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Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, withCanada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait. HP 586006-321 Battery

Approximately half of Alaska's 710,231 residents (as per the 2010 United States Census) live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. Alaska is the least densely populated state of the U.S. HP 586006-361 Battery

Alaska was purchased from the Russian Empire on March 30, 1867, for $7.2 million ($113 million in today's dollars) at about two cents per acre ($4.74/km²). The land went through several administrative changes before becoming an organized (or incorporated) territory on May 11, 1912, and the 49th state of the U.S. on January 3, 1959.HP 586028-341 Battery

The name "Alaska" (??????) was already introduced in the Russian colonial period, when it was used only for the peninsula and is derived from theAleut alaxsxaq, meaning "the mainland" or more literally, "the object towards which the action of the sea is directed".HP h588178-141 Battery

It is also known as Alyeska, the "great land", an Aleut word derived from the same root.

Geography

Alaska has a longer coastline than all the other U.S. states combined. It is the only non-contiguous U.S. state on continental North America; about 500 miles (800 km) of British Columbia (Canada) separate Alaska from Washington state.HP 593553-001 Battery

Alaska is thus an exclave of the United States. It is technically part of the continental U.S., but is often not included in colloquial use; Alaska is not part of the contiguous U.S., often called "the Lower 48. The capital city,Juneau, is situated on the mainland of the North American continent, but is not connected by road to the rest of the North American highway system.HP 593554-001 Battery

The state is bordered by the Yukon Territory and British Columbia in Canada, to the east, the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean to the south, the Bering Sea, Bering Strait, and Chukchi Sea to the west and the Arctic Ocean to the north. Alaska's territorial waters touch Russia's territorial waters in the Bering Strait,HP HSTNN-CB0W Battery

as the Russian Big Diomede Island and Alaskan Little Diomede Island are only 3 miles (4.8 km) apart. With the extension of the Aleutian Islands into the eastern hemisphere, it is technically both the westernmost and easternmost state in the United States, as well as also being the northernmost.HP HSTNN-CB0X Battery

Alaska is the largest state in the United States in land area at 586,412 square miles (1,518,800 km2), over twice the size of Texas, the next largest state. Alaska is larger than all but 18 sovereign countries. Counting territorial waters, Alaska is larger than the combined area of the next three largest states:HP HSTNN-I79C Battery

Texas, California, and Montana. It is also larger than the combined area of the 22 smallest U.S. states.

The regions

There are no officially defined borders demarcating the various regions of Alaska, but there are six generally accepted regions:HP HSTNN-I81C Battery

South Central

The most populous region of Alaska, containing Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley and the Kenai Peninsula. Rural, mostly unpopulated areas south of the Alaska Range and west of the Wrangell Mountains also fall within the definition of Southcentral, as well as the Prince William Sound area and the communities of Cordova and Valdez.HP HSTNN-IB0N Battery

Southeast or Panhandle

This is the region of Alaska closest to the rest of the United States, and hence, was where most of the initial non-Native settlement of Alaska occurred following the Alaska Purchase. It contains the state capital, Juneau, the former capital, Sitka, and the large town of Ketchikan. HP HSTNN-IB0X Battery

The road systems leading from these communities are strictly local; no roads connect these communities to each other or any other communities apart from their own suburbs. The region is dominated by the Alexander Archipelago as well as the Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest in the United States.HP HSTNN-LB0W Battery

Interior

The largest region of Alaska, much of it uninhabited wilderness. Fairbanks is the only community of any significant size. Small towns and Native villages are scattered throughout, mostly along the highway and river systems. Denali National Park and Preserve is located here, HP HSTNN-OB0X Battery

home to Mount McKinley (also widely known by its local name of Denali), the highest point in North America.

Southwest

A sparsely inhabited region stretching some 500 miles (800 km) inland from the Bering Sea. Most of the population lives along the coast. Kodiak Island is also located in Southwest.HP HSTNN-OB0Y Battery

The massive Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta, one of the largest river deltas in the world, is here. Portions of the Alaska Peninsula are considered part of Southwest, with the remaining portions included with the Aleutian Islands (see below).

North Slope

The North Slope is mostly tundra peppered with small villages. HP HSTNN-Q61C Battery

The area is known for its massive reserves of crude oil, and contains both the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska and the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field. Barrow, the northernmost city in the United States, is located here. The Northwest Arctic area, anchored byKotzebue and also containing the Kobuk River valley, is often regarded as being part of this region. HP HSTNN-Q62C Battery

However, the respective Inupiat of the North Slope and of the Northwest Arctic seldom think of themselves as one.

Aleutian Islands

More than 300 small, volcanic islands make up this chain, which stretches over 1,200 miles (1,900 km) into the Pacific Ocean.HP HSTNN-YB0X Battery

The International Date Line was drawn west of 180° to keep the whole state, and thus the entire North American continent, within the same legal day. However, because some of these islands fall in the Eastern Hemisphere, this makes Alaska the northernmost, easternmost and westernmost state in the union, with the southernmost state being Hawaii.HP NBP6A174B1 Battery

Two of the islands were occupied by the Japanese during World War II.

Natural features

With its myriad islands, Alaska has nearly 34,000 miles (54,720 km) of tidal shoreline. The Aleutian Islands chain extends west from the southern tip of the Alaska Peninsula. Many active volcanoes are found in the Aleutians and in coastal regions.HP HSTNN-YB0X Battery

Unimak Island, for example, is home to Mount Shishaldin, which is an occasionally smoldering volcano that rises to 10,000 feet (3,000 m) above the North Pacific. It is the most perfect volcanic cone on Earth, even more symmetrical than Japan's Mount Fuji. The chain of volcanoes extends to Mount Spurr, west of Anchorage on the mainland. HP NBP6A174 Battery

Geologists have identified Alaska as part ofWrangellia, a large region consisting of multiple states and Canadian provinces in the Pacific Northwest which is actively undergoing continent building.HP NBP6A174B1 Battery

One of the world's largest tides occurs in Turnagain Arm, just south of Anchorage – tidal differences can be more than 35 feet (10.7 m). (Many sources say Turnagain has the second-greatest tides in North America, but several areas in Canada have larger tides.)HP NBP6A175 Battery

Alaska has more than three million lakes. Marshlands and wetland permafrost cover 188,320 square miles (487,747 km2) (mostly in northern, western and southwest flatlands). Glacier ice covers some 16,000 square miles (41,440 km2) of land and 1,200 square miles (3,110 km2) of tidal zone. HP NBP6A175B1 Battery

The Bering Glacier complex near the southeastern border with Yukon covers 2,250 square miles (5,827 km2) alone. With over 100,000, Alaska has half of the world's glaciers.

Land ownership

According to an October 1998 report by the United States Bureau of Land Management,HP WD548AA Battery

approximately 65% of Alaska is owned and managed by the U.S. federal government as public lands, including a multitude of national forests, national parks, and national wildlife refuges. Of these, the Bureau of Land Management manages 87 million acres (350,000 km²), or 23.8% of the state.HP WD549AA Battery

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. It is the world's largest wildlife refuge, comprising 16 million acres (65,000 km2).

Of the remaining land area, the state of Alaska owns 101 million acres (410,000 km2); its entitlement under the Alaska Statehood Act.HP Envy 17 Notebook PC Battery

A portion of that acreage is occasionally ceded to organized boroughs, under the statutory provisions pertaining to newly-formed boroughs. Smaller portions are set aside for rural subdivisions and other homesteading-related opportunities, though these are infrequently popular due to the often remote and roadless locations.HP Envy 17T Battery

The University of Alaska, as a land grant university, also owns substantial acreage which it manages independently.

Another 44 million acres (180,000 km2) are owned by 12 regional, and scores of local, Native corporations created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. HP HSTNN-Q61C Battery

Regional Native corporation Doyon, Limited often promotes itself as the largest private landowner in Alaska in advertisements and other communications. Provisions of ANCSA allowing the corporations' land holdings to be sold on the open market starting in 1991 were repealed before they could take effect.HP GSTNN-Q62C Battery

Effectively, the corporations hold title (including subsurface title in many cases, a privilege denied to individual Alaskans) but cannot sell the land. Individual Native allotments can be and are sold on the open market, however.

Various private interests own the remaining land, totaling about one percent of the state. HP HSTNN-IB1E Battery

Alaska is, by a large margin, the state with the smallest percentage of private land ownership when Native corporation holdings are excluded.

