaska’s coastline, particularly on the Aleutian Islands and on islands in the Bering Sea. Migratory birds reach Alaska from every continent but Europe. Arctic terns travel up to 22,000 miles on their round-trip each year from Antarctica. Others come from South America, Hawaii, the South Pacific islands and Asia. Each May one of the world’s largest concentrations of shorebirds funnels through the Copper River Delta near Cordova. Waterfowl such as trumpeter swans and the world’s entire population of dusky Canada geese breed there. More than 100 species of birds can be spotted in the Seward area. Other key waterfowl habitats include the Yukon– Kuskokwim Delta, Yukon Flats, Innoko Flats, Minto Lakes and the vast wetlands of the western Arctic Alaska south of Barrow. During migration, huge flocks gather at Egegik, Port Heiden, Port Moller, Izembek Bay, Chickaloon Flats, Susitna Flats and Stikine Flats. Raptors, including large numbers of bald


eagles, range throughout the state. The largest gathering of bald eagles in the world takes place in Alaska each year between October and February outside of Haines. In 1982, the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve was set aside to protect the 3,000-plus eagles that assemble at the site along the Chilkat River near Haines. Alaska has three subspecies of peregrine falcon: Arctic, American and Peale’s. The Eskimo curlew (possibly extinct), Steller’s eider, spectacled eider and short-tailed albatross are on the federal endangered or threatened species list for the state. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the Aleutian Canada goose in 2001, and the bald eagle in 2007. Following is a list of some geographically restricted birds, as well as a few of the state’s more well-known species: Aleutian Tern. Breeds in coastal areas, marshes, islands, lagoons, rivers and inshore marine waters. Nests in Alaska on the ground in matted, dry grass. Casual sightings in southeastern Alaska in spring and summer, and in northern Alaska in summer. Arctic Tern. Breeds in tidal flats, beaches, glacial moraines, rivers, lakes and marshes. Nests in colonies or scattered pairs on sand, gravel, moss or in rocks. The Arctic tern winters in Antarctica, bypassing the Lower 48 in its 20,000-mile round-trip migration. Common sightings in southeastern, south coastal and western Alaska in spring, summer and fall, and in southwestern Alaska in spring and fall. Arctic Warbler. Nests on the ground in grass or moss in willow thickets. Common sightings in the Alaska Range, the Seward Peninsula and the Brooks Range in spring, summer and fall. Bald Eagle. Found in coniferous forests, deciduous woodlands, rivers and streams, beaches and tidal flats, rocky shores and reefs. Nests in old-growth timber along the coast and larger mainland rivers. In treeless areas, nests on cliffs or on the ground. There are

more bald eagles in Alaska than in all the other states combined, and sightings commonly occur in southeastern, south coastal and southwestern Alaska year-round. Bluethroat. Nests on the ground in shrub thickets in the uplands and the foothills of western and northern Alaska. Casual sightings in southwestern Alaska in spring and fall. Emperor Goose. Nests near water in grassy marsh habitat on islands or banks or in large tussocks. The bulk of the world’s population nests in the Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta, with a few others nesting farther north to Kotzebue Sound and a few more in eastern Siberia. Rarely is an emperor goose seen east or south of Kodiak. Common sightings in southwestern Alaska in spring, fall and winter, and in western Alaska in spring, summer and fall. Horned Puffin. Nests on sea islands in rock crevices or in burrows among boulders, on sea cliffs and on grassy slopes. Breeds inshore, in marine waters and on islands. Common sightings in southwestern and western Alaska in spring, summer and fall. Kittlitz’s Murrelet. Nicknamed the “glacier bird,” this pigeon-size seabird often nests on barren, rocky areas recently

Arctic tern near the Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau. From Alaska’s Birds by Robert H. Armstrong.

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uncovered by glaciers. It is one of the few seabirds that does not nest in colonies. In summer, the Kittlitz’s murrelet is a mottled brown and gold, similar In color to the marbled murrelet, but it is more rare and has distinctive white outer tail feathers that are visible when it flies. In winter, it is blackand-white, with the white extending above the eye. Marbled Murrelet. This small, stocky seabird is common in the waters of Southeast Alaska, although it is listed as threatened in the Lower 48. In the summer it is a mottled chocolate brown, and in the winter changes to black-and-white plumage, with the black reaching below the eye. In Southeast, these birds nest singly in old-growth trees, sometimes as far as 60 miles inland, commuting to the ocean daily to feed their young. Pacific Loon. Breeds on lakes in coniferous forests or on tundra lakes, and nests on projecting points or small islands. Folklore credits the loon with magical powers and several legends abound. Common sightings in southeastern and southcentral Alaska in spring, fall and winter, and in southwestern, central, western and northern Alaska in spring, summer and fall. Red-faced Cormorant. Habitat includes inshore marine waters. Nests in colonies on ledges of sea cliffs, small piles of rocks and shelves on volcanic cinder cones. In North America this bird appears only in Alaska. Common sightings in south coastal and southwestern Alaska year-round. Red-legged Kittiwake. Breeds in the Pribilof Islands, and on Buldir and Bogoslof

2013’s late spring kept hundreds of thousands of migratory geese bottled up because they couldn’t fly any farther north. It was an unparalleled natural spectacle, but professional wildlife photographer Calvin Hall described it this way: “When the eagle swoops down into the field, and 10,000 geese take off and fly over you, make sure you have an umbrella.”

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Islands in the Aleutians. Nests on cliff ledges and cliff points. Common sightings near breeding areas in southwestern Alaska in summer. Whiskered Auklet. A small, gray diving seabird with white whiskers-like plumes on its head. It nests only in the Aleutians, particularly at the eastern end of Unalaska Island and on the nearby Baby Islands.

Marbled murrelet. From Guide to the Birds of Alaska, 5th edition by Robert H. Armstrong.

Eastern Yellow Wagtail. Found in open areas with short vegetation usually along the Seward Peninsula coast. Nests near or on the ground in crevices or niches in old buildings. Casual sightings in central Alaska in spring, and in southwestern Alaska in spring and summer. About 10 million swans, geese and ducks also nest in Alaska each year, making the state critical breeding habitat for many of the continent’s waterfowl. In North America some species and subspecies use Alaska as exclusive nesting grounds, while more than half the North American population of other species nests in the state. Audubon Alaska (441 W. Fifth Ave, Suite 300, Anchorage 99501; www. audubonalaska.org) is the Alaska State


Office of the National Audubon Society. Audubon Alaska manages the Important Bird Area program for the state—a list of sites that are key for nesting, wintering or migrating birds. Location and information about important bird areas are available from the website. Five local chapters are based in Alaska: the Anchorage Audubon Society (P.O. Box 101161, Anchorage 99510), the Juneau Audubon Society (P.O. Box 21725, Juneau 99802), the Arctic Audubon Society (P.O. Box 82098, Fairbanks 99708), the Kodiak Audubon Society (P.O. Box 1756, Kodiak 99615), and the Prince William Sound Audubon Society (P.O. Box 2396, Cordova 99574). These local chapters coordinate some of the more than 37 annual Christmas bird counts around the state, lead local bird walks and offer presentations during fall and winter. Bird-watchers gather during the first week of May for the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival in Cordova and the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival in Homer. Ketchikan holds an annual rufous hummingbird festival in April. The Bald Eagle Festival is held in Haines each November. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game encourages the enjoyment of Alaska’s birds through its Wings Over Alaska program. Participants are awarded various levels of free certificates for the number of bird species seen in Alaska. Additional information is available at www.birding.alaska.gov.

BLANKET TOSS As effective as a trampoline, the blanket toss (or nalukataq) features a walrus-hide blanket grasped by a number of people in a circle. They toss a person on the blanket as high as possible for as long as that person can remain upright. Every true Eskimo festival and many non-Native occasions include the blanket toss, which originally was used to allow Eskimo hunters to spot game such as walrus and seal in the distance. Depending on the skill of the person being tossed and the

Kotzebue celebrated Alaska Statehood news with drumming, singing and a blanket toss. 1976-21-55334 Archives, Alaska & Polar Collections, Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

number of tossers, a medium-weight person might typically go 20 feet in the air.

