panorama of Southwest Alaska ranges from the gentle grasslands
of the Aleutian Islands to the surreal volcanic landscape
of Katmai National Park. In McNeil River State Game Sanctuary
up to 2,500 brown bears congregate in the summer to feed on
salmon. The Pribilof Islands offer unsurpassed sea bird and
fur seal viewing. Fly-in fishing lodges dot the wilderness.
The principal ports are Kodiak,
Dillingham, Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, and King Salmon. The Yupik
Eskimo community of Bethel is a major port serving as a commercial
hub for villages of the Yukon and Kuskokwim river deltas.
The Native people, known for
their excellent basketry, are both Yupik Eskimo and Aleut.
The waters are teeming with abundant marine life, and 230
species of birds frequent the Aleutian chain, the longest
archipelago of small islands in the world. The area is accessible
only by air and water.
Above the Yukon River, beyond
the vast Brooks Range, the summer tundra unrolls a carpet
of delicate wildflowers to meet the Arctic coast. This is
the home of the Inupiat Eskimos, the land of Northern Lights
and the Midnight Sun.
Traditional Eskimo life-style,
modern oil field technology, and immense herds of wild caribou
coexist in an environment that is both fierce and fragile.
Migratory birds and marine mammals abound, and some of Americas
finest wilderness parklands are found in this area. Gates
of the Arctic National Park & Preserve, with adjacent
Noatak National Preserve and Kobuk Valley National Park, comprises
one of the worlds largest parkland areas. The 180,000
member Porcupine Caribou Herd migrates through the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge.
Alaskas two largest Eskimo
communities, Kotzebue and Barrow, and historic Nome, are the
major towns in this region. The only road access into Arctic
Alaska is the Dalton Highway, a gravel service road that links
Prudhoe Bay to the States public highway systems.
The Yukon River courses nearly
2,000 miles across Interior Alaska and Canada, from the historic
Klondike to the Bering Sea. The Native people of this land
are largely Athabascan Indians, known for their intricate
At the heart of the region is
Fairbanks, Alaskas second largest city. Born in the
gold rush, this trade and transportation center houses military
bases, and the main campus of the University of Alaska.
Mt. McKinley, the highest mountain
in North America, is surrounded by Denali National Park and
Preserve. As part of the extended Alaska Range, this area
boasts spectacular mountain vistas, berry-laden tundra, and
an abundance of wildlife including caribou, moose, Dall sheep,
and grizzly bear. The Interior is one of the best locations
on earth for viewing the Northern Lights.
Visitors traveling the Alaska
Highway enter the state near Tok in the eastern portion of
Southcentral is Alaskas
most easily accessible region. More than half of Alaskas
residents live here, a recreational paradise of glaciers,
fjords, roadside lakes, clamming beaches, and salmon streams.
Here, fall puts on a spectacular show.
The area encompasses farmlands,
fishing towns, national parklands, ski resorts, and a modern
city. It is served by all the states major highways,
the Alaska Railroad, and the Alaska Marine Highway (ferry)
Anchorage is the hub of a busy
transportation network linking large areas of the state. Kenai
Peninsula, a scenic and fly-fishing paradise, and Kenai Fjords
National Park lie southwest. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park,
to the west, contains nine of the 16 highest peaks in the
Carved by glaciers
and blanketed with majestic hemlock and spruce, Alaskas
Inside Passage is a region of pristine water, snow capped
mountains, deep fjords, and forested islands. With its wet,
mild, maritime climate, this area is prime habitat for bald
eagles, sea lions, porpoise, and whales.
Much of Southeast Alaska is
part of the Tongass National Forest, a 16.8 million acre rainforest.
Glacier Bay National Park has 16 active tidewater glaciers.
Misty Fjords National Monument near Ketchikan has 3,000 foot
cliffs rising directly from pristine ocean channels.
The picturesque coastal communities
are rich in history and Native traditions. The capital city
of Juneau was founded during the Gold Rush, while Sitka was
originally the capital of Russian America. Petersburg is rich
in Norwegian heritage. The Gold Rush "Days of 98"
are alive in Skagway. Ketchikan boasts the worlds largest
collection of totem poles. In Haines, a Native cultural center
is housed in historic Port Chilkoot.