Climate

The climate in Juneau and the southeast panhandle is a mid-latitude oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) in the southern sections and a subarctic oceanic climate (Köppen Cfc) in the northern parts. HP HSTNN-IB0X Battery

On an annual basis, the panhandle is both the wettest and warmest part of Alaska with milder temperatures in the winter and high precipitation throughout the year. Juneau averages over 50 inches (1,270 mm) of precipitation a year, while other areas receive over 275 inches (6,990 mm).HP HSTNN-OB0X Battery

This is also the only region in Alaska in which the average daytime high temperature is above freezing during the winter months.

The climate of Anchorage and south central Alaska is mild by Alaskan standards due to the region's proximity to the seacoast. HP HSTNN-YB0X Battery

While the area gets less rain than southeast Alaska, it gets more snow, and days tend to be clearer. On average, Anchorage receives 16 inches (406 mm) of precipitation a year, with around 75 inches (1,905 mm) of snow, although there are areas in the south central which receive far more snow. It is a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc) due to its brief, cool summers.HP 586006-361 Battery

The climate of Western Alaska is determined in large part by the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska. It is a subarctic oceanic climate in the southwest and a continental subarctic climate farther north. The temperature is somewhat moderate considering how far north the area is. HP NBP6A174 Battery

This region has a tremendous amount of variety in precipitation. An area stretching from the northern side of the Seward Peninsula to the Kobuk River valley is technically a desert, with portions receiving less than 10 inches (250 mm) of precipitation annually. On the other extreme, some locations between Dillingham and Bethel average around 100 inches (2,540 mm) of precipitation.HP NBP6A174B1 Battery

The climate of the interior of Alaska is subarctic. Some of the highest and lowest temperatures in Alaska occur around the area near Fairbanks. The summers may have temperatures reaching into the 90s°F (the low to mid 30s °C), while in the winter, the temperature can fall below ?60 °F (?52 °C). HP 588178-141 Battery

Precipitation is sparse in the Interior, often less than 10 inches (250 mm) a year, but what precipitation falls in the winter tends to stay the entire winter.

The highest and lowest recorded temperatures in Alaska are both in the Interior. HP Pavilion dv5 Adapter

The highest is 100 °F (38 °C) in Fort Yukon (which is just 8 miles (13 km) inside the arctic circle) on June 27, 1915, making Alaska tied with Hawaii as the state with the lowest high temperature in the United States. The lowest official Alaska temperature is ?80 °F (?62 °C) in Prospect Creek on January 23, 1971,Sony NP-F330 Battery

one degree above the lowest temperature recorded in continental North America (in Snag, Yukon, Canada).

The climate in the extreme north of Alaska is Arctic (Köppen ET) with long, very cold winters and short, cool summers. Even in July, the average low temperature in Barrow is 34 °F (1 °C).Asus Eee PC 904HA Adapter

Precipitation is light in this part of Alaska, with many places averaging less than 10 inches (250 mm) per year, mostly as snow which stays on the ground almost the entire year.

Alaska natives

Numerous indigenous peoples occupied Alaska for thousands of years before the arrival of European peoples to the area.Nikon D80  Battery

The Tlingit people developed a matriarchal society in what is today Southeast Alaska, along with parts of British Columbia and the Yukon. Also in Southeast were the Haida, now well known for their unique arts, and the Tsimshian people, whose population were decimated by a smallpox epidemic in the 1860s. Sony PCGA-AC19V9 Adapter

The Aleutian Islands are still home to the Aleut people's seafaring society, although they were among the first to be exploited by the Russians. Western and Southwestern Alaska are home to the Yup'ik, while their cousins the Alutiiq lived in what is now Southcentral Alaska. Dell T555C Battery

The Gwich’in people of the northern Interior region are primarily known today for their dependence on the caribou within the much-contested Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The North Slope and Little Diomede Island are occupied by the widespread Inuit people.HP Pavilion DV6-3013SL Battery

Colonization

The first European contact with Alaska occurred in 1741, when Vitus Bering led an expedition for the Russian Navy aboard the St. Peter. After his crew returned to Russia with sea otter pelts judged to be the finest fur in the world, small associations of fur traders began to sail from the shores of Siberia towards the Aleutian islands. HP Pavilion DV7-2085EL Battery

The first permanent European settlement was founded in 1784. Between 1774 and 1800 Spain sent several expeditions to Alaska in order to assert its claim over the Pacific Northwest. In 1789 a Spanish settlement and fort were built in Nootka Sound. These expeditions gave names to places such as Valdez, Bucareli Sound, and Cordova.HP Pavilion DV9700 Battery

Later, the Russian-American Companycarried out an expanded colonization program during the early-to-mid-19th century.

Sitka, renamed New Archangel from 1804 to 1867, on Baranof Island in the Alexander Archipelago in what is now Southeast Alaska, became the capital of Russian America and remained the capital after the colony was transferred to the United States. HP Mini 702EA Battery

The Russians never fully colonized Alaska, and the colony was never very profitable.

William H. Seward, the United States Secretary of State, negotiated the Alaska Purchase (also known as Seward's Folly) with the Russians in 1867 for $7.2 million.HP Pavilion DV7-1120EO Battery

Alaska was loosely governed by the military initially, and was administered as a district starting in 1884, with a governor appointed by the president of the United States, as well as a district court headquartered in Sitka.

For most of Alaska's first decade under the American flag, Sitka was the only community inhabited by American settlers. HP Compaq 491278-001 Battery

They organized a "provisional city government," which was Alaska's first city government, but not in a legal sense. Legislation allowing Alaskan communities to legally incorporate as cities did not come about until 1900, and home rule for cities was extremely limited or unavailable until statehood took effect.HP Pavilion DV6-1030US Battery

U.S. Territory

Starting in the 1890s and stretching in some places to the early 1910s, gold rushes in Alaska and the nearby Yukon Territory brought thousands of miners and settlers to Alaska. Alaska was officially incorporated as an organized territory in 1912.HP Compaq 490306-001 Battery

Alaska's capital, which had been in Sitka until the 1900 legislation mandated its transfer to Juneau (the actual move took place in 1906, after initial questions arose), begun to take shape with the construction of the Alaska Governor's Mansion that same year.HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM Battery

During World War II, the Aleutian Islands Campaign focused on the three outer Aleutian Islands – Attu, Agattu and Kiska – that were invaded by Japanese troops and occupied between June 1942 and August 1943. Unalaska/Dutch Harbor became a significant base for the U.S. Army Air Corps and Navy submariners.HP EliteBook 2530P Battery

The U.S. Lend-Lease program involved the flying of American warplanes through Canada to Fairbanks and thence Nome; Soviet pilots took possession of these aircraft, ferrying them to fight the German invasion of the Soviet Union. The construction of military bases contributed to the population growth of some Alaskan cities.HP Pavilion DV4385EA Battery

Statehood

Statehood for Alaska was an important cause of James Wickersham early in his tenure as a congressional delegate. Decades later, the statehood movement gained its first real momentum following a territorial referendum in 1946. Compaq PP2100 Battery

The Alaska Statehood Committee and Alaska's Constitutional Convention would soon follow. Statehood supporters also found themselves fighting major battles against political foes, mostly in the U.S. Congress but also within Alaska. Statehood was approved by Congress on July 7, 1958. Alaska was officially proclaimed a state on January 3, 1959.HP Compaq KU532AA Battery

On April 27, 1964, the massive "Good Friday Earthquake" killed 133 people and destroyed several villages and portions of large coastal communities, mainly by the resultant tsunamis and landslides. It was the third most powerful earthquake in the recorded history of the world, with a moment magnitude of 9.2. HP Pavilion DV6-1270EQ Battery

It was over one thousand times more powerful than the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. The time of day (5:36 pm), time of year and location of the epicenter were all cited as factors in potentially sparing thousands of lives, particularly in Anchorage.

The 1968 discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay and the 1977 completion of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline led to an oil boom.HP Pavilion DV4385EA Battery

Royalty revenues from oil have funded large state budgets from 1980 onward. That same year, not coincidentally, Alaska repealed its state income tax. In 1989, the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in the Prince William Sound, spilling over 11,000,000 US gallons (42,000 m3) of crude oil over 1,100 miles (1,600 km) of coastline. HP Compaq Business  NC4400 Battery

Today, the battle between philosophies of development and conservation is seen in the contentious debate over oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Demographics

The United States Census Bureau, as of July 1, 2008, estimated Alaska's population at 686,293,  which represents an increase of 59,361, or 9.5%, since the last census in 2000.HP Pavilion ZD8227 Battery

This includes a natural increase since the last census of 60,994 people (that is 86,062 births minus 25,068 deaths) and a decrease due to net migration of 5,469 people out of the state. Immigration from outside the U.S. resulted in a net increase of 4,418 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 9,887 people. Nikon D200 Battery

In 2000 Alaska ranked the 48th state by population, ahead of Vermont and Wyoming (and Washington D.C.). Alaska is the least densely populated state, and one of the most sparsely populated areas in the world, at 1.0 person per square mile (0.42/km²), with the next state, Wyoming, at 5.1 per square mile (1.97/km²). Acer PA-1650-02 Adapter

Alaska is the largest U.S. state by area, and the sixth wealthiest (per capita income). As of January 2010, the state's unemployment rate is 8.5%.