BOATING (See also Baidarka; Cruises; Ferries) Travel by boat is an important means of transportation in Alaska where highways serve only about one-third of the state. Until the advent of the airplane, boats often were the only way to reach many parts of Alaska. Most of Alaska’s supplies still arrive by water and in Southeast—where precipitous terrain and numerous islands make road building impossible—water travel is essential. In January 2001, vessel registration primarily for smaller, Alaska-registered boats was transferred from the U.S. Coast Guard to the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles. The division reported that there were 68,068 vessels registered in the state as of December 2011. Most larger and commercial fishing boats are still documented with the US Coastguard, unless they are registered in another country, like some of the large yachts that visit Alaska during tourist season. 33


The Japanese bombed a small military base at Dutch Harbor on June 3, 1942, in an attack that was designed to divert American forces north while engaging the American fleet in the central Pacific at Midway. The diversion failed and the battle at Midway became a turning point in the Pacific war. On June 7, 1942, some 1,200 Japanese troops landed on the Aleutian islands of Attu and Kiska, where they built an air base, bunkers and antiaircraft emplacements aimed at preventing the United States from using the Aleutians to launch an attack on Japan. Although the Japanese presence on the islands posed no real threat to the United States, foreign occupation was unthinkable. But the ensuing fight to drive the Japanese from the Aleutians was as much a battle against the bad weather as it was against enemy forces. More American aircraft were lost to the violent 120-mph winds, the dense fog and constant storms than to Japanese fire. On May 11, 1943, after nearly a year of Japanese occupation, 11,000 American troops landed on Attu and engaged in a bloody battle with 2,600 Japanese troops. At the end of the month, 550 Americans were dead and 1,148 were wounded. Of the Japanese, only 28 prisoners were taken; American soldiers buried 2,351 Japanese troops killed in combat. Hundreds of others were presumed to have died and been buried in the hills or were thought to have committed suicide. The battle for Kiska was different. On July 28, 1943, the 5,000-man Japanese garrison evacuated the island in dense fog. For three weeks, U.S. forces continued to bomb and shell the island, unaware that the island had been abandoned.

Travel & Leisure Magazine voted Anchorage the 13th rudest city in America. It couldn’t have been because of the bumper stickers that read, “ALASKA IS FULL—I hear the Yukon is nice.”

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In August, 35,000 Allied soldiers arrived on the island, but found only a few stray Japanese dogs.

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YUKON QUEST INTERNATIONAL SLED DOG RACE (See also Dog Mushing; Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race) The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race was begun by Roger Williams and LeRoy Shank in 1983 to foster a long-distance sled dog race between Fairbanks, Alaska, and Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. The first race took place in February 1984, when 26 teams competed, and had a purse of $50,000. Named for the old-time winter “Highway of the North,” the Yukon River, the 1,000-mile trek usually takes between 8 and 14 days to complete, depending on weather and trail. The Quest is held in February and is one of the toughest of sled-dog races. During their journey between the two cities, teams retrace the footsteps of Native Alaskans, gold rush miners, trappers, explorers and missionaries (See map, page 237). Mushers cross four major summits and diverse, challenging terrain. They travel 250 miles on the frozen Yukon River and cross the longest unguarded international border in the world. The direction of the race alternates each year. Between the start and finish lines are a series of official checkpoints. The longest distance between checkpoints is 290 miles, between Dawson City and Carmacks. The only checkpoint at which a musher may receive help is at Dawson City, where a 36-hour layover is mandatory. Rules allow for a minimum of 8 dogs and a maximum of 14 dogs at the start. Six dogs are the minimum allowed at the finish, and only four dogs can be dropped during the course of the race. Each musher may use only one sled throughout the race, and mandatory equipment includes a sleeping bag, hand ax, snowshoes, promotional material and eight booties per dog. Information on the Yukon Quest is posted at www.yukonquest.com.


YUKON RIVER (See also Rivers) The Yukon River is the longest river in Alaska, flowing in a 2,000-mile arc (1,400 miles in Alaska) from its British Columbia headwaters across the Interior’s forested hills, narrow mountain valleys and vast tundra flats to the Bering Sea. The fifth-largest river in North America, the third-largest in the United States, the Yukon River watershed drains 330,000 square miles—a third of Alaska. Archaeological evidence indicates that humans may have lived along the river more than 20,000 years ago. Historically, two Native groups occupied the Yukon valley: the Yup’ik Eskimos and the Athabascans. Most Native villages were established on the north bank of

the river, apparently the preferred side of the river, to fish for the millions of migrating king, coho and chum salmon that returned to the river system to spawn. These fish return to the Yukon today and fish traps and summer fish camps can still be seen along the river. With the arrival of European trappers, the Yukon became a well-used supply route for the Interior. Travel was by steamboat or canoe during the summer and by dogsled from October to May, when the river was frozen. In Alaska, the Yukon has never been dammed and is crossed by only one bridge, the Yukon River Bridge. It is on the Dalton Highway near Stevens Village, just south of the Arctic Circle. The Yukon River attracts canoeists,

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2013 Yukon Quest Results Musher

Days

Hrs.

8 8 9 9 9 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 11 11 11 11 11 11 12 13

19 20 6 7 16 13 2 7 10 14 20 21 0 3 6 8 13 17 6 6

1. Allen Moore 2. Hugh Neff 3. Brent Sass 4. Jake Berkowitz 5. Scott Smith 6. Markus Ingebretsen 7. Normand Casavant 8. Abbie West 9. Dan Kaduce 10. Susan Rogan 11. Ed Hopkins 12. David Dalton 13. Crispin Studer 14. Denis Tremblay 15. Cody Strathe 16. Darrin Lee 17. Brian Wilmshurst 18. Rob Cooke 19. Matthew Failor 20. Dyan Bergen

Yukon Quest Winners and Times Year Musher

Days

Hrs.

2002 Hans Gatt 2003 Hans Gatt 2004 Hans Gatt 2005 Lance Mackey 2006 Lance Mackey 2007 Lance Mackey 2008 Lance Mackey 2009 Sebastian Schnuelle 2010 Hans Gatt 2011 Dallas Seavey 2012 Hugh Neff 2013 Allen Moore

11 10** 10 11 10*** 10 10 9 9 10 9 8

04 16 17 00 07 02 12 23 05 12 16 19

Min. 39 55 34 48 40 6 56 42 43 27 5 39 18 50 41 53 41 35 35 3

Min. 22 28 54 32 47 37 14 20 9 59 5 39

Prize 30,000 30,000 30,000 30,000 30,000 40,000 35,000 30,000 28,395 28,395 28,395 18,930

* 2003 race restarted at Carmacks on Feb. 11, 2003, due to poor trail conditions. Times are taken from the restart. ** 2006 race ended in Dawson City, due to poor trail conditions.

kayakers and others for float trips. Many commercial guides offer excursions, and the popular jumping-off point is at Eagle. A summer float trip downriver through Yukon– Charley Rivers National Preserve to Circle is 154 river miles and averages 5 to 10 days. Also available are float trips from Dawson City, Yukon, to Circle that make a stop halfway at Eagle. You can rent canoes in Eagle or choose a trip with a local commercial guide with gear supplied. For information on proper clothing,

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weather conditions and best time to make a float, contact the National Park Service, Box 167, Eagle 99378; (907) 547-2233.

ZIP CODES (See Populations and Zip Codes)


Yearly Higlights, 2011–13 Following are brief accounts of Alaska news from late 2011 to mid-2013. Primary sources are the Alaska Dispatch, Anchorage Daily News, Juneau Empire, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, SitNews (Ketchikan) MSNBC, and the Associated Press.

Record Snowfall The city of Anchorage dug out from a record-breaking amount of snow during the winter of 2011-12—134.5 inches (more than 11 feet) of the white stuff. The old record, set in the winter of 1954–55, was 132.6 inches. Cordova residents also suffered the effects of the record snowfall. National Guard troops armed with snow shovels were deployed to the Southeast fishing town to help deal with an 18-foot-plus accumulation of snow over the span of a few weeks. The snow collapsed buildings and stressed homes. Drifts in the area were 12 to 14 feet high. Valdez always deals with incredible levels of snow, but the 2011–12 winter proved challenging for even those hearty souls, with snowfall levels above 20 feet. One resident reported crawling out of the upstairs window of his home to get to his car.

Fuel Delivery in Iced-in Nome An international effort was successful in delivering much-needed fuel to Nome after harsh November 2011 storms made delivery by barge impossible. A U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker led a Russian tanker carrying 1.3 million gallons of heating fuel to the community, which was experiencing one of the harshest winters on record. Without the emergency delivery of fuel, Nome’s existing fuel was expected to last only until March or April.

Just 26 Seconds to Spare In February 2012, veteran musher Hugh Neff dramatically accomplished the goal

that’s been eluding him for 12 years—the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race championship. Overcoming a 30-minute penalty (for failing to have an ax with him at the Pelly Crossing Checkpoint), Neff charged from behind in the last 100 miles of the 1,000-mile race, catching up to the leader, Allen Moore, in the final 20 miles. With just five miles left to go, he put one of his dogs in his sled, and ended up the victor—by just 26 seconds—in the closest race in the event’s history.

Drifting Ghost Ship In May 2012, a U.S. Coast Guard cutter fired on a Japanese ship, sinking it in the Gulf of Alaska. The abandoned 164-foot Ryou-Un Maru was a ghost ship, adrift since the 2011 tsunami created by the powerful earthquake in Japan. The Coast Guard decided sinking the derelict fishing vessel would pose the least risk to other vessels in the shipping route. Following the cannon fire, the ghost ship burst into flames and began taking on water.

