Alaska from A-Z

Updated July 2017

Map of Continents, United States, & Alaska

ALASKA FROM A TO Z


North to the Future

Facts about Alaska for each letter of the alphabet.
Please click on highlighted word for more information
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A IS AGRICULTURE, ARCHAEOLOGY, & AURORA BOREALIS

B IS FOR BIRDS, BRIDGES, & BYWAYS C IS FOR CAPITAL, COMMUNICATION, & COUNTIES
    Picture of Juneau Juneau is the Capital of Alaska. It is the only state capital in the continental United States that is only accessible by boat or plane. There is a monument to Patsy the Dog who was the town greeter for many years.

    Picture of Tower Alaska has all forms of COMMUNICATION including newspapers, radio, television, telephone, and internet. The telephone Area Code is 907. Internet Service Providers are located in the state. Internet Cafes and city libraries provide access for email and research. Webcams are located thoughout Alaska including a national weather service webcam, webcams at airports, and scenic webcams.

    Picture Alaska does not have COUNTIES such as in the lower 48 states. The term county/borough is used in 48 of the 50 state for the level of government below the state government. Alaska has Boroughs which are similar, but have different powers and a different relationship to the state government. There are no County Sheriffs in Alaska and law enforcement is done by state troopers or municipal police departments. North Slope Borough is the largest in size and Bristol Bay Borough is the smallest. Fairbanks North Star Borough has the largest population and Yakutat Borough has the smallest. Sitka is the largest city in the country in land area. The state has many small towns and villages.

D IS FOR DAMS, DINOSAURS, & DOG E IS FOR EARTHQUAKES, EDUCATION, & EVENTS F IS FOR FISH, FLAG, FOOD, & FORTS
    Picture of King Salmon Many species of FISH are found in Alaska. The State Fish is the Giant King Salmon. Most of the salmon, crab, halibut, and herring in the country come from Alaska. The state has several Fish Hatcheries. The streams, rivers, and coastal marine waters of Alaska have an abundance of fish and fishing is a major industry and a popular activity. Alaska has excellent opportunities to experience saltwater fishing. The Alaska Commercial Fishermens' Memorial is dedicated to the men and women who have given their lives to the Alaska commercial fishing industry. The Alaska celebrates National Seafood Month.

    Picture of Alaska State Flag The Alaska State FLAG was designed by a 7th grade student. It has 8 gold stars in the shape of the Big Dipper and is blue for the State Flower - the Forget-Me-Not. The State Song is "Alaska Flag" - the only state song that focuses on a state flag. The state capital, Juneau, has its own flag. The Tlingit & Haida have their own flag. Chilly Willy is the State Character. The State SEAL depicts the northern light, icebergs, and Native American People.

    Picture of crab The Alaska FOOD timelinedates back thousands of years when the first Asian people arrived. The Inuit consume a diet of foods that are fished, hunted, and gathered locally. Food eaten by the Russian emigrees, 19th century gold miners, and 21st century residents - was very different. People currently living in the state with ties to other cultures all enjoy their own versions of "traditional meals." There are several food specialties. The Food Pantries and Food Banks in the state. There are also Food Festivals, Shows, & Events. The Food Safety & Sanitation Program protects public health at regulated food, seafood, and public facilities.

    Picture of fort Alaska has had many Forts. Most are no longer standing but some have been restored or have have been been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Five of the original building of Fort Egbert have been preserved. Fort Greely is a U.S. Army launch site for anti-ballistic missiles. A field gun from Fort Liscum is displayed in the Valdez Museum. When a recreation area was being developed, concrete buildings of Fort McGilvray were discovered and it is considered one of the most well-preserved sites in the state. Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is an amalgamation of the former U.S. Elmendorf Air Force Base and the U.S Army Fort Richardson. Fort Tongass was the first U.S. Army base established in Alaska after its purchase from Russia. Fort Wainwright is home to 1st brigade of the 25th Infantry Division, Task Force 49, the Bureau of Land Management's Alaska Fire Service, and Bassett Army Community Hospital.

G IS FOR GEOLOGY, GHOST TOWNS, & GLOBAL POSITION
    Picture of Glacier The GEOLOGY of Alaska is varied. Permafrost lies within the Arctic Circle from a few feet deep to 2,000 feet deep and is defined solely by temperature. The US Geological Survey provides information about the geology of Alaska including a map. The state has more active Glaciers and ice fields than the rest of the inhabited world. More than 1/2 the coastline of the entire United States is in Alaska. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is responsible for managing the development of oil, natural gas, renewable energy and mineral resources on Alaska's Outer Continental Shelf in an environmentally and economically responsible way.

    Picture of McCarthy Ghost Town Alaska has about a dozen ghost towns. Some have buildings, cemetaries, and residents. The most spectacular ghost town is McCarthy. The old town hall in Knik is now the Dog Mushers Hall of Fame.

