Transportation

Transportation

Snowmobile

Alaska’s mountain ranges, glaciers, and vast wilderness create natural barriers to transportation. For most Alaskans, flying is a necessary part of life. Alaska has about six times as many pilots and 14 times as many aircraft per capita as the rest of the U.S. Lake Hood in Anchorage is the world’s largest and busiest seaplane base. In 1996, one out of every 58 Alaskans was a registered pilot.

In Northern and Interior Alaska, snowmobiles are often used during the winter and have largely replaced the traditional dogsled. Off-road ground transportation is much easier in this region during the winter when the wet, pond-covered tundra is frozen and snowy. Alaska Natives from this area traditionally preferred to travel during the winter and spring months before the land, rivers, and ponds began to thaw. "All terrain vehicles" are also important in many rural communities where there are few roads and the terrain is difficult.

For coastal residents, the Alaska Marine Highway is very important. This ferry system, which carries passengers and automobiles, connects 28 Alaska towns and stop in British Columbia and Bellingham, Washington.

View images of dog sleds circa 1900 from the National Archives collection.

The Alaska Railroad is another travel alternative. Covering 470 miles, it joins Seward, Anchorage, Fairbanks, and points in-between. The Whitepass Railroad connects Skagway with the Yukon.

Although Alaska offers many unusual ways to travel, most residents own vehicles. There are 82 vehicles for every 100 people in Alaska while the U.S. as a whole has 75 vehicles for every 100; similarly, there are 73.8 drivers in Alaska in every 100 people as opposed to 67 drivers in every 100 in the U.S. as a whole.

Alaska Facts

State Nick Name: "The Last Frontier" - the name Alaska is derived from the Aleut word "Aleyska," meaning "great land."

State Motto: "North to the Future"

State Capital: Juneau, located in the Southeast region of Alaska, has a population of 33,277 (2015 Estimate of Population, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development)

Alaska Map:

Map of Alaska

Alaska Flag:

Alaska state flag is dark blue with yellow stars in the shape of the big dipper with the North star

NOTE: The State of Alaska is not responsible for the content/information on any site outside of a State of Alaska department.