Korean War–era Wreckage Discovery On June 10, 2012, a UH-60 Blackhawk crew with the Alaska Army National Guard discovered the wreckage of a Douglas C-124A Globemaster II military cargo plane that crashed near Knik Glacier almost 60 years ago. The plane, along with its 52 passengers, was buried under heavy snow shortly after it went down on November 22, 1952. Reported to have been en route from McChord Air Force Base in Washington to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, the Globemaster II—the world’s largest cargo plane at the time—crashed near the 8,000-foot level of Mount Gannett. The discovery of the wreckage brought long-awaited closure to the victims’ families.

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Yearly Higlights, 2011–13 Arctic Sea Ice Breaks Lowest Extent on Record Scientists from NASA and from the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, reported that the Arctic Ocean sea ice shrank to its lowest extent in the satellite record on August 26, 2012. The previous record low was observed in 2007 following “near perfect summer weather for melting ice,” according to NSIDC Director Mark Serreze. But weather patterns in 2012 were unremarkable, and Serreze feels the ice is so thin and weak now that it’s becoming more of a seasonal coverage with large areas prone to melting out in summer.

Record Number of Polar Diners In September 2012, brave researchers counted 80 polar bears in a single day, dining on the remains of a bowhead whale harvested by hunters in the Arctic community of Kaktovik, population (human) 245. The previous record was set in 2004, when 65 polar bears were seen in the community in a single day. While the bears were obviously drawn to the area by whale carcasses, scientists are considering if the record retreat of Arctic sea ice is a contributing factor. Polar bears live on sea ice for most of the year, feasting on fatty, high calorie seal meat. During the summer months, when the sea ice melts away from the shore, the bears head inland and dine on far less suitable meals. They survive by relying on their fat stores saved up during the winter. With the recent pattern of declining sea ice, the ice leaves earlier and returns later, forcing bears to fast longer. The subject of climate change and its effect on Arctic ice and polar bears is controversial. Scientists are working to evaluate the many variables and replace controversy with hard, scientific fact.

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The Seavey Family Legacy Throughout the years, the Seavey family (of Seward) has established a legacy in the history of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race— a challenge considered by many to be the Super Bowl of sled-dog competition. Dallas Seavey, 25, is a third-generation musher who shared the 2012 Iditarod Sled Dog Race trail with both his father (Mitch Seavey, 2004 Champion) and grandfather (Dan Seavey, member of the Iditarod Hall of Fame). Dallas Seavey stood alone, however, under the famed burled arch at the Nome finish line in March 2012 as the youngest musher ever to win the grueling 1,100-mile Anchorage to Nome race. Seavey’s win was credited to overall athleticism and skillful strategy. Not to be outdone . . . Mitch Seavey, Dallas’ father, claimed his second Iditarod victory in March 2013, becoming—at 53— the oldest-ever winner of Alaska’s “last great race.”

River Ice Jam Leads to Flooding The Yukon River surged into the small town of Galena in May 2013, due to an enormous river ice jam. Most of the town’s 500 residents were forced to evacuate as rapidly rising waters lifted homes off of foundations and threatened to break a dam protecting the airport—the only dry spot in town. Damage from the flood left residents without power, fresh water and cell phone reception. The ice also knocked out the bridge providing access to the airport, forcing evacuees to travel there by boat or helicopter. Spring flooding is a common event in Galena, which is why homes are often built on stilts, but even that precaution did not save them from this year’s extraordinary surge.


Suggested Reading Other Alaska books from Alaska Northwest Books®, WestWinds Press® and Graphic Arts® Books, Portland, Oregon.

Alaska Native Culture Alaska Native Ways: What the Elders Have Taught Us. Roy Corral photography with text by Natives of Alaska; intro by Will Mayo. GAB, 2002. Alaska’s Totem Poles, Revised Edition. Pat Kramer, foreword by David A. Boxley. AKNWB, 2011. Children of the Midnight Sun: Young Native Voices of Alaska. Tricia Brown and Roy Corral. AKNWB, 1998. Native Cultures in Alaska: Looking Forward, Looking Back. Tricia Brown, ed. AKNWB, 2012. Place of the Pretend People: Gifts from a Yup’ik Eskimo Village. Carolyn Kremers. AKNWB, 2011 (trade paper). The Winter Walk: A Century-Old Survival Story from the Arctic. Loretta Outwater Cox, AKNWB, 2003. What the Elders Have Taught Us: Alaska Native Ways. Roy Corral photography with text by Natives of Alaska; intro by Will Mayo. AKNWB, 2013 (trade paper).

Alaskan Adventures A Place Beyond: Finding Home in Arctic Alaska. Nick Jans. AKNWB, 1996. Alone across the Arctic: One Woman’s Epic Journey by Dog Team. Pam Flowers with Ann Dixon. AKNWB, 2001. The Alaska Homesteader’s Handbook: Independent Living on the Last Frontier. Tricia Brown and Nancy Gates. AKNWB, 2012. The Kids from Nowhere: The Story Behind the Arctic Education Miracle. George Guthridge. AKNWB, 2006.

The Last New Land: Stories of Alaska, Past and Present. Wayne Mergler, ed. AKNWB, 1996. My Season on the Kenai: Fishing Alaska’s Greatest Salmon River. Lew Freedman, AKNWB, 2013. Running with Champions: A Midlife Journey on the Iditarod Trail. Lisa Frederic. AKNWB, 2006.

History/Biography Alaska Days with John Muir (Literary Naturalist Series). John Muir, foreword by Richard F. Fleck. WWP, 2013. Alaska’s History. Harry Ritter. AKNWB, 2003 Bradford Washburn: An Extraordinary Life. Bradford Washburn and Lew Freedman. AKNWB, 2013. Lowell Thomas Jr., Flight to Adventure: Alaska and Beyond. Lowell Thomas Jr. and Lew Freedman. AKNWB, 2013. On Patrol: True Adventures of an Alaska Game Warden. Ray Tremblay. AKNWB, 2004. One Man’s Wilderness. Sam Keith with Richard Proenneke. AKNWB, 1999. Two in the Far North. Margaret E. Murie. AKNWB, 1978; rev. 1997. Where the Sea Breaks Its Back: The Epic Story of Early Naturalist Georg Steller and the Russian Exploration of Alaska. Corey Ford. AKNWB, 1992.

Children Douggie: The Playful Pup Who Became a Sled Dog Hero. Pam Flowers and Jon Van Zyle. AKNWB, 2008. Kumak’s River: A Tall Tale from the Far North. Michael Bania. AKNWB, 2012. The Itchy Little Musk Ox. Tricia Brown and Debra Dubac. AKNWB, 2007. Sharkabet: A Sea of Sharks from A to Z. Ray Troll, WWP, 2002.

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Suggested Reading

(continued)

Ten Rowdy Ravens. Evon Zerbetz and Susan Ewing. AKNWB, 2005.

Cookbooks The Alaska Homegrown Cookbook. Compiled by the editors of Alaska Northwest Books. AKNWB, 2007. The Alaska Wild Berry Cookbook: 275 Recipes from the Far North. Compiled by the editors of Alaska Northwest Books. AKNWB, 2012. Alaska Sourdough. Ruth Allman. AKNWB, 1999. Baked Alaska: Recipes for Sweet Comforts from the North Country. Sarah Eppenbach. AKNWB, 2011 (trade paper). The Winterlake Lodge Cookbook: Culinary Adventures in the Alaskan Wilderness, 2nd ed. Kirsten Dixon. AKNWB, 2012 (trade paper).

Humor Not Really an Alaskan Mountain Man. Doug Fine. AKNWB, 2004.

Natural History Alaska’s Fish. Robert H. Armstrong. AKNWB, 1996. Alaska’s Natural Wonders. Robert H. Armstrong and Marge Hermans. AKNWB, 2000. Alaska’s Seashore Creatures. Conrad Field and Carmen Field. AKNWB, 1999. Guide to the Birds of Alaska, 5th ed. Robert H. Armstrong. AKNWB, 2008. The Great Alaska Nature Factbook: A Guide to the State’s Remarkable Animals Plants and Natural Features, revised ed. Susan Ewing. AKNWB, 2011.

Travel/Photography Alaska: Portrait of a State. Various photographers. GAB, 2006. Alaska’s Bush Planes. Ned Rozell and Alaska Stock Images. AKNWB, 2013 (trade paper).

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Portrait of the Alaska Railroad. Kaylene Johnson and Roy Corral. AKNWB, 2003. To the Top of Denali: Climbing Adventures on North America’s Highest Peak, 3rd ed. Bill Sherwonit. AKNWB, 1990; rev. 2012.