    Picture of Globe The GLOBAL POSITION of Alaska is approximately 58 to 71 degrees latitude north and 150 to 165 degrees longitude west. Canada is to the east and south. Alaska is the farthest north, west, and east state because islands in the Aleutian Chain cross the international dateline. Point Barrow is the farthest north point of land in the country. About 50 miles across the Bering Straits lies a part of Russia called Siberia. Alaska is the only state with coastlines on 3 different seas - Beaufort, Chakchi, and Bering. The geographic center of Alaska is approximately 60 miles northwest of Mt. McKinley. Alaska is the largest of the 50 states. The topography of Alaska varies sharply among the 6 distinct regions . Geocaching is a treasure hunt using a Global Positioning System, and Alaska has several cache sites.

H IS FOR HISTORIC & HISTORY I IS FOR ISLANDS, INDUSTRIES, & INSECTS J IS FOR JAZZ, & JUDICIAL
    Picture of jazz player JAZZ is popular in Alaska and there is a Jazz Festival at Seward and Sitka. Juneau has a Jazz and Classics Festival. Anchorage and Juneau have Opera companies.

    Picture of Justice The JUDICIAL System is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct was created by amendment to the state constitution in 1968. It is composed of 3 state court judges, 3 attorneys who have practiced law in the state for at least 10 years, and 3 members of the public. This group of individuals from differing backgrounds and geographical areas addresses problems of judicial conduct and disability. Complaints alleging judicial misconduct can be filed by any person.

K IS FOR KARST, KIDS, & KLONDIKE L IS FOR LAKES, LIBRARIES, & LIGHTHOUSES
    Picture of Lake Alaska has more than 3,000 officially named LAKES and 3 million unnamed. There are 7 major lakes. Iliamna is the largest lake in Alaska, 8th largest in country, and one of the largest in North America. Bercharof is the 2nd largest lake and serves as a nursery for the 2nd largest run of sockeye salmon in the world. Aleknagik is a state recreational site. There are environmental concerns about Teshekpuk Lake because up to 90,000 geese congregate in the area in summer to undergo wing molt, and up to 46,000 caribou use the area for both calving and migration. Lake Naknet is famous for fishing. Lake Clark is located within Lake Clark National Park & Preserve and has recreational opportunities year-round. Mincumina is near the geographical center of the state. The lakes have a tendency to fill in with vegetation which often leads to freezing which creates a hill known as a pingo.

    Picture of Books Public Libraries are located throughout Alaska. They have culturally responsive guidelines, special programs for children, and Friends of the Library groups. The Alaska Library Association takes an active interest in all libraries of all sizes. The state has a Poet Laureate.

    Picture of Lighthouse There are several LIGHTHOUSES in Alaska. Some of them are in the process of being opened to the public. The most important aspect of a lighthouse is the light that comes from the tower.

M IS FOR MILITARY, MOUNTAINS, & MUSEUMS
    Picture of Military Personnel The MILITARY has played an important part in the history of Alaska, and Air Bases are located in the state. The economy of Alaska began to grow during World War II when military bases were established in the territory. The Army Corps of Engineers has several projects in Alaska and is in charge of the Chena River Lakes. The Alaska National Guard maintains arsenals and is present in many communities.

    Picture of Picture of Denali Alaska has 17 of the tallest MOUNTAINS in the country. Mt. McKinley is the highest point in Alaska and in North America and is over 20,000 feet. Denali is the Indian name for Mt. McKinley and means The Great One. Other mountains over 15,000 feet include Mount Elias, Foraker, Bona, Blackburn, Sanford, Vancouver, Churchill, Fairweather, Hubbard, and Bear. The state has half of the glaciers in the world.

    Picture of Sheldon Museum Alaska has many MUSEUMS. The Sheldon Jackson Museum is the oldest in the state. The Museum of the Aleutians has one of the most state-of-the-art museums in the country on Unalaska Island. Pretty amazing considerering they are fairly isolated. A museum in Haines is the first museum dedicated to hammers.

N IS FOR NAME & NATIVE PEOPLE
    Picture of Midnight Sun The NAME Alaska comes from the Aleut word Alakshak meaning mainland or land that is not an island. The nickname of Alaska is "Land of the Midnight Sun. It is also called "Last Frontier" because residents lived so far from each other. Many cities have nicknames and place names in the state reflect the colorful history of Alaska. The Capital, Juneau, was named for one of its co-founders, Joe Juneau.

    Picture of Alaska Native Heritage Center Alaska has several groups of NATIVE PEOPLE. The Eskimo are the native inhabitants of the seacoast of the Arctic. Their own term for themselves is Inuit which means real people. They are very much involved in the modern world and have adapted much of its technology. The Alaska Native Heritage Center celebrates, perpetuates, and shares Alaska Native cultures. Native Americans in Alaska raised TOTEM POLES in front of their houses and celebrated legends, and events, or the wealth and crest of the family.

O IS FOR OCEAN, OIL, & OLD WEST P IS FOR PARKS, PEOPLE, & PLANETARIUMS
    Alaska Parks Logo Alaska has a variety of PARKS and Recreation Areas including 15 National PARKS. The Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is the largest National Park in the country. The state has 120 State Parks, and it is the largest State Park system in the country. National parks and wildlife refuges protect more than a third of the state.