Race and ancestry

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Alaska had a population of 710,231. Sony CYBER-SHOT DSC-T10  Battery

In terms of race and ethnicity, the state was 66.7% White (64.7% Non-Hispanic White Alone), 3.3% Black or African American, 14.8% American Indian and Alaska Native, 5.4% Asian, 1.0% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 1.6% from Some Other Race, and 7.3% from Two or More Races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race made up 5.5% of the population. HP Compaq Business 6715b Battery

Languages

According to the 2005–2007 American Community Survey, 84.7% of people over the age of five speak only English at home. About 3.5% speak Spanish at home. About 2.2% speak another Indo-European language at home and about 4.3% speak an Asian language at home. And about 5.3% speak other languages at home.Kodak KLIC-7004 Battery

A total of 5.2% of Alaskans speak one of the state's 22 indigenous languages, known locally as "native languages". These languages belong to two major language families: Eskimo-Aleut and Na-Dene. As the homeland of these two major language families of North America,Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

Alaska has been described as the crossroads of the continent, providing evidence for the recent settlement of North America by way of the Bering land bridge.

Religion

Alaska has been identified, along with Pacific Northwest states Washington and Oregon, as being the least religious in the U.S.Canon Digital IXUS 90 IS Battery

According to statistics collected by the Association of Religion Data Archives, about 39% of Alaska residents were members of religious congregations. Evangelical Protestants had 78,070 members, Roman Catholics had 54,359, and mainline Protestants had 37,156.HP 2133 Mini-Note PC Adapter

After Catholicism, the largest single denominations are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 30,169, and Southern Baptists with 22,959. The large Eastern Orthodox (with 49 parishes and up to 50,000 followers)  population is a result of early Russian colonization and missionary work among Alaska Natives.Toshiba PA3536U-1BRS Battery

In 1795, the First Russian Orthodox Church was established in Kodiak. Intermarriage with Alaskan Natives helped the Russian immigrants integrate into society. As a result, an increasing number of Russian Orthodox churches  gradually became established within Alaska. Alaska also has the largest Quakerpopulation (by percentage) of any state.HP Compaq Business NX6110 Battery

In 2009 there were 6,000 Jews in Alaska (for whom observance of the mitzvah may pose special problems). Estimates for the number of Alaskan Muslims range from 2,000 to 5,000. In 2010, the local Muslim community broke ground on the first mosque in the state.HP Pavilion DV9000 Adapter

Alaskan Hindus often share venues and celebrations with members of other religious communities including Sikhs and Jains.

Economy

The 2007 gross state product was $44.9 billion, 45th in the nation. Dell Studio 1537 Battery

Its per capita personal income for 2007 was $40,042, ranking 15th in the nation. The oil and gas industry dominates the Alaskan economy, with more than 80% of the state's revenues derived from petroleum extraction. Alaska's main export product (excluding oil and natural gas) is seafood, primarily salmon, cod, Pollock and crab.HP PPP009H Adapter

Agriculture represents only a fraction of the Alaskan economy. Agricultural production is primarily for consumption within the state and includes nursery stock, dairy products, vegetables, and livestock. Manufacturing is limited, with most foodstuffs and general goods imported from elsewhere.Sony VGP-BPS8 Battery

Employment is primarily in government and industries such as natural resource extraction, shipping, and transportation. Military bases are a significant component of the economy in both Fairbanks and Anchorage. Federal subsidies are also an important part of the economy, allowing the state to keep taxes low. Dell PA-12 Adapter

Its industrial outputs are crude petroleum, natural gas, coal, gold, precious metals, zinc and other mining, seafood processing, timber and wood products. There is also a growing service and tourism sector. Tourists have contributed to the economy by supporting local lodging.Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T7/B  Battery

Energy

Alaska has vast energy resources. Major oil and gas reserves are found in the Alaska North Slope (ANS) and Cook Inlet basins. According to the Energy Information Administration, Alaska ranks second in the nation in crude oil production. Dell LATITUDE M65 Battery

Prudhoe Bay on Alaska's North Slope is the highest yielding oil field in the United States and on North America, typically producing about 400,000 barrels per day (64,000 m3/d).

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline can transport and pump up to 2.1 million barrels (330,000 m3) of crude oil per day, more than any other crude oil pipeline in the United States. HP Compaq 6720s Adapter

Additionally, substantial coal deposits are found in Alaska's bituminous, sub-bituminous, and lignite coal basins. The United States Geological Survey estimates that there are 85.4 trillion cubic feet (2,420 km3) of undiscovered, technically recoverable gas from natural gas hydrates on the Alaskan North Slope.Acer AS07B41 Battery

Alaska also offers some of the highest hydroelectric power potential in the country from its numerous rivers. Large swaths of the Alaskan coastline offer wind and geothermal energy potential as well.

Alaska's economy depends heavily on increasingly expensive diesel fuel for heating, transportation, electric power and light.Dell Vostro 1310 Battery

Though wind and hydroelectric power are abundant and underdeveloped, proposals for state-wide energy systems (e.g. with special low-cost electric interties) were judged uneconomical (at the time of the report, 2001) due to low (<$0.50/Gal) fuel prices, long distances and low population.Sony VGP-BPL13 Battery

The cost of a US gallon of gas in urban Alaska today is usually $0.30–$0.60 higher than the national average; prices in rural areas are generally significantly higher but vary widely depending on transportation costs, seasonal usage peaks, nearby petroleum development infrastructure and many other factors.Sony VGP-BPS13 Battery

Alaska accounts for one-fifth (20 percent) of domestically produced United States oil production. Prudhoe Bay (North America's largest oil field) alone accounts for 8% of the U.S. domestic oil production.Sony VGP-BPS13/B Battery

Permanent Fund

The Alaska Permanent Fund is a constitutionally authorized appropriation of oil revenues, established by voters in 1976 to manage a surplus in state petroleum revenues from oil, largely in anticipation of same from the recently constructed Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. Sony VGP-BPS13/S Battery

The fund was originally proposed by Governor Keith Miller on the eve of the 1969 Prudhoe Bay lease sale, out of fear that the legislature would spend the entire proceeds of the sale (which amounted to $900 million (US)) at once, and was later championed by Governor Jay Hammond and Kenaistate representative Hugh Malone.Sony VGP-BPS13A/B Battery

It has served as an attractive political prospect ever since, diverting revenues which would normally be deposited into the general fund.

The Alaska Constitution was written so as to discourage dedicating state funds for a particular purpose. Sony VGP-BPS13A/S Battery

The Permanent Fund has become the rare exception to this, mostly due to the political climate of distrust existing during the time of its creation. From its initial principal of $734,000, the fund has grown to $40 billion as a result of oil royalties and capital investment programs.Sony VGP-BPS13AS Battery

Most if not all the principal is invested conservatively outside Alaska. This has led to frequent calls by Alaskan politicians for the Fund to make investments within Alaska, though such a stance has never really gained momentum.

Starting in 1982, dividends from the fund's annual growth have been paid out each year to eligible Alaskans,Sony VGP-BPS13B/B Battery

ranging from an initial $1,000.00 in 1982 (equal to three years' payout, as the distribution of payments was held up in a lawsuit over the distribution scheme) to $3,269.00 in 2008 (which included a one-time $1,200.00 "Resource Rebate"). Every year, the state legislature takes out 8 percent from the earnings,Sony VGP-BPS13B/Q Battery

puts 3 percent back into the principal for inflation proofing, and the remaining 5 percent is distributed to all qualifying Alaskans. To qualify for the Permanent Fund Dividend, one must have lived in the state for a minimum of 12 months, maintain constant residency subject to allowable absences, Sony VGP-BPS13B/S Battery

and not be subject to court judgments or criminal convictions which fall under various disqualifying classifications or may subject the payment amount to civil garnishment.