Index Page locators in italics indicate maps and photographs. access, disabled access, 114 Acord, Randy, 130 Adak, 68 Adams, Charles, 75 Admiralty Island National Monument, 153 Afognak Island archaeological dig, 20 agriculture, 9–10, 113 air cargo, international air cargo, 69 “Air Crossroads of the World” (Anchorage), 17 Airport Improvement Program (AIP), 10–11 air taxis, 11, 12, 216 air travel, 5, 10–12, 10, 36, 155 aklaq (grizzly bears), 107 akutatk (Eskimo ice cream), 74 Alagnak River, 155, 156 Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum, 138 Alaska Baseball League, 23–24 Alaska Bush pilots, 36 Alaska–Canada border, 14–15, 83 Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, 31 Alaska Collection, 138 Alaska Communications Systems Group, Inc., 217 Alaska Cruise Transfer shuttle service, 36 Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 27, 33, 106–8, 127–28, 215–16 Alaska Discovery Center, 143 Alaska Earthquake Information Center, 68 Alaska Federation of Natives, 113 Alaska Goldpanners baseball team, 23–24 Alaska Highway, 15–16, 15 Alaska Homestead and Historical Museum, 140 Alaska Indian Arts, 142 Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center, 142 Alaska Marine Highway System, 124

Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, 158 Alaska Museum of Science and Nature, 138 Alaska National Guard, 131 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), 149, 152, 157, 159 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, 99, 121–22, 163 Alaska Native Heritage Center, 138 Alaska Natives. See Native peoples Alaskan Command (ALCOM), 129, 130 Alaskan Springtime Febreze scent, 36 Alaska Pacific University, 17 Alaska Park Connection Motorcoach, 36–37 Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge, 158 Alaska Public Lands Information Centers, 40, 47, 138, 140, 146, 153 Alaska Public Radio Network (APRN), 182, 193 Alaska purchase, 5, 12, 97, 202–3 Alaska Railroad, 10, 194–95 Alaska Range, 137 Alaska Resources Library and Information Services, 138 Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES), 175 Alaska SeaLife Center, 145 Alaska State Archives, 142 Alaska State Constitution, 46, 55 Alaska State Fair, 38 Alaska State Ferry Boats, 77–78 Alaska Statehood Act, 14 Alaska State Museum, 25, 142 Alaska State Parks, 40, 47 Alaska State Troopers Museum, 138 Alaska territory officials, 90–91 Alaska Times (newspaper), 97 Alaska Veterans Museum, 138 Alaska/Yukon Trails bus service, 37 Alaska Zoo, 138

Alatna River, 155 alcohol, 16 Aleut baskets, 25 Aleutian Range, 136 Aleutian tern, 31 Aleutian World War II National Historical Park and Visitor Center, 146, 153 Alfred Starr Nenana Cultural Center, 144 Allard, Marjorie, 62 Allen, Henry, 98 Alpine Historical Park, 146 Alutiiq Museum, 119 Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository (Kodiak Museum), 143 Alyeska, 16 Ambriz, Hector, 24 American Bald Eagle Foundation, 142 amphibians, 16–17 Anaktuvuk Pass, 135, 138 Anchorage: about, 17; annual temperatures and precipitation, 52; municipal bus service, 37; 1964 earthquake, 67–68, 67; 1975 cost of living in Anchorage, 59; skiing, 206–7 Anchorage Bucs baseball team, 24 Anchorage Daily News (newspaper), 220 Anchorage Glacier Pilots baseball team, 24 Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, 25, 138 Anchorage Times (newspaper), 100 Anderson land giveaway, 84 Anderson, Lester, 82 Anderson, Oscar, 139 Andreafsky River, 156 Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve, 153, 155 Aniakchak River, 155 annual events calendar 2014, 41–44 annual temperatures and precipitation, 52–53 antiquities laws, 17–18 Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, 94

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Anvik Historical Society and Museum, 139 appeals court justices, 62 archaeology, 18–19 Arctic Circle, 6–7, 19, 20 Arctic climate zone, 54 Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 26, 156, 157, 158 Arctic Rose (ship), 101 Arctic Slope Regional Corp., 23 Arctic warbler, 31 Arctic Winter Games, 19, 20 area code, 19 Arend, Harry O., 61 Arthur, Chester A., 12 Arctic tern, 31, 31 arts, Native arts and crafts, 158–60 assisted living, pioneers’ homes, 179–80 AT&T Alaska, 217–18 Athabascan people: about, 161; arts and crafts, 160; basketry, 25, 25; beadwork, 26, 26; traditional regional distribution, 161 Atka Island, 25, 68 Attu Island, 25, 236 Audubon Alaska, 32–33 Aurilia, Rich, 24 Aurora (ferry), 77 aurora borealis, 19–22 baidarka, 22, 22 Baker, John, 66 Bald Eagle Festival, 33 bald eagles, 31 baleen, 22 baleen basketry, 25 baleen whales, 228 baneberries, 29 barabara, 22, 22 Baranov, Alexander, 22–23, 97, 204 Baranov Museum (Erskine House)/Kodiak Historical Society, 143 barley farming, 9, 10 Barnette, E. T., 75 Barrow: about, 23; annual temperatures and precipitation, 52; Iñupiat Heritage Center, 139, 153; musk ox sighting, 26; radio stations, 193; Whalers football team and field, 21 Bartlett, E. L. “Bob”, 13, 98 baseball, 23–24

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baskets, 24–26, 25 bats, 125 beadwork, 26–27, 26 Beardslee, Lester A., 12, 97 bears: black bears, 27, 122–23; grizzly bears, 27–28, 27, 100, 107, 123; and hiking, 96; polar bears, 28, 109, 123, 240; trophy game records, 108–9 Beaver Creek, 156 beavers, 124 Becharof National Wildlife Refuge, 158 Bell, Heath, 24 beluga whales, 230 Bennett, Tony, 195 bentwood visors, 160 Bering Glacier complex, 85 Bering Land Bridge, 19, 29 Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, 29, 153 Bering Sea Coast region, 6–7, 197, 224 Bering, Vitus, 28–29, 97, 200 berries, 29–30 Berry, Montgomery P., 12, 97 Bethel, 52, 139, 193 billiken, 30 birch-bark baskets, 25 Birch Creek, 156, 199 birds, 30–33, 31, 32 bison, 123 black bears, 27, 122–23 blanket toss, 33, 33 bluethroat, 31 boalotchkee (Russian buns) recipe, 201 boating, 33–35, 34, 113–14 bogs, 147 Bolger, Joel, 61 Bolger, Joel H., 62 Bonds, Barry, 24 Boney, George F., 61 Boochever, Robert, 61 Booth, John Wilkes, 202 bore tide, 35 boroughs, 89, 92 boundary monuments, 14–15 bowhead whales, 22, 230–31, 231 breakup (ice), 35–36, 40 brewpubs and microbreweries, 128–29 Broken Mammoth site, 19 Brooks, Alfred H., 134 Brower, Charles D., 25 Brower, Harry, 100

brown bears, 27–28, 27, 108–9 Brown, Perry, 80 Bryner, Alexander O., 61, 62 bunny boots, 36, 36 Bureau of Land Management (BLM): Beaver Creek and Birch Creek, 156; cabins, 39–40; campgrounds, 47; land management system, 150–51 Burke, Edmond W., 61 Buser, Martin, 66 bush regions, 36, 74, 132 business information sources, 114 bus service, 36–38 Butcher, Susan, 100, 135 cabbages, 38, 38 cabin fever, 38 cabins, 39–40, 39, 102–3, 122, 157 cache, 40, 45 calendar of annual events 2014, 41–44 Cali, Carmen, 24 camping, 45–47, 45 Canada: Alaska–Canada border, 14–15; Klondike gold rush, 12–13 candlefish (smelt), 103–4 canoeing, 113–14 Cape Alitak Petroglyphs District, Kodiak Island, 152 Cape Krusenstern National Monument, 153 caribou, 109, 123, 123 Carpeneti, Walter L., 61 Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum, 144 Carroll, Geoff, 26 Carter, Jimmy, 99 Castro, Jason, 24 cedar bark basketry, 25 census data, 114, 191, 192 Central, Circle Historical Museum, 139 Cervenak, Mike, 24 Chakachamna Lake, 85 chambers of commerce, 47–49 Chambliss, Chris, 24 Charley River, 154, 155 Charlie, John, 162 Charlie, Neil, 162 charter boats, 62 charter bus service, 38 cheechako, 49 Chena River, 75


Chenega (ferry), 77 Chezik, Ken, 65 Chickaloon Public Transit, 37 Chief Shakes Tribal House, 147 Chilikadrotna River, 155 Chilkat blankets, 49–50 Chilkat River, 199 Chilkoot Trail, 50, 50, 206 chinook winds, 234 Chirikov, Aleksey, 28, 97, 200 chitons, 50 Christen, Morgan, 61 Chugach Mountains, 16, 17, 137 Chugach National Forest, 39, 45, 149, 206, 207 Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks baseball team, 24 chum salmon, 80, 81 Circle Historical Museum, 139 Clark, Dexter, 86 Clausen Memorial Museum, 144 climate, 50–54 climbing, Mount McKinley, 133–35, 134 coal, 54 Coast Mountains, 137 Coats, Robert G., 62 cobbler, wild berry cobbler, 30 Cockwill, Peter, 82 Cold Bay, 52 Colony House Museum/Palmer Historical Society, 144 Columbia (ferry), 77 commercial fishing industry, 69, 72, 74, 78–79, 80, 82 commercial fishing vessels, 33 community populations and zip codes, 183–90 Compton, Allen T., 61 Congressional delegates, 91, 93 conk, 54–55 Connor, Roger G., 61 Conrad, Brooks, 24 Constitution, Alaska State Constitution, 46, 55 Constitutional Budget Reserve Fund (CBRF), 176 construction industry, 71–72 Contact Creek, 15 continental climate zone, 54 Continental Divide, 55 convention and visitors bureaus, 55–56 Cook, Frederick, 134 Cook Inlet, 17, 35, 173–74, 176 Cook, James, 56–57, 57, 97