    Picture of People Nearly 800,000 PEOPLE live in Alaska, and a person who lives there is called an Alaskan. It is the largest state in area but one of the least populated. Women played a major role in the development of Alaska especially during the Gold Rush. Many wellknown people have called Alaska home. William Seward helped the country negotiate the purchase of Alaska.

    Picture of Telescope Alaska has 2 PLANETARIUMS. The Thomas Planetarium at the Anchorage Museum is used for a wide variety of education programs and films. The Marie Drake Planetarium, in Juneau is part of the Juneau School District and has been run by volunteers for over 20 years. It offers astronomy education for the public, school classes, and community groups. The Alaska Volcano Observatory There is an observatory at Mat-Su College.

Q IS FOR QUARTER, QUILTING, & QUIZ R IS FOR REGIONS, REPTILES, & RIVERS S IS FOR SEA LIFE & SPORTS T IS FOR TRANSPORTATION, & TREE
    Picture of Snow Doctor Alaska has limited land TRANSPORTATION, but there is a railway system and several major highways. Bush planes, seaplanes, and helicopters provide much of the interior transportation. The ALCAN Highway was constructed during World War II for the purpose of connecting the contiguous United States to Alaska through Canada. The state has public and military airports. Many of the coastal towns are most conveniently reached by water and the state has an extensive ferry system. The Alaska Railroad System carries both freight and passengers throughout its system and has a mainline over 470 miles. The state of Alaska has a variety of license plates. To celebrate its birthday in 2002, Matchbox cars issued a vehicle for each state in the order in which it was admitted into the union. The vehicle for Alaska was the Snow Doctor.

    Picture of Sitka Spruce - State Tree The State TREE is the Sitka Spruce. Almost 1/3 of the state is covered by forest, and 1/6 of the forest land is within the 2 National Forests. The Tongass National Forest is the largest National Forest in the country and has the largest temperate rain forest in the world. The Chugacha National Forest in south central Alaska includes extensive shorelines, glaciers, forests and rivers. Kachemak Bay has Kelp Forests.

U IS FOR UNESCO, UNIVERSITY, & USS ALASKA
    UNESCO Logo The United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization UNESCO protects natural and cultural properties around the world. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. Wrangell-St. Elias National National Monument is a UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Denali National Park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The Aleutian Island UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and National Wildlife Reserve consists mostly of the Aleutian Islands and most of Amaknak Island.

    Picture of cap & diploma The UNIVERSITY of Alaska has 3 main campuses and several branch campuses. Alaska also has several colleges. The first College-level institution in Alaska was a Russian Theological School opened in Sitka in 1814.

    Picture of USS Alaska Four ships of the United States Navy have been named USS ALASKA. The 1st USS Alaska (1868) was a wooden-hulled screw sloop-of-war that saw numerous small actions between the American Civil War and the Mexican-American War. The 2nd USS Alaska (ID-3035) was a steam trawler chartered to serve as a minesweeper during World War I. The 3rd USS Alaska (CB-1) was the lead ship of her class of fast cruiser and saw action in the last days of World War II. The 4th USS Alaska (SSBN-732) is an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine.

V IS FOR VEGETATION, VILLAGES, & VOLCANOES W IS FOR WATERFALLS, WEATHER, & WILDLIFE
    Picture of Waterfall The abundant precipitation in Alaska and rugged terrain produce a variety of WATERFALLS. The Beaver Falls is the longest waterfall in the state.

    Picture of Snow The Alaska Climate Research Center provides information about the WEATHER in Alaska. The state has several climate zones. The highest recorded temperature is 100 degrees and the lowest -78 degrees. The highest recorded snowfall in 24 hours is 62 inches. In one year Thompson had 974 inches of snow. Monthly average temperatures range from a high of 70 degrees to a low of -21 degrees. permafrost lies within the Arctic Circle from a few feet deep to 2,000 feet deep and is defined solely by temperature.The possibility of an Arctic Ozone Hole seems inevitable. Plant fossils provide evidence of how Alaska vegetation has responded to climate changes over millions of years. The Alaska State Climate Center and NOAA provide information about the weather. Alaska is effected by Global Warming more than any other state.

    Picture of Moose Alaska has a wide variety of WILDLIFE including the largest bear species in the world - the Kodiak Brown Bear . Reindeer were brought to Alaska from Russia in the 1800s. The state has many wildlife refuges. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the largest wildlife refuge in the country. The Land Mammal of Alaska is the moose. Several species of animals are considered endangered. The government provides recreational and educational opportunities .

X IS FOR XMAS
    Picture of Christmas Bell XMAS is the abbreviation of Christmas and is celebrated in Alaska the same as it is in the rest of the United States. Kodiak has a Christmas fleet parade of vessels. The National Christmas Tree Association has information about christmas trees and activities for kids. The Russian Christmas is celebrated in early January. The town of North Pole is the northernmost Santa-themed tourist attraction in the country, and its theme is "Where the Spirit of Christmas Lives Year Round". The largest Santa Claus in the world is located here.
Y IS FOR YMCA & YOUTH HOSTELS Z IS FOR ZIP CODES, ZONES, & ZOO
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THANK YOU to the people in Alaska who provided information and links used in this webpage.

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