Cost of living

The cost of goods in Alaska has long been higher than in the contiguous 48 states. Sony VGP-BPS13Q Battery

This has changed for the most part in Anchorage and to a lesser extent in Fairbanks, where the cost of living has dropped somewhat in the past five years. Federal government employees, particularlyUnited States Postal Service (USPS) workers and active-duty military members, Sony VGP-BPS13S Battery

receive a Cost of Living Allowance usually set at 25% of base pay because, while the cost of living has gone down, it is still one of the highest in the country.

The introduction of big-box stores in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau also did much to lower prices. Wal-Mart opened their first Anchorage store in 1993, and debuted in Fairbanks in 2004. Sony VGP-BPL21 Battery

The company currently has locations covering most of the population centers of Alaska, including Juneau, Ketchikan and Kodiak. However, rural Alaska suffers from extremely high prices for food and consumer goods, compared to the rest of the country due to the relatively limited transportation infrastructure. Sony VGP-BPS21 Battery

Many rural residents come into these cities and purchase food and goods in bulk from warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam's Club. Some have embraced the free shipping offers of some online retailers to purchase items much more cheaply than they could in their own communities, if they are available at all.Sony VGP-BPS21/S Battery

Agriculture

Due to the northern climate and steep terrain, relatively little farming occurs in Alaska. Most farms are in either the Matanuska Valley, about 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Anchorage, or on the Kenai Peninsula, about 60 miles (97 km) southwest of Anchorage.Sony VGP-BPS21A Battery

The short 100-day growing season limits the crops that can be grown, but the long sunny summer days make for productive growing seasons. The primary crops are potatoes, carrots, lettuce, and cabbage. The Delta Junction area, about 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Fairbanks, also has a sizable concentration of farms, which mostly lie north and east of Fort Greely. Sony VGP-BPS21A/B Battery

This area was largely set aside and developed under a state program spearheaded by Hammond during his second term as governor. Delta-area crops consist predominately of barley and hay.

Alaska, with no counties, also lacks county fairs. However, a small assortment of state and local fairs (with the Alaska State Fair in Palmer the largest), are held mostly in the late summer. Sony VGP-BPS21B Battery

The fairs are mostly located in communities with historic or current agricultural activity, and feature local farmers exhibiting produce in addition to more high-profile commercial activities such as carnival rides, concerts and food. "Alaska Grown" is used as an agricultural slogan.Sony VGP-BPL8 Battery

Alaska has an abundance of seafood, with the primary fisheries in the Bering Sea and the North Pacific, and seafood is one of the few food items that is often cheaper within the state than outside it. Many Alaskans take advantage of salmon seasons to harvest portions of their household diet while fishing for subsistence, as well as sport. This includes fish taken by hook, net or wheel.Sony VGP-BPL8A Battery

Hunting for subsistence, primarily caribou, moose, and Dall sheep is still common in the state, particularly in remote Bush communities. An example of a traditional native food is Akutaq, the Eskimo ice cream, which can consist of reindeer fat, seal oil, dried fish meat and local berries.Sony VGP-BPL8B Battery

Alaska's reindeer herding is concentrated on Seward Peninsula where wild caribou can be prevented from mingling and migrating with the domesticated reindeer.

Most food in Alaska is transported into the state from "Outside", and shipping costs make food in the cities relatively expensive. Sony VGP-BPS8 Battery

In rural areas, subsistence hunting and gathering is an essential activity because imported food is prohibitively expensive. The cost of importing food to villages begins at 7¢ per pound (15¢/kg) and rises rapidly to 50¢ per pound ($1.10/kg) or more. The cost of delivering a 1 US gallon (3.8 L) of milk is about $3.50 in many villages where per capita income can be $20,000 or less. Sony VGP-BPS8A Battery

Fuel cost can exceed $8.00 per gallon.

Roads

Alaska has few road connections compared to the rest of the U.S.Sony VGP-BPS8B Battery

The state's road system covers a relatively small area of the state, linking the central population centers and the Alaska Highway, the principal route out of the state through Canada. The state capital, Juneau, is not accessible by road, only a car ferry, which has spurred several debates over the decades about moving the capital to a city on the road system,HP Compaq Business 6910p Battery

or building a road connection fromHaines. The western part of Alaska has no road system connecting the communities with the rest of Alaska.

One unique feature of the Alaska Highway system is the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ4S Battery

an active Alaska Railroad tunnel recently upgraded to provide a paved roadway link with the isolated community of Whittier on Prince William Sound to the Seward Highway about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Anchorage at Portage. At 2.5 miles (4.0 km) the tunnel was the longest road tunnel in North America until 2007.Sony NP-FH100 Battery

The tunnel is the longest combination road and rail tunnel in North America.

Hyder, Alaska, in south Southeast Alaska is linked to Stewart, British Columbia, via 37A Stewart Cassiar Highway/Glacier Highway, which eventually heads north to connect to the ALCAN highway near Watson Lake, Yukon. Toshiba Equium M50-192 Battery

The road between Hyder (population 100) to southeastern Alaskan cities like Ketchikan heads through British Columbia, Yukon, and returns south into Alaska. The 100-air-mile distance between Hyder and Ketchikan is 1,078 miles (1,735 km) by road.Apple MacBook Pro Battery

Rail

Built around 1915, the Alaska Railroad (ARR) played a key role in the development of Alaska through the 20th century. It links north Pacific shipping through providing critical infrastructure with tracks that run from Seward to Interior Alaska by way of South Central Alaska, passing through Anchorage,Apple PowerBook G4 Battery

Eklutna, Wasilla, Talkeetna, Denali, and Fairbanks, with spurs to Whittier, Palmer and North Pole. The cities, towns, villages, and region served by ARR tracks are known statewide as "The Railbelt". In recent years, the ever-improving paved highway system began to eclipse the railroad's importance in Alaska's economy.Acer BATBL50L6 Battery

The railroad, though famed for its summertime tour passenger service, played a vital role in Alaska's development, moving freight into Alaska while transporting natural resources southward (i.e., coal from the Usibelli coal mine near Healy to Seward and gravel from the Matanuska Valley to Anchorage).Canon EOS 450D Battery

The Alaska Railroad was one of the last railroads in North America to use cabooses in regular service and still uses them on some gravel trains. It continues to offer one of the last flag stop routes in the country. A stretch of about 60 miles (100 km) of track along an area north of Talkeetna remains inaccessible by road;Acer Travelmate 2400 Battery

the railroad provides the only transportation to rural homes and cabins in the area; until construction of the Parks Highway in the 1970s, the railroad provided the only land access to most of the region along its entire route.Dell Inspiron 1525 Adapter

In northern Southeast Alaska, the White Pass and Yukon Route also partly runs through the State from Skagway northwards into Canada (British Columbia and Yukon Territory), crossing the border at White Pass Summit. This line is now mainly used by tourists, often arriving by cruise liner at Skagway. Compaq Presario 2100 Adapter

It featured in the 1983 BBC television series Great Little Railways.

The Alaska Rail network is not connected to Outside. In 2000, the U.S. Congress authorized $6 million to study the feasibility of a rail link between Alaska, Canada, and the lower 48.

Alaska Rail Marine provides car float service between Whittier and Seattle.Acer Aspire 1362 Battery

Marine transport

Many cities, towns and villages in the state do not have road or highway access; the only modes of access involve travel by air, river, or the sea.

Alaska's well-developed state-owned ferry system (known as the Alaska Marine Highway) serves the cities of southeast, the Gulf Coast and the Alaska Peninsula. Toshiba Equium M50-192 Battery

The ferries transport vehicles as well as passengers. The system also operates a ferry service from Bellingham, Washington and Prince Rupert, British Columbia in Canada through the Inside Passage to Skagway. The Inter-Island Ferry Authority also serves as an important marine .Dell XPS M1330 Battery

link for many communities in the Prince of Wales Island region of Southeast and works in concert with the Alaska Marine Highway.

In recent years, large cruise ships began creating a summertime tourism market, mainly connecting the Pacific Northwest to Southeast Alaska and, to a lesser degree, towns along the no

rth gulf coast.Acer Travelmate 2200 Adapter

Several times each summer, the population of Ketchikan sharply rises for a few hours when two ships dock to debark more than a thousand passengers each while four other ships lie at anchor nearby, waiting their turn at the dock.HP Compaq 6735b Adapter

Air transport

Cities not served by road, sea, or river can be reached only by air, foot, dogsled, or snowmachine accounting for Alaska's extremely well developed bush air services—an Alaskan novelty. Anchorage itself, and to a lesser extent Fairbanks, are served by many major airlines.Dell Vostro 1000 Battery

Because of limited highway access, air travel remains the most efficient form of transportation in and out of the state. Anchorage recently completed extensive remodeling and construction at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport to help accommodate the upsurge in tourism  HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

(in 2000–2001, the latest year for which data is available, 2.4 million total arrivals to Alaska were counted, 1.7 million by air travel; 1.4 million were visitors).