Cooper Landing Historical Society Museum, 139 Copper Basin 300 sled dog race, 66 Copper Center, George I. Ashby Memorial Museum/ Copper Valley Historical Society, 139–40 Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival, 33 Copper River Valley public transit, 37 coppers (tinnehs), 57 Cordova: Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival, 33; Cordova Historical Museum, 140; Iceworm Festival, 111; skiing, 207 cost of living, 57–59 Cougar Ace (ship), 48 court system, 59–62 coyote, 124 crafts, Native arts and crafts, 158–60 cranberries, 29 cropland acreage, 10 Crosson, Joe, 134 Crow Creek Mine, 142 cruises and cruise ships, 62, 62 Curny, Charles, 82 Curtiss, Mike, 82 customs, U.S. Customs, 114 dairy cows, 9 Dall sheep, 109, 109, 123–24 Dalton Highway, 56, 62–63, 63 Dalton, James, 63 D’Arnaud, Chase, 24 Davidson, Art, 135 Davis, Ike, 24 Dawson Creek, British Columbia, 15 daylight hours, summer vs. winter, 17, 63 deer, Sitka blacktail deer, 109, 123 Delta Historical Society, 140 Delta Junction, 10, 15, 140 Delta River, 156 Denali (Mount McKinley), 13, 17, 97, 133–35, 136–37 Denali National Park and Preserve, 17, 46–47, 133, 152, 153 Denali Overland Transportation Co, 37 Dendroctonus rufipennis (spruce bark beetle), 209

Denison, Robert, 82 diamond willow, 63 Dickey, William, 134 digs, archaeological, 18–19 Dillingham, radio stations, 193 Dillingham, Samuel K. Fox Museum (Dillingham Heritage Museum), 140 Dimond, John H., 61 directory assistance, 114 disabled access, 114 Discovery Claim (Anvil Creek), 86 Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line station, 23 Dobbs, Greg, 24 dog mushing: about, 64–66, 64, 114, 141; Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, 64, 66, 99, 100, 111–12, 112, 113, 146, 240; Knik Museum and Mushers’ Hall of Fame, 146– 47; Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, 64, 66, 236, 237, 238, 239 Don Bowers Memorial Race, 66 Dorothy Page Museum and Old Wasilla Townsite Park, 146 Drew, J. D., 24 driving distances mileage chart, 129 Duncan Cottage Museum, 144 Dutch Harbor, 224, 236 Dyea Historic Townsite, 50 Eagle Historical Society and Museum, 140 Eagle River Nature Center, 140 Eagle River Shuttle, 37 earthquakes, 5, 17, 66–68, 67 Eastaugh, Robert L., 61 Eastern yellow wagtail, 32 economy, 68–70. See also oil and gas industry; tourism Edgmon, Garett, 24 education, 70–71, 114 Egan, William A., 13, 55, 99 Eisenhower, Dwight D., 13 Eklutna Historical Park and Heritage House Museum, 140 elderly information sources, 114 Eldorado Mine, 86 electrical power, 72, 74 Elfin Cove Museum, 140 elk, 123

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Ellis, Egil, 65 Ellsbury, Jacoby, 24 emperor goose, 31 employment, 71–72, 73 energy and power, 72, 74 environmental conservation, 114 Erwin, Robert C., 61 Eskimos: about, 162; akutatk (Eskimo ice cream), 74; Eskimo languages, 122; iglu, 112–13; and ivory carving, 117; kuspuk, 119–20, 120; masks, 126–27; mukluks, 135; muktuk, 135. See also Iñupiat people; Yup’ik people Esquimeaux (newspaper), 97 eulachon (smelt), 103–4 excavations, archaeological, 18–19 Exit Glacier cabin, 39 exports, 74 Exxon Valdez oil spill, 100, 181 Eyak people, about, 162 FAA Alaska Region, 10–11 Fabe, Dana, 61 Fairbanks: about, 75–76; and Alaska Highway, 15; annual temperatures and precipitation, 52; and aurora borealis, 21; gold rush, 13; public transit, 37; radio stations, 193; skiing, 207 Fairbanks, Charles, 75 Fairbanks Community/Dog Mushing Museum, 141 Fairweather (ferry), 77 Fairweather Range, 137 Father Herman, 97 Febreze, Alaskan Springtime scent, 36 ferries, 76–78, 77, 114, 124 Field, Thomas, 24 Fien, Casey, 24 “The 55 Club,” 46, 55 fires, wildland fires, 231–33 First Organic Act, 12, 98 Fish Creek, 10 fishing: commercial fishing industry, 69, 72, 74, 78–79, 80, 82; sportfishing, 79–81, 80, 82; subsistence fishing, 81, 81, 104, 157 fish wheel, 81, 81 Fitzgerald, James M., 61 flag, Alaska state flag, 211 flightseeing, 11

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floatplanes, 10, 11–12 flooding, 35–36, 240 food and cost of living, 58 forests. See land use; national forests; national parks; national wilderness areas; state forests; timber Fort St. Michael, 23 Fortymile River, 156 Fort Yukon, 97 fox, 124 Francisco, Ben, 24 Francis, Jeff, 24 frogs, 16–17 fungi: conk (bracket fungus), 54; and diamond willow trees, 63 Fur Rendezvous, 65 furs and trapping, 81, 83 fur trading, 22–23, 200, 202 Galena, 193 games, Arctic Winter Games, 19, 20 Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, 153, 155, 156 gems, rocks and gems, 200 General Communication Inc., 218 Genet, Ray, 135 geography, 83–84 George I. Ashby Memorial Museum/Copper Valley Historical Society, 139–40 ghost ships, 239 Giambi, Jason, 24 Gimenez, Chris, 24 Girdwood, Crow Creek Mine, 142 Girdwood public transit, 37 Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, 47, 62, 62, 85, 152, 153 “glacier bird” (Kittlitz’s murrelet), 31–32 glaciers, 5, 29, 84–86, 85 Glennallen, 193 global warming, 51, 84, 86, 111 Glotov, Stephen, 119 gold: about, 86–87; discovery and gold rushes, 12–13, 87, 170; Fairbanks area, 75; gold panning, 114 Gold Dredge No. 8, 141 Golden Days celebration, 75 Goldschmidt, Paul, 24 golf, 87–88 government, 88–89 government jobs, 72 government officials, 90–94

Governors, 92 gray whales, 228–30 green energy, 74 Griswold, Carol, 203 grizzly bears, 27–28, 27, 100, 107, 109, 122 groundfish, commercial fishing, 79 Gruening, Ernest, 13, 98, 99 Gulkana River, 156 Haida people: about, 161–62; arts and crafts, 160; basketry, 25; traditional regional distribution, 161 Haines, 33, 142, 193 halibut, commercial fishing, 79 Hall, Calvin, 32 Hammer Museum, 142 Harding, Warren G., 98, 154, 194–95 hares, 125 harpoon dart heads, 19 Harris, Richard, 118 Harvey, Ken, 24 Haul Road (Dalton Highway), 63 health, hospitals and health facilities, 104–5, 114 Heritage Library and Museum (Wells Fargo Bank Heritage Library), 138 herring, 79, 100 Hickel, Walter J., 100 Higgins, Jonathan, 141 highways, 94–95, 95, 96 hiking, 95–96 Hinske, Eric, 24 historical archives, 114 Historic Hall, Fairbanks, 141 historic preservation, 17–18 history, 96–101. See also gold; Russian Alaska hoary marmot, 124 Hodge, Walter H., 61 holidays, 2014, 101 Holland, Spessard, 13, 99 Homer, 33, 52, 193 home schooling, 70 homesteading, 101–3, 103 hooligan (smelt), 103–4 Hoonah Cultural Center/Hoonah Indian Association, 142 Hootch, Molly, 70 Hope and Sunrise Historical and Mining Museum, 142 horned puffin, 31


hospitals and health facilities, 104–5 hostels, 105–6 hot springs, 106, 106 House of Wickersham/Tanana Yukon Historical Society, 142–43 housing and cost of living, 58–59, 115 Howard, George R., 82 Hubacek, Steve, 38 Hubbard Glacier, 85 Hudnall, Lawrence E., 82 humpback whales, 22 hunting, 19, 106–9, 115, 157 Hyder area code, 29 Hyder Community Association, 142 hydroelectric power, 74 hypothermia, 109 ice: icebergs, 110–11; ice breakup, 35–36, 40, 166–67; ice fields and glaciers, 5, 29, 84–86, 85; ice fog, 111; iceworms, 111; Nenana Ice Classic, 40, 166–67 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, 64, 66, 99, 100, 111–12, 112, 113, 146, 240 igloo, 112–13 Igloo Creek Campground, 46 Ilanka Cultural Center and Museum, 140 Iliamna Lake, 84 Imaginarium Discovery Center, 138–39 income and cost of living, 59 Independence Mine State Historical Park, 144 inflation and cost of living, 58 information centers, 55–56 information sources, 113–16 Innoko National Wildlife Refuge, 158 Inside Passage, 62, 116 inter- and intra-state airline service, 12 Interior Alaska Bus Line, 37 Interior region, 6–7, 196–97 international air cargo, 69 international airline service, 11–12 intrastate/Yukon bus service, 36–37 Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), 116

Iñupiat Heritage Center, Barrow, 139, 153 Iñupiat people: arts and crafts, 160; and Barrow community, 23, 197; North Slope Borough, 72; parkas, 177; traditional regional distribution, 161; umiak, 223–24, 224; whaling, 231, 231 Isabel Miller Museum/Sitka Historical Society, 145 islands, 116–17 Ivishak River, 156 ivory, 117–18, 160 Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, 158 Jacober, Mike, 135 jade, 118 Janish, Paul, 24 job opportunities, 115 John River, 156 Johnson, Andrew, 97, 202 Johnson, Randy, 24 Johnson, Tyler, 24 Johnston, Dave, 135 Johnston, Galen, 135 Johnston, Merrick, 135 Joint Base ElmendorfRichardson (JBER), 69, 129, 130, 131 Joint Base ElmendorfRichardson Wildlife Education Center, 138 joint military service commands, 129 Jones, Marie Smith (Chief), 122 Juneau, 5, 37, 52, 118 Juneau–Douglas City Museum, 143 Juneau, Joseph, 118 Junior Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Wasilla, 66 Junior North American Championships, 66 Junior World Championship Race, 66 justice system, 59–62 Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival, 33 Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge, 158 Kasaan Totem Park, 145 Katmai National Park and Preserve, 47, 152, 153, 155 kayaking, 34, 113–14

K’beq’ Interpretive Site, Kenaitze Indian Tribe, 143 Kenai, 193 Kenai Fjords National Park, 39, 153, 202 Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, 47, 158 Kenai Peninsula, 37–38, 39, 207 Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center, 143 Kendall, Alan, 102 Kennecott Mines Co., 119 Kennedy, Adam, 24 Kennicott (ferry), 77 Kennicott ghost town, 119 Kennicott Glacier, 119 Ketchikan, 38, 53, 193 killer whales, 230 King Salmon, 53 Kinkead, John H., 12 Kipnuk, 60 Kiska Island, 236 Kittlitz’s murrelet, 31–32 Klawock Totem Park/City of Klawock, 143 Klondike 300 sled dog race, 66 Klondike gold rush, 13, 50 Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, 5, 47, 50, 145, 154 Kluane Lake, 15 Knik Museum and Mushers’ Hall of Fame, 146–47 Kobuk 440 sled dog race, 66 Kobuk River, 156, 199 Kobuk Valley National Park, 154, 156 Kodiak: about, 119; Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository (Kodiak Museum), 143; annual temperatures and precipitation, 53; Baranov Museum (Erskine House)/ Kodiak Historical Society, 143; Kodiak Maritime Museum, 143; Kodiak Military History Museum, 143–44; Kodiak Museum of the History of the Orthodox Church in Alaska, 144; Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, 158; radio stations, 193–94; rent and cost of living, 59 Kotzebue, 144, 194 Kotzebue Sound, 31

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Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge, 158 Koyukuk River, 199 Kumamoto, Michio, 135 Kusko 300 sled dog race, 66 Kuskokwim Mountains, 136 Kuskokwim River, 35, 199 kuspuk, 119–20, 120 Kvichak River, 199 labor and employer organizations, 115, 120 Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, 154, 155, 156 Lake Hood seaplane base, 11 lakes, 120 land area, 5, 83 land auctions, 102 land conservation, 99–100, 149 land information sources, 115 land ownership, 122 land use, 120–22 languages, 122 La Perouse Glacier, 85 Last Chance Mining Museum, 143 Lavelle Young, 75 Leach, Chuck, 82 LeConte (ferry), 77 LeConte Glacier, 85 Lee, Steven A., 82 legal information sources, 115 legislature, 115 lemmings, 125 libraries, 115 licenses: alcohol sales, 16; hunting, 107–8; sportfishing, 80–81 Limited North American Championships, 66 Lincoln, Abraham, 202 lingonberry/lowbush cranberry, 29, 29 Lituya (ferry), 77 livestock, 10 Lizard Hot Springs, 106 Lloyd, Tom, 134 “Lord of Alaska” (Alexander Baranov), 22–23 lowbush cranberry, 29, 29 Ludwick, Ryan, 24 lynx, 124 Maassen, Peter, 61 Maggie the elephant, 76 Malaspina (ferry), 77 Malaspina Glacier complex, 85

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mammals, 122–26 mammoth and mastodon ivory, 117 Mannheimer, David, 62 maps: census areas, 192; highways, 95; Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, 112; mountains, mountain ranges, and volcanoes, 136– 37; national interest lands, 150–51; Native Regional Corporations, 163; permafrost, 178; regions of Alaska, 6–7; state park system, 212–13; topographic maps, 115; traditional Native distributions, 161; Yukon Quest trail, 237 marbled murrelet, 32, 32 Marine Education Center, 145 Marine Mammal Protection Act, 117 maritime climate zone, 51, 54 marmot, hoary marmot, 124 marten, 124 masks, 126–27 Matanuska (ferry), 77 Matanuska Glacier, 84, 85 Matanuska-Susitna Miners baseball team, 24 Matanuska Valley, 9, 10, 38, 98 Mathews, Al, 82 Mat-Su Valley, 10 Matthews, Warren W., 61 Maxine and Jesse Whitney Museum, 146 McCarthy, Wrangell–St. Elias National Park, 144 McGehee, Casey, 24 McGrath, 53, 194 McGwire, Mark, 24 McIntyre, Rick, 133 McKinley, William, 133 McNeil River State Game Sanctuary, 127–28 Meade site, 19 median age of residents, 5 Medlen, Kris, 24 Merrill Field, 11, 12 Mesa Site, 19 Mesenchytraeus spp. (iceworms), 111 Metlakatla, 144, 161 metric conversions, 128 mice, 125 microbreweries and brewpubs, 128–29 Midnight Sun games, 23, 75

migratory birds, 30–33 mileage chart (driving distances), 129 military: about, 115, 129–31; hospitals, 105; and state economy, 69 minerals and mining, 68, 69, 71, 74, 86, 87, 115, 131–32, 132 mining: Alaska Miners Association, 115; gold mining, 86, 87, 131–32, 132, 196; Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, 5, 47, 50, 145; Last Chance Mining Museum, 143; and state economy, 68, 69, 71, 74 Missionary School, 97 Misty Fiords National Monument, 153 Moe, Tommy, 100 Molly Hootch settlement (Tobeluk Consent Decree), 70 moorage facilities, 34 Moore, Allen, 239 Moore, Daniel A., Jr., 61 moose, 93, 108, 109, 123 mosquitoes, 132–33 motto, 5 mountain goats, 123 mountains, 133, 136–37 Mount Alyeska, 16 Mount Augustine, 227, 227 Mount McKinley, 13, 17, 97, 133–35, 136–37 Mount Redoubt, 226, 227 Mount Spurr, 226–27 mukluks, 135 muktuk, 135 Mulchatna River, 156 Muldrow Glacier, 84–85, 134 municipal bus service, 37–38 Murie, Margaret, 177 Murie, Olaus, 177 Murkowski, Lisa, 101 Murphy, George, 108 Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry, 147 Museum of the Aleutians, 146 Museum of the North, University of Alaska, 141 museums and cultural centers, 25, 135, 138–47 mushrooms, 147 muskegs, 147 musk oxen, 26, 123, 147–49, 148, 182


muskrat, 125 Mystrom, Rick, 92 Naknek River, 199 nalukataq (blanket toss), 33 Napaskiak, 58 National Archives, Pacific Alaska Region, 139 national forests, 149, 150–51, 159 national historic places, 149, 152 national interest lands, 150–51 National Marine Fisheries Service, 126 national parks, 150–51 National Park Service, 39, 46–47 national parks, preserves, and monuments, 152–54 National Petroleum Reserve– Alaska (NPR–A), 54, 154–55, 176 National Weather Service, 110– 11 national wild and scenic rivers, 150–51, 155–56 national wilderness areas, 157, 159 national wildlife refuges, 150– 51, 156, 157–58 Native Claims Settlement Act, 23 Native languages, 122 Native peoples: about, 160–63; Alaska Federation of Natives, 113; arts and crafts, 158–60; effects of foreign contact, 201; Native Regional Corporations, 163–64, 163; Native Village Corporations, 165–66; potlatches, 182, 222; regional and statewide nonprofits, 164–65; traditional regional distribution, 161 natural gas, 175–76 natural resources information, 115 Naval Arctic Research Laboratory, 23 Neff, Hugh, 239 Nenana, 10, 144 Nenana Ice Classic, 40, 166–67 Nesbett, Buell A., 61 newspapers and periodicals, 167–70