Regular flights to most villages and towns within the state that are commercially viable are challenging to provide, so they are heavily subsidized by the federal government through the Essential Air Service program.Asus f82 Battery

Alaska Airlines is the only major airline offering in-state travel with jet service (sometimes in combination cargo and passenger Boeing 737-400s) from Anchorage and Fairbanks to regional hubs like Bethel, Nome, Kotzebue, Dillingham, Kodiak, and other larger communities as well as to major Southeast and Alaska Peninsula communities.Dell XPS M1330 Battery

The bulk of remaining commercial flight offerings come from small regional commuter airlines such as Era Aviation, PenAir, and Frontier Flying Service. The smallest towns and villages must rely on scheduled or chartered bush flying services using general aviation aircraft such as the Cessna Caravan, the most popular aircraft in use in the state. HP Compaq Business 6910p Battery

Much of this service can be attributed to the Alaska bypass mail program which subsidizes bulk mail delivery to Alaskan rural communities. The program requires 70% of that subsidy to go to carriers who offer passenger service to the communities.Compaq PRESARIO R3000 Battery

Many communities have small air taxi services. These operations originated from the demand for customized transport to remote areas. Perhaps the most quintessentially Alaskan plane is the bush seaplane. The world's busiest seaplane base is Lake Hood, located next to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, HP Compaq Business NX6110 Battery

where flights bound for remote villages without an airstrip carry passengers, cargo, and many items from stores and warehouse clubs. Alaska has the highest number of pilots per capita of any U.S. state: out of the estimated 663,661 residents, 8,550 are pilots, or about one in 78. Dell Latitude D610 Adapter

Other transport

Another Alaskan transportation method is the dogsled. In modern times (that is, any time after the mid-late 1920s), dog mushing is more of a sport than a true means of transportation. Various races are held around the state, but the best known is the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Asus Eee PC 701 Adapter

a 1150-mile (1850 km) trail from Anchorage to Nome (although the distance varies from year to year, the official distance is set at 1,049 miles (1,688 km)). The race commemorates the famous 1925 serum run to Nome in which mushers and dogs like Togo and Balto took much-needed medicine to  HP Compaq Business NX6325 Battery

the diphtheria-stricken community of Nome when all other means of transportation had failed. Mushers from all over the world come to Anchorage each March to compete for cash, prizes, and prestige. The "Serum Run" is another sled dog race that more accurately follows the route of the famous 1925 relay, leaving from the community of Nenana (southwest of Fairbanks) to Nome.Dell Studio XPS 16 Battery

In areas not served by road or rail, primary transportation in summer is by all-terrain vehicle and in winter by snowmobile or "snow machine," as it is commonly referred to in Alaska.

State government

Like all other U.S. states, Alaska is governed as a republic, with three branches of government:Acer Aspire 5520 Battery

an executive branch consisting of the Governor of Alaska and the other independently elected constitutional officers; a legislative branch consisting of the Alaska House of Representatives and Alaska Senate; and ajudicial branch consisting of the Alaska Supreme Court and lower courts.Acer TravelMate 5720 Adapter

The state of Alaska employs approximately 15,000 employees statewide.

The Alaska Legislature consists of a 40-member House of Representatives and a 20-member Senate. Senators serve four year terms and House members two. The Governor of Alaska serves four-year terms. HP Compaq 6735s Adapter

The lieutenant governor runs separately from the governor in the primaries, but during the general election, the nominee for governor and nominee for lieutenant governor run together on the same ticket.

Alaska's court system has four levels: the Alaska Supreme Court, the court of appeals, the superior courts and the district courts.Dell XPS M1330 Battery

The superior and district courts are trial courts. Superior courts are courts of general jurisdiction, while district courts only hear certain types of cases, including misdemeanor criminal cases and civil cases valued up to $100,000.[61] The Supreme Court and the Court Of Appeals are appellate courts. HP Compaq nc6230 Adapter

The Court Of Appeals is required to hear appeals from certain lower-court decisions, including those regarding criminal prosecutions, juvenile delinquency, and habeas corpus. The Supreme Court hears civil appeals and may in its discretion hear criminal appeals.Dell T117C Battery

State politics

Although Alaska entered the union as a Democratic state, since the early 1970s Alaska has been characterized as a Republican-leaning state. Local political communities have often worked on issues related to land use development, fishing, tourism, and individual rights. Asus x5dij-sx039c Battery

Alaska Natives, while organized in and around their communities, have been active within the Native corporations. These have been given ownership over large tracts of land, which require stewardship.

Alaska is the only state in which possession of one ounce or less of marijuana in one's home is completely legal under state law, though the federal law remains in force.Dell Inspiron 1464 Battery

The state has an independence movement favoring a vote on secession from the United States, with the Alaskan Independence Party labeled as one of "the most significant state-level third parties operating in the 20th century".

Six Republicans and four Democrats have served as governor of Alaska.HP Compaq 6720s Adapter

In addition, Republican Governor Wally Hickel was elected to the office for a second term in 1990 after leaving the Republican party and briefly joining the Alaskan Independence Party ticket just long enough to be reelected. He subsequently officially rejoined the Republican party in 1994.Dell Latitude D630 Adapter

Taxes

To finance state government operations, Alaska depends primarily on petroleum revenues and federal subsidies. This allows it to have the lowest individual tax burden in the United States, and be one of only five states with no state sales tax, one of seven states that do not levy an individual income tax, and one of two states that has neither.HP Pavilion dm4 Battery

The Department of Revenue Tax Division reports regularly on the state's revenue sources. The Department also issues an annual summary of its operations, including new state laws that directly affect the tax division.

While Alaska has no state sales tax, 89 municipalities collect a local sales tax, from 1–7.5%, typically 3–5%.Sony NP-FS11 Battery

Other local taxes levied include raw fish taxes, hotel, motel, and bed-and-breakfast 'bed' taxes, severance taxes, liquor and tobacco taxes, gaming (pull tabs) taxes, tire taxes and fuel transfer taxes. A part of the revenue collected from certain state taxes and license fees (such as petroleum, aviation motor fuel, telephone cooperative) is shared with municipalities in Alaska.Dell Inspiron 1520 Adapter

Fairbanks has one of the highest property taxes in the state as no sales or income taxes are assessed in the Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB). A sales tax for the FNSB has been voted on many times, but has yet to be approved, leading law makers to increase taxes dramatically on other goods such as liquor and tobacco.Toshiba PA3399U-1BRS Battery

In 2008 the Tax Foundation ranked Alaska as having the 4th most "business friendly" tax policy. More "friendly" states were Wyoming, Nevada, and South Dakota.

Federal politics

In presidential elections, the state's electoral college votes have been won by the Republican nominee in every election since statehood, except for 1964. Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

No state has voted for a Democratic presidential candidate fewer times. Alaska supported Democratic nominee Lyndon B. Johnson in the landslide year of 1964, and the1960 and 1968 elections were close. Since 1972, however, Republicans have carried the state by large margins.Acer Aspire 5920 Battery

In 2008, Republican John McCain defeated Democrat Barack Obama in Alaska, 59.49% to 37.83%. McCain's running mate was Sarah Palin, the state's governor and the first Alaskan on a major party ticket.

The Alaska Bush, central Juneau, midtown and downtown Anchorage, and the area surrounding the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus have been strongholds of the Democratic Party. IBM Thinkpad T40 Adapter

Matanuska-Susitna Borough and South Anchorage typically have the strongest Republican showing. As of 2004, well over half of all registered voters have chosen "Non-Partisan" or "Undeclared" as their affiliation, despite recent attempts to close primaries.Nikon COOLPIX 4300 Battery

Because of its population relative to other U.S. states, Alaska has only one member in the U.S. House of Representatives. This seat is currently being held by Republican Don Young, who was re-elected to his 19th consecutive term in 2008. Apple MB771 Battery

Alaska's At-large congressional district is currently the world's second-largest parliamentary constituency by area, behind only the Canadian territory of Nunavut.

In 2008, Governor Sarah Palin became the first Republican woman to run on a national ticket when she became John McCain's Vice Presidential running mate.Sony DSC-P5 Battery

She continued to be a prominent national figure even after resigning from the governor's job in July 2009.