nickname, state nickname, 5 1964 earthquake, 67–68, 67 1975 cost of living in Anchorage, 59 Noatak National Preserve, 154 Noatak River, 35, 156, 199 Nome: about, 170–71; annual temperatures and precipitation, 53; Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum, 144; gold rush, 13; radio stations, 194 northern/Arctic region, 6–7, 197 Northern hares, 125 northern lights, 19–22 North Fork Koyukuk River, 156 North Pole, 37, 133, 194 North Slope and Prudhoe Bay, 171–73, 173, 175–76 North Slope Borough, 23, 72, 154 North Slope Haul Road (Dalton Highway), 63 Northwest Arctic Heritage Center, 144 no-see-ums, 171 Novarupta Volcano, 227 Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge, 156, 158 Nowitna River, 156 Nunivak Island, 148 nursing facilities, 105 Nushagak River, 35, 199 Oefelein, Bill, 83 oil and gas industry: Cook Inlet, 173–74, 176; North Slope and Prudhoe Bay, 171–73, 173, 175–76; pipeline, 174, 180–81; projected reserves and production, 174–76; revenues, 176–77; and state economy, 68, 71, 72 One Man’s Wilderness (Keith), 152 oosik, 177 Open North American Sled Dog Race Championship, Fairbanks, 65, 66 Open World Championship Sled Dog Race, Anchorage, 65, 66 orcas, 230 Organic Acts, 12, 13, 98 Oscar Anderson House, 139 otters, river otter, 125

Pacific loon, 32 Page, Dorothy, 111 Palin, Sarah, 176, 215 Palmer, 37, 144, 207–8 Palmer Museum, 144 Paradise Lake cabin, 39 parkas, 177, 177 Parker, Cathy, 21 Parnell, Sean, 5, 35, 94, 210 passenger numbers, Alaska Mainline Ferries, 78 Pavlof Volcano, 226, 227 Pedro, Felix, 75 Pelfrey, Mike, 24 Peninsula Oilers baseball team, 24 per capita income, 5 Perez, Juan, 97 Performing Animals Welfare Society (PAWS), 76 periodicals, newspapers and periodicals, 167–70 permafrost, 177–78, 178 Permanent Fund Dividend, 58, 68–69, 115–16, 176, 178–79 personal income and cost of living, 59 Petersburg, 53, 144, 194 Peterson, Howard, 93 petroleum. See oil and gas industry Petroleum Profits Tax (PPT), 175 Phelps, Joni, 135 pika, 125 Pioneer Air Museum, 141 Pioneer Park, 141 pioneers’ homes, 179–80 Pioneers of Alaska Museum, 141 pipeline, Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, 174, 180–81 place-names, 181 poisonous plants, 181 polar bears, 28, 109, 123, 240 political parties, 181–82 population: Anchorage, 17, 183, 191; census areas, 191, 192; current, 5, 83, 182, 183– 90, 191; historic, 12, 13, 14 Porcupine River, 199 porcupines, 125 Portage Glacier, 17 Portage Glacier Highway, 94, 95 Post, Wiley, 23 potlatches, 182, 222 Potter Section House and Historic Park, 139

249


Powell, Lewis, 202 power, energy and power use, 72, 74 Pratt Museum, 142 precipitation, 51, 52–53, 239 prehistory and archaeology, 19–20 Pretz, Florence, 30 price of gold, 87 Prince of Wales Island, Kasaan Totem Park, 145 Prince William Sound Museum, 147 private campgrounds, 47 private land purchases, 122 produce, local produce farming, 9–10 Proenneke, Dick, 152, 152 Project Alaska Turf, 21 Prudhoe Bay, North Slope and Prudhoe Bay, 171–73, 173, 175–76 public safety information, 116 Public School Trust Fund, 176 qiviut, 148, 182 Rabinowitz, Jay A., 61 raccoons, 125 radio stations, 182, 193–94 Railbelt region, 10, 72, 74 railroads, 10, 13, 194–95, 194 rainfall, 5 Rana sylvatica (wood frog), 17 Rasmuson, Elmer, 101 Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska, 141 rats, 125–26 recreational boating, 34–35 red-faced cormorant, 32 Redington, Joe, Sr., 64, 101, 111, 135 red-legged kittiwake, 32 Reed, Jeremy, 24 regions of Alaska: Interior, 196– 97; map, 6–7; northern/ Arctic region, 197; southcentral/Gulf coast, 9, 17, 76–77, 195–97; Southeast, 195, 208; southwestern/Alaska Peninsula and Aleutians, 76, 77, 197–98; western/Bering Sea Coast, 197 regulations, hunting, 107–8, 115 regulations, sportfishing, 80–81

250

Reid, Frank, 98 reindeer, 9, 123 religion, 198–99 reptiles, 199 Resurrection Bay, 202 retail employment, 72 Reynolds, Arleigh, 65 Riddles, Libby, 100 Rika’s Roadhouse, 140 Riley Creek Campground, 46 river otter, 125 rivers: national wild and scenic rivers, 150–51, 155–56; river running information, 116; Yukon River, 35, 84, 97, 156, 199, 200, 237–38, 240 Rivers, Ralph, 13, 99 road conditions, 116 roadhouses, 200 Robbins, Andrew, 82 Robb, Scott, 38 Roberts, Rosemary, 82 rocks and gems, 200 Rogers, Will, 23 Roosevelt elk, 123 Roosevelt, Franklin, 9 rose hips, 29 Ross, Tyson, 24 Russian Alaska, 90, 200–201 Russian–American Co., 22–23, 97 Russian Bishop’s House, 145 Russian Christmas, 201 Russian fur traders, 9, 200 Russian River campground, 45 Ryan, Brendan, 24 rye grass Aleut baskets, 25 salamanders, 16–17 salmon: commercial fishing, 78, 82; king salmon, 80, 80; sportfishing, 79, 80, 82 salmon fillets, 215 Salmon River, 156 salmon strips, 201–2 Samuel K. Fox Museum (Dillingham Heritage Museum), 140 Sanctuary River Campground, 46 Savage River Campground, 46 Savok, Lily, 120 Schafer, Logan, 24 school districts, 70–71, 114 Schwatka, Frederick, 97 Scott, Nell, 98 sea ice, 110–11, 240 seal, Alaska state seal, 214

seaplanes, 5, 10, 11–12, 155 seasonal affective disorder (SAD), 38 Seaver, Tom, 24 Seavey family, 240 Seavey, Mitch, 112, 113 Second Organic Act, 13, 98 seiche waves, 67, 68 sei whales, 22 Selawik National Wildlife Refuge, 156, 158 Selawik River, 156 Senators (national), 91–92, 93 Senators (state), 93 Serpentine Hot Springs, 29 Seward: about, 202; Alaska SeaLife Center, 145, 202; Marine Education Center, 145; Seward Bus Line, 37; Seward Museum/ Resurrection Bay Historical Society, 145 Seward, Frederick, 202 Seward, William H., 12, 97, 202– 3, 202 sewing, skin sewing, 208 Shank, LeRoy, 236 Sheenjek River, 156 sheep, Dall sheep, 109, 109, 123–24 Sheldon Jackson Museum, 25, 145, 205 Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center, 142 shellfish, commercial fishing, 78–79 Shepherdia canadensis (soapberry), 74 shipping, 203–4 shrews, 126 shuttle (bus) service, 36–38 Shuttle Man Transportation, 37 Simon Paneak Memorial Museum, 135, 138 Singleton, James K., Jr., 62 Sinnot, Rick, 93 Sitka: about, 204–5; Isabel Miller Museum/Sitka Historical Society, 145; land area, 84; public transit, 38; radio stations, 194; and Russian Alaska, 118; Russian Bishop’s House, 145; Sheldon Jackson Museum, 25, 145; Sitka National Historical Park, 145, 154; Sitka slippers, 205 Sitka Bay, 23