Alaska's United States Senators belong to Class 2 and Class 3. In 2008, Democrat Mark Begich, mayor of Anchorage, defeated long-time Republican senator Ted Stevens.Dell Inspiron 6400 Adapter

Stevens had been convicted on seven felony counts of failing to report gifts on Senate financial discloser forms one week before the election. The conviction was set aside in April 2009 after evidence of prosecutorial misconduct emerged.

Republican Frank Murkowski held the state's other senatorial position.Toshiba PA3534U-1BRS Battery

After being elected governor in 2002, he resigned from the Senate and appointed his daughter, State Representative Lisa Murkowski as his successor. She won a full six-year term in 2004 and 2010.

Cities, towns and boroughs

Alaska is not divided into counties, as most of the other U.S. states, but it is divided into boroughs.Sony NP-FP50 Battery

Many of the more densely populated parts of the state are part of Alaska's 16 boroughs, which function somewhat similarly to counties in other states. However, unlike county-equivalents in the other 49 states, the boroughs do not cover the entire land area of the state. The area not part of any borough is referred to as the Unorganized Borough.HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

The Unorganized Borough has no government of its own, but the U.S. Census Bureau in cooperation with the state divided the Unorganized Borough into 11census areas solely for the purposes of statistical analysis and presentation. A recording district is a mechanism for administration of the public record in Alaska.Dell Latitude D820 Adapter

The state is divided into 34 recording districts which are centrally administered under a State Recorder. All recording districts use the same acceptance criteria, fee schedule, etc., for accepting documents into the public record.

Whereas many U.S. states use a three-tiered system of decentralization—state/county/township—most of Alaska uses only two tiers—state/borough. Toshiba PA3399U-1BRS Battery

Owing to the low population density, most of the land is located in the Unorganized Borough which, as the name implies, has no intermediate borough government of its own, but is administered directly by the state government. Currently (2000 census) 57.71% of Alaska's area has this status, with 13.05% of the population.Dell Studio XPS 1640 Battery

For statistical purposes the United States Census Bureau divides this territory into census areas. Anchorage merged the city government with the Greater Anchorage Area Borough in 1975 to form the Municipality of Anchorage, containing the city proper and the communities of Eagle River, Dell Latitude D830 Battery

Chugiak, Peters Creek, Girdwood, Bird, and Indian. Fairbanks has a separate borough (the Fairbanks North Star Borough) and municipality (the City of Fairbanks).

The state's most populous city is Anchorage, home to 278,700 people in 2006, 225,744 of whom live in the urbanized area. Dell Inspiron E1505 Adapter

The richest location in Alaska by per capita income is Halibut Cove ($89,895). Yakutat City, Sitka, Juneau, and Anchorage are the four largest cities in the U.S. by area.

Education

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development administers many school districts in Alaska. Asus Eee PC 1201PN Battery

In addition, the state operates a boarding school,Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka; and provides partial funding for other boarding schools including, Nenana Student Living Center in Nenana, and The Galena Interior Learning Academy in Galena.

There are more than a dozen colleges and universities in Alaska.Asus Eee PC 701 Adapter

Accredited universities in Alaska include the University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Alaska Southeast, and Alaska Pacific University.

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development operates Alaska's Institute of Technology. Dell XPS M1330 Battery

Campuses in Seward and Anchorage offer 1 week to 11 month training programs in areas as diverse as Information Technology, Welding, Nursing, and Mechanics.

Alaska has had a problem with a "brain drain". fujifilm np95 Battery

Many of its young people, including most of the highest academic achievers, leave the state after high school graduation and do not return. The University of Alaska has attempted to combat this by offering partial four-year scholarships to the top 10% of Alaska high school graduates, via the Alaska Scholars Program. Asus Eee PC 900 Adapter

Public health and public safety

The Alaska State Troopers are Alaska's statewide police force. They have a long and storied history, but were not an official organization until 1941. Before the force was officially organized, law enforcement in Alaska was handled by various federal agencies.Sony VAIO PCG-713 Battery

Larger towns usually have their own local police and some villages rely on "Public Safety Officers" who have police training but do not carry firearms. In much of the state, the troopers serve as the only police force available. In addition to enforcing traffic and criminal law, wildlife Troopers enforce hunting and fishing regulations.Dell Latitude D830 Adapter

Due to the varied terrain and wide scope of the Troopers' duties, they employ a wide variety of land, air, and water patrol vehicles.

Many rural communities in Alaska are considered "dry," having outlawed the importation of alcoholic beverages . Suicide rates for rural residents are higher than urban.Dell Studio XPS 1640 Battery

Domestic abuse and other violent crimes are also at high levels in the state; this is in part linked to alcohol abuse.

Alaska also has the highest rate of sexual assault in the nation. The average age of sexually assaulted victims is 16 years old. In four out of five cases, the suspects were relatives, friends or acquaintances. Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ4S  Battery

Culture

Some of Alaska's popular annual events are the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race that starts in Anchorage and ends in Nome, World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, the Alaska Hummingbird Festival in Ketchikan, the Sitka Whale Fest, and the Stikine River Garnet Fest in Wrangell. HP Compaq Business NX6320 Battery

The Stikine River features the largest springtime concentration of American Bald Eagles in the world.

The Alaska Native Heritage Center celebrates the rich heritage of Alaska's 11 cultural groups. Their purpose is to enhance self-esteem among Native people and to encourage cross-cultural exchanges among all people. Canon POWERSHOT G2 Battery

The Alaska Native Arts Foundation promotes and markets Native art from all regions and cultures in the State, both on the internet; at its gallery in Anchorage, 500 West Sixth Avenue, and at the Alaska House New York, 109 Mercer Street inSoHo. Dell Latitude E6500 Battery

Music

Influences on music in Alaska include the traditional music of Alaska Natives as well as folk music brought by later immigrants from Russia and Europe. Prominent musicians from Alaska include singer Jewel, traditional Aleut flautist Mary Youngblood, Dell LATITUDE D630 Battery

folk singer-songwriter Libby Roderick, Christian music singer/songwriter Lincoln Brewster, metal/post hardcore band 36 Crazyfists and the groups Pamyua and Portugal. The Man.

There are many established music festivals in Alaska, including the Alaska Folk Festival, the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival,Asus R33030 Adapter

the Anchorage Folk Festival, the Athabascan Old-Time Fiddling Festival, the Sitka Jazz Festival, and the Sitka Summer Music Festival. The most prominent symphony in Alaska is the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, though the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestraand Juneau Symphony are also notable. Dell Mini 1011 Battery

The Anchorage Opera is currently the state's only professional opera company, though there are several volunteer and semi-professional organizations in the state as well.

The official state song of Alaska is "Alaska's Flag", which was adopted in 1955; it celebrates the flag of Alaska.toshiba pa3332u-1brs Battery

Movies filmed in Alaska

Alaska's first independent picture all made on place was in the silent years. The Chechahcos was produced by Alaskan businessman Austin E. Lathrop and filmed in and around Anchorage. It was released in 1924 by the Alaska Moving Picture Corporation and was the only film the company made.HP Compaq 6710b Adapter

One of the most prominent movies filmed in Alaska is MGM's Eskimo/Mala The Magnificent, starring Alaska Native Ray Mala. In 1932 an expedition set out from MGM's studios in Hollywood to Alaska to film what was then billed as "The Biggest Picture Ever Made." Upon arriving in Alaska, HP Compaq nx6325 Adapter

they set up "Camp Hollywood" in Northwest Alaska, where they lived during the duration of the filming. Louis B. Mayer spared no expense in spite of the remote location, going so far as to hire the chef from the Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood to prepare meals.Toshiba Equium A110-252 Battery

When Eskimo premiered at the Astor Theatre in New York City, the studio received the largest amount of feedback in its history to that point. Eskimo was critically acclaimed and released worldwide; as a result, Mala became an international movie star. Acer Aspire 5052ANWXMi Battery

Eskimo won the first Oscar for Best Film Editing at the Academy Awards, and was also responsible for showcasing and preserving aspects of Inupiat culture on film.

The 1983 Disney movie Never Cry Wolf was at least partially shot in Alaska. Dell Mini 1011v Battery

The 1991 film White Fang, starring Ethan Hawke, was filmed in and around Haines, Alaska. Steven Seagal's 1994 On Deadly Ground, starring Michael Caine, was filmed in part at the Worthington Glacier near Valdez. The 1999 John Sayles film Limbo, starring David Strathairn, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Kris Kristofferson, was filmed in Juneau.HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

The psychological thriller Insomnia, starring Al Pacino and Robin Williams, was shot in Canada, but was set in Alaska. The 2007 horror feature 30 Days of Night is set in Barrow, Alaska, but was filmed in New Zealand. Most films and television shows set in Alaska are not filmed there; Dell Vostro 1510 Battery

for example, Northern Exposure, set in the fictional town of Cicely, Alaska, was actually filmed in Roslyn, Washington.

The 2007 film directed by Sean Penn, Into The Wild, was partially filmed and set in Alaska. The film, which is based on the novel of the same name, follows the adventures of Christopher McCandless, who died in a remote abandoned bus along the Stampede Trail west of Healy in 1992.Toshiba PA3534U-1BRS Battery

The 2007 gross state product was $44.9 billion, 45th in the nation. Its per capita personal income for 2007 was $40,042, ranking 15th in the nation. The oil and gas industry dominates the Alaskan economy, with more than 80% of the state's revenues derived from petroleum extraction.Asus M50 Battery

Alaska's main export product (excluding oil and natural gas) is seafood, primarily salmon, cod, Pollock and crab.

Agriculture represents only a fraction of the Alaskan economy. Agricultural production is primarily for consumption within the state and includes nursery stock, dairy products, vegetables, and livestock.Asus Eee PC 901 Battery

Manufacturing is limited, with most foodstuffs and general goods imported from elsewhere.

Employment is primarily in government and industries such as natural resource extraction, shipping, and transportation. Military bases are a significant component of the economy in both Fairbanks and Anchorage. Dell Inspiron 6400 Battery

Federal subsidies are also an important part of the economy, allowing the state to keep taxes low. Its industrial outputs are crude petroleum, natural gas, coal, gold, precious metals, zinc and other mining, seafood processing, timber and wood products. There is also a growing service and tourism sector.HP Compaq Business NC6220 Battery

Tourists have contributed to the economy by supporting local lodging.

Energy

Alaska has vast energy resources. Major oil and gas reserves are found in the Alaska North Slope (ANS) and Cook Inlet basins. According to the Energy Information Administration, Alaska ranks second in the nation in crude oil production.Sony VGP-BPS9 Battery

Prudhoe Bay on Alaska's North Slope is the highest yielding oil field in the United States and on North America, typically producing about 400,000 barrels per day (64,000 m3/d).

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline can pump up to 2.1 million barrels (330,000 m3) of crude oil per day, more than any other crude oil pipeline in the United States.Sony VGP-BPS13 Battery

Additionally, substantial coal deposits are found in Alaska's bituminous, sub-bituminous, and lignite coal basins. The United States Geological Survey estimates that there are 85.4 trillion cubic feet (2,420 km3) of undiscovered, technically recoverable gas from natural gas hydrates on the Alaskan North Slope.HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

Alaska also offers some of the highest hydroelectric power potential in the country from its numerous rivers. Large swaths of the Alaskan coastline offer wind and geothermal energy potential as well.

Alaska's economy depends heavily on increasingly expensive diesel fuel for heating, transportation, electric power and light. HP Compaq 2510p Adapter

Though wind and hydroelectric power are abundant and underdeveloped, proposals for state-wide energy systems (e.g. with special low-cost electric interties) were judged uneconomical (at the time of the report, 2001) due to low (<$0.50/Gal) fuel prices, long distances and low population.Dell Studio PP39L Battery

The cost of a US gallon of gas in urban Alaska today is usually $0.30–$0.60 higher than the national average; prices in rural areas are generally significantly higher but vary widely depending on transportation costs, seasonal usage peaks, nearby petroleum development infrastructure and many other factors.Nikon COOLPIX 5700  Battery

Alaska accounts for one-fifth (20 percent) of domestically produced United States oil production. Prudhoe Bay (North America's largest oil field) alone accounts for 8% of the U.S. domestic oil production.Dell Studio XPS 16 Battery

Permanent Fund

The Alaska Permanent Fund is a legislatively controlled appropriation established in 1976 to manage a surplus in state petroleum revenues from the recently constructed Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. From its initial principal of $734,000, the fund has grown to $40 billion as a result of oil royalties and capital investment programs.HP Compaq nx7400 Adapter

Starting in 1982, dividends from the fund's annual growth have been paid out each year to eligible Alaskans, ranging from $331.29 in 1984 to $3,269.00 in 2008 (which included a one-time $1200 "Resource Rebate"). Every year, the state legislature takes out 8 percent from the earnings, puts 3 percent back into the principal for inflation proofing,HP Pavilion DV6500 Adapter

and the remaining 5 percent is distributed to all qualifying Alaskans. To qualify for the Alaska State Permanent Fund one must have lived in the state for a minimum of 12 months, and maintain constant residency.

Cost of living

The cost of goods in Alaska has long been higher than in the contiguous 48 states. Dell T117C Battery

This has changed for the most part in Anchorage and to a lesser extent in Fairbanks, where the cost of living has dropped somewhat in the past five years. Federal government employees, particularlyUnited States Postal Service (USPS) workers and active-duty military members,Acer PA-1650-02 Adapter

receive a Cost of Living Allowance usually set at 25% of base pay because, while the cost of living has gone down, it is still one of the highest in the country.

The introduction of big-box stores in Anchorage, Fairbanks (Wal-Mart in March 2004), and Juneau also did much to lower prices.Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

However, rural Alaska suffers from extremely high prices for food and consumer goods, compared to the rest of the country due to the relatively limited transportation infrastructure. Many rural residents come into these cities and purchase food and goods in bulk from warehouse clubs like Costcoand Sam's Club.Asus S1 Adapter

Some have embraced the free shipping offers  of some online retailers to purchase items much more cheaply than they could in their own communities, if they are available at all.

Agriculture

Due to the northern climate and steep terrain, relatively little farming occurs in Alaska. HP Pavilion dv6000 Battery

Most farms are in either the Matanuska Valley, about 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Anchorage, or on the Kenai Peninsula, about 60 miles (97 km) southwest of Anchorage. The short 100-day growing season limits the crops that can be grown, but the long sunny summer days make for productive growing seasons. Ibm Thinkpad T30 Battery

The primary crops are potatoes, carrots, lettuce, and cabbage. Farmers exhibit produce at the Alaska State Fair. "Alaska Grown" is used as an agricultural slogan.

Alaska has an abundance of seafood, with the primary fisheries in the Bering Sea and the North Pacific, Dell Studio PP39L Battery

and seafood is one of the few food items that is often cheaper within the state than outside it. Many Alaskans fish the rivers during salmon season to gather significant quantities of their household diet while fishing for subsistence, sport, or both.HP Pavilion dv5 Adapter

Hunting for subsistence, primarily caribou, moose, and Dall sheep is still common in the state, particularly in remote Bush communities. An example of a traditional native food is Akutaq, the Eskimo ice cream, which can consist of reindeer fat, seal oil, dried fish meat and local berries.HP Compaq Business NC6400 Battery

Alaska's reindeer herding is concentrated on the Seward Peninsula where wild caribou can be prevented from mingling and migrating with the domesticated reindeer.

Most food in Alaska is transported into the state from "Outside", and shipping costs make food in the cities relatively expensive.HP Compaq 490306-001 Battery

In rural areas, subsistence hunting and gathering is an essential activity because imported food is prohibitively expensive. The cost of importing food to villages begins at 7¢ per pound (15¢/kg) and rises rapidly to 50¢ per pound ($1.10/kg) or more. The cost of delivering a 1 US gallon (3.8 L) of milk is about $3.50 in many villages where per capita income can be $20,000 or less.Compaq Presario CQ35-100 Battery

Fuel cost can exceed $8.00 per gallon.