Sitka blacktail deer, 109, 123 Sitka Harbor, 77 Skagway: about, 205–6; Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, 5, 47, 50, 145; radio stations, 193; Skagway Museum and Archives, 145; Slide Cemetery, 205 skiing, 206–8, 206 skin sewing, 208 skookum, 208 sled dog racing, 64–66, 64 Slide Cemetery, 205 smelt, 103–4 Smith, Soapy, 98, 205–6 snowfall, 5, 239 snowshoe hares, 125 soapberry, 74 soapstone, 208 Soldotna, 193, 208–9 Soldotna Historical Society and Museum, 145 solstices, 19 soopolallie berry, 74 sourdough, 209 Sourdough Expedition, 134 sourdough hotcakes recipe, 209 southcentral/Gulf coast region: about, 195–97; Anchorage, 17; ferries, 76–77; growing season, 9; map, 6–7 Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center, 145 Southeast region, 6–7, 195, 208 Southeast State Forest, 210 southwestern/Alaska Peninsula and Aleutians region, 6–7, 76, 77, 197–98 speed limits, 209 sportfishing, 79–81, 80, 82 spruce bark beetles, 209–10 spruce root basketry, 25 squirrels, 45, 125 SS Nenana, 75, 141–42, 142 Stack, Jean, 69 state forests, 210 statehood timeline, 12–14 state House of Representatives, 93–94 state park system, 210–11, 212– 13 state symbols, 211, 214–15 St. Elias Mountains, 137 Steller, Georg, 97 Steller, Georg Wilhelm, 28 Stevens, Ted, 14

Stewart, British Columbia, 19 Stewart, David C., 62 Stikine River, 199 Stoeckl, Edouard de, 12, 97 Stowers, Craig, 61 St. Peter (ship), 28 stranded residents, 116 Streeper, Blayne, 65 Streeper, Buddy, 65 Stroecker, Bill, 23 Stuck, Hudson, 134 subsistence fishing, 81, 81, 104, 157 subsistence fishing and hunting, 215–16 Sugpiaq (Alutiiq) people, 119, 160, 161, 162–63 Sullivan Roadhouse, 140 summer solstice, 19 sundogs, 216 supreme court justices, 60–61 Susitna River, 99 Susitna Valley, 38 Sutton, Alpine Historical Park, 146 Suzuki, Kurt, 24 Swan Point site, 19 symbols, state symbols, 211, 214–15 taiga, 216 Taku (ferry), 77–78 taku winds, 234 Talkeetna, 216–17, 216 Talkeetna Historical Society Museum, 146 Talkeetna Taxi, 37 Tanana River, 75, 81, 200 Tanana River ice breakup, 40 Tanana Valley, 9–10 Tanana Valley Fair, 75 Tanana Valley State Forest, 210 Taylor, Dorothea, 108 Teahen, Mark, 24 Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, 11, 14, 69 Tejas, Vern, 135 Teklanika River Campground, 46 telecommunications, 217–18 telephone service, 19 television stations, 218–20 temperatures, 5, 51, 52–53 Tennessee Plan, 13 Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge, 158 Thorsness, Daniel, 82

Thynes, Frederick, 82 tides, 220 tides, bore tide, 35 timber, 220–21 time zones, 221 Tinayguk River, 156 Tlikakila River, 156 Tlingit people: about, 161, 162; arts and crafts, 160; basketry, 25; Chilkat blankets, 49; and hooligan, 103–4; masks, 127; Sheldon Jackson Museum, 25, 145; and Sitka National Historical Park, 145, 204–5; totem poles, 160, 222, 222; traditional regional distribution, 161 toads, 16–17 Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, 158 Tok Main Street Visitor Center, 146 Tok Race of Champions sled dog race, 66 Tongass Historical Museum, 143 Tongass National Forest, 39, 45, 149, 159 Tongass Timber Reform Act (TTRA), 149, 159 toothed whales, 228 tornadoes, 71 Totem Heritage Center, 143 totem poles, 221–22, 222 tourism: about, 222–23; Barrow, 23; information sources, 116; Skagway, 205– 6; and state economy, 69 Tragis, Jack, 82 Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, 174, 180–81 transition climate zones, 54 Trapper Creek Museum, 146 trapping, furs and trapping, 81, 83 trees and shrubs, 223 tribal health facilities, 104–5 trophy fish records, 82 trophy game records, 108–9 Truman, Harry S., 13, 98 Tsimshian people: about, 161; arts and crafts, 160; basketry, 25; Chilkat blankets, 49; traditional regional distribution, 161 tsunamis, 67, 68, 119 tundra, 223

251


Turnagain Arm bore tide, 35 Tustumena (ferry), 78 Uchida, Toshiko, 135 Uemura, Naomi, 135 Ukpeagvik Iñupiat Corp., 23 ulu, 223 umiak, 223–24, 224 Unalaska, 25, 146, 153, 224 Unanga^x (Aleut) people: about, 162; arts and crafts, 160; and baidarka, 22, 22; masks, 127; rain parkas, 177; traditional regional distribution, 161 unemployment rates, 71, 72 universities and colleges, 224– 26 University of Alaska Anchorage, 17, 139, 225 University of Alaska Archives and Manuscripts, 139 University of Alaska Fairbanks, 21, 141, 225 University of Alaska Museum, 25, 30 University of Alaska Planetarium and Visualization Theater, 139 University of Alaska Southeast, 224–25, 226 Unlakleet River, 156 U.S. Air Force, 130 U.S. Army, 12, 97, 129–30 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 15 U.S. Coast Guard, 130–31 USDA Forest Service, 39, 45–46 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: and beach ivory, 117–18; cabins, 40; campgrounds, 47; and marine mammals, 126 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), 154, 172 Usibelli Coal Mine, 54 U.S. Navy, 12, 130, 171–72 U.S.S. Jamestown, 12, 12, 97 Utkeaviq Site, Barrow, 19 Utqiagvik (Barrow), 23 Vaccinium vitisidaea (lowbush cranberry), 29, 29 Valdez, 53, 146, 194 Valdez Harbor, 34 Valdez Museum and Historical Archive, 146 Valsa sordida Nitschke fungi, 63

252

Vancouver, George, 97 Variegated Glacier, 86 vehicle numbers, Alaska Mainline Ferries, 78 vehicle shipping services, 203–4 Veniaminov, Ioann, 226 veterans affairs, 116 visitors bureaus, 55–56 volcanoes, 136–37, 226–28, 227 voles, 126 Wada, Jujiro, 75 Wagner, Jack, 82 walruses, 109, 117, 118, 126 Washburn, Barbara, 134, 134 Wasilla, 38, 146 Waskey, Frank H., 13 Watt, James, 100 weasels, 125 weather, 50–54, 116 Weaver, Jered, 24 Weaverling, Kelly, 51 West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center (WCATWC), 67 western/Bering Sea Coast region, 6–7, 197 whales, 22, 228–30 whaling, 23, 230–31, 231 whiskered auklet, 32 White, David, 82 White Mountains National Recreation Area, 39–40 White Pass & Yukon Route railway, 194, 195 White, Tom, 171 Whittier, Prince William Sound Museum, 147 Wickersham, James, 61, 75, 98, 134, 142–43 wild berry cobbler, 30 Wilderness Access Center, Denali National Park and Preserve, 46–47 wildflowers, 233 wildland fires, 231–33 William Duncan, 161 Williams, Roger, 236 Williams, Ron, 148 williwaws, 234 willow root baskets, 25 willow trees, 63 Wilson, CJ, 24 Wilson, Woodrow, 98, 194 windchill factor, 233 wind power, 74 Wind River, 156

winds, 233–34 Winfield, Dave, 24 Winfree, Daniel E., 61 winter solstice, 19 wolverines, 124 wolves, 102, 124 Women’s World Championship Race (sled dog race), 66 Wonder Lake, 120, 120 Wonder Lake Campground, 46 woodchucks, 126 wood frog, 17 woodrats, 126 Wood–Tikchik State Park, 5 World Eskimo–Indian Olympics, 75, 234–35, 235 World Ice Art Championships, 75 World War II, 235–36 Wrangell, 147 Wrangell Mountains, 137 Wrangell Museum, 147 Wrangell–St. Elias National Park, 144, 154 yearly highlights, 2011–2013, 239–40 Young, Michael, 24 Yukon–Charley Rivers National Preserve, 154, 155 Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, 157, 158 Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge, 158 Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta, 31 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, 64, 66, 236, 237, 238, 239 Yukon River, 35, 84, 97, 156, 199, 200, 237–38, 240 Yukon Yonda, 86 Yupiit Piciryarait (“People’s Lifeways”) Culture Center and Museum, 139 Yup’ik people: arts and crafts, 160; basketry, 25; parkas, 177; traditional regional distribution, 161 Zagurski, Mike, 24 zip codes, 182, 183–90


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Mr. Whitekeys is a humorist and noted writer and commentator about all things wacky in or about Alaska. He hosts live performances and has a weekly TV series on Anchorage’s NBC-affiliate, KTUU. mrwhitekyes.com

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Nancy Gates has lived in Alaska for 34 years and she’s had the daunting task of editing the Almanac since 2000. Her essays have appeared in many collections and magazines and she is coauthor of The Alaska Homesteader’s Handbook. “The best guide

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Since 1976, those looking for facts about Alaska turn to this trusted fact book. Updated biannually, this affordable, best-selling guide is...

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