Alaskan gas wells are located in two regions. The largest source is the North Slope area around Prudhoe Bay where gas was discovered along with oil in 1968. In 1974 the State of Alaska's Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys estimated that the field held 26×1012 cu ft (740 km3) of natural gas.HP Compaq HSTNN-LB51 Battery

Because there is no way to transport the Prudhoe Bay gas to markets, as gas comes out of the wells, it is separated from the oil stream and reinjected into the ground to maintain the oil reservoir pressures. There are several proposals to transport the Prudhoe Bay gas. See, Alaska Gas Pipeline.HP Pavilion ZE4500 Battery

The second source is located on the Kenai Peninsula on the South coast of Alaska. There are probable gas reserves of 1,726.4 Bcf in this area. Most of this gas is exported to Japan through a liquefied natural gas terminal located on the Cook Inlet. The Cook Inlet basin contains large oil and gas deposits including several offshore fields.HP G62-100EB Battery

As of 2005 there were 16 platforms in Cook Inlet, the oldest of which is the XTO A platform first installed by Shell in 1964, and newest of which is the Osprey platform installed by Forest Oil in 2000. Most of the platforms are operated by Union Oil which was acquired by Chevron in 2005. HP Pavilion DV6-1211AX Battery

There are also numerous oil and gas pipelines running around and under the Cook Inlet. The main destinations of the gas pipelines are to Kenai where the gas is primarily used to fuel commercial fertilizer production and a liquified natural gas (LNG) plant and to Anchorage where the gas is consumed largely for domestic uses.HP Pavilion DV6-1220SO Battery

ConocoPhillips and Marathon operate the LNG terminal under a series of two-year long licenses issued by the U.S. Department of Energy under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act. When these companies applied for another two-year extension of the license, various Alaskan entities, HP EliteBook 6930P Battery

including the local fertizer plant opposed the application on the grounds that there was not sufficient gas to meet local requirements as well as the proposed exports. The Agrium fertilizer plant claimed it closed because it could not obtain a gas supply. On June 3, 2008,HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA Battery

the Department of Energy granted the extension having found that there were sufficient supplies for Alaska's needs.

Gas pipeline

The State of Alaska has adopted legislation which would provide $500 million of start-up funding for a new pipeline to transport Prudhoe Bay gas. The selected proposal from TransCanada Corp.Compaq Presario CQ71 Battery

would go through Canada without connecting to the existing natural gas system in Southern Alaska. However, three Boroughs have formed the Alaskan Gasline Port Authority to build a line from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez that would connect to the existing system.HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO Battery

The gas pipeline has emerged as an issue in the 2008 United States elections, because Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin has cited her actions on the gas pipeline as evidence of "standing up to Big Oil"  while her opponents claim it is a political reward to her political supporter TransCanada Corp.HP G6000 Battery

Alaska is one of two U.S. states not bordered by another state; Hawaii the other. Alaska has more ocean coastline than all of the other U.S. states combined. About 500 miles (800 km) of Canadianterritory separate Alaska from Washington State. Alaska is thus an exclave of the United States that is part of the continental U.S. but is not part of the contiguous U.S.HP HDX X18-1005EA Battery

Alaska is also the only state whose capital city is accessible only via ship or air. No roads connect Juneau to the rest of the continent.

The state is bordered by Yukon and British Columbia, Canada to the east, the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean to the south, the Bering Sea, Bering Strait, and Chukchi Sea to the west, and the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean to the north.HP Pavilion DV6-3013SL Battery

Because it extends into the Eastern Hemisphere, it is technically both the westernmost and easternmost state in the United States, as well as also being the northernmost.

Alaska is the largest state in the United States in terms of land area at 570,380 square miles (1,477,300 km²), over twice as large as Texas, the next largest state. HP Compaq HSTNN-IB62 Battery

If the state's westernmost point were superimposed on San Francisco, California, its easternmost point would be in Jacksonville, Florida. It is larger than all but 18 sovereign nations. Alaska is home to 3.5 million lakes of 20 acres (80,000 m²) or larger.HP Pavilion DV6100 Battery

Marshlands and wetland permafrost cover 188,320 square miles (487,750 km²) (mostly in northern, western and southwest flatlands). Frozen water, in the form of glacier ice, covers some 16,000 square miles (41,000 km²) of land and 1,200 square miles (3,100 km²) of tidal zone. HP EliteBook 2730P Battery

The Bering Glaciercomplex near the southeastern border with Yukon, Canada, covers 2,250 square miles (5,830 km²) alone.

Regions

  • South Central Alaska is the southern coastal region and contains most of the state's population.HP Pavilion DV9000 Battery
  • Anchorage and many growing towns, such asPalmer, and Wasilla, lie within this area. Petroleum industrial plants, transportation, tourism, and two military bases form the core of the economy here.
  • The Alaska Panhandle, also known as Southeast Alaska, is home to many of Alaska's larger towns including the state capital Juneau, tidewaterglaciers and extensive forests. HP Pavilion DV7 Battery
  • Tourism, fishing, forestry and state government anchor the economy.
  • Southwest Alaska is largely coastal, bordered by both the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. It is sparsely populated, and unconnected to the road system, but incredibly important to the fishing industry. HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO Battery
  • Half of all fish caught in the western U.S. come from the Bering Sea, and Bristol Bay has the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery. Southwest Alaska includes Katmai and Lake Clark national parks as well as numerous wildlife refuges. The region comprises western Cook Inlet, Bristol Bay and its watersheds, the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands. HP Compaq Business 6735S Battery
  • It is known for wet and stormy weather, tundra landscapes, and large populations of salmon, brown bears, caribou, birds, and marine mammals.
  • The Alaska Interior is home to Fairbanks. The geography is marked by large braided rivers, such as the Yukon River and the Kuskokwim River, as well as Arctic tundra lands and shorelines.HP 540 Battery
  • The Alaskan Bush is the remote, less crowded part of the state, encompassing 380 native villages and small towns such as Nome, Bethel, Kotzebueand, most famously, Barrow, the northernmost town in the United States.

The northeast corner of Alaska is covered by the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which covers 19,049,236 acres (77,090 km2).HP Compaq Business NW9440 Battery

Much of the northwest is covered by the larger National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska, which covers around 23,000,000 acres (93,000 km²). The Arctic is Alaska's most remote wilderness. A location in the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska is 120 miles (190 km) from any town or village, the geographic point most remote from permanent habitation in the USA.HP Compaq Business  TC4400 Battery

With its numerous islands, Alaska has nearly 34,000 miles (55,000 km) of tidal shoreline. The island chain extending west from the southern tip of theAlaska Peninsula is called the Aleutian Islands. Many active volcanoes are found in the Aleutians. For example, Unimak Island is home to Mount Shishaldin, HP Compaq 491278-001 Battery

a moderately active volcano that rises to 9,980 feet (3,042 m) above sea level. The chain of volcanoes extends to Mount Spurr, west of Anchorage on the mainland.

One of North America's largest tides occurs in Turnagain Arm just south of Anchorage. Tidal differences can be more than 35 feet (10.7 m). HP HSTNN-LB31 Battery

(Many sources say Turnagain has the second-greatest tides in North America, but it has since been shown that several areas in Canada have larger tides, according to an Anchorage Daily News article dated 6/23/03.)

The Aleutian Islands cross longitude 180°, so Alaska can be considered the easternmost state as well as the westernmost.HP Pavilion DV3-4000  Battery

Alaska and, especially, the Aleutians are one of the extreme points of the United States. The International Date Line jogs west of 180° to keep the whole state, and thus the entire continental United States, within the same legal day.HP Pavilion TX1000 Battery

Land Management

According to an October 1998 report by the United States Bureau of Land Management, approximately 65% of Alaska is owned and managed by theU.S. federal government as national forests, national parks, and national wildlife refuges.HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA  Battery

Of these, the Bureau of Land Management manages 87 million acres (350,000 km²), or 23.8% of the state. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.HP 448007-001 Battery

Of the remaining land area, the State of Alaska owns 24.5%; another 10% is managed by thirteen regional and dozens of local Native corporations created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. Various private interests own the remaining land, totaling less than 1%.HP Compaq Business  6530B  Battery

Alaska is administratively divided into "boroughs," as opposed to "counties." The function is the same, but whereas some states use a three-tiered system of decentralization — state/county/township — most of Alaska only uses two tiers — state/borough.HP Pavilion DV5-1015EA  Battery

Owing to the state's low population density, most of the land is located in the Unorganized Borough which, as the name implies, has no intermediate borough government of its own, but is administered directly by the state government. Currently (2000 census) 57.71 percent of Alaska's land area has this status; HP Pavilion DV6-1230SB Battery

however, its population comprises only 13.05 percent of the state's total. For statistical purposes the United States Census Bureau divides this territory into census areas. Anchorage merged the city government with the Greater Anchorage Area Borough in 1971 to form the Municipality of Anchorage,HP Pavilion ZD8181EA  Battery

containing the city proper, and the bedroom communities of Eagle River, Chugiak, Peters Creek, Girdwood, Bird, and Indian. Fairbanks, on the other hand, has a separate borough (the Fairbanks North Star Borough) and municipality (the City of Fairbanks).HP Pavilion DV9500  Battery,HP Pavilion DM4 Battery

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