Countdown To Alaska – Fun Facts

Anchorage, Alaska
For this installation of Countdown To Alaska I thought I’d share some interesting facts about the state.

  • State Capital: Juneau (map)
  • Largest City: Anchorage (map)
  • State Population: 670,053 (2006)
  • Population Density: 1.1/sq mi (The least densely populated state)
  • Land Area: 663,267 sq mi
  • Median Household Income: $57,071 USD
  • Alaska is the largest state in the US in land area and is over twice as large as Texas
  • Alaska has more coastline than all the other US states combined
  • Alaska is the only state whose capital city is inaccessible by land (no roads connect Juneau to the rest of the state)
  • The area that became Alaska was purchased from Russian interests on March 30, 1867. The land went through several administrative changes before becoming an organized territory on May 11, 1912 and the 49th state of the U.S. on January 3, 1959.
  • The name “Alaska” is derived from the Aleut alaxsxaq, meaning “the mainland”, or more literally “the object towards which the action of the sea is directed”.
  • The climate of the interior of Alaska is best described as extreme and is the best example of a true subarctic climate. Some of the hottest and coldest temperatures in Alaska occur around the area near Fairbanks (map) (this is where I will be staying in January). The summers can have temperatures reaching into the 80s°F (near 30 °C), while in the winter, the temperature can fall below -60 °F (-52 °C). Precipitation is not much 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 recorded temperature in Alaska is 100 °F (38 °C) in Fort Yukon (map) on June 27, 1915
  • The lowest Alaska temperature is -80 °F (-64 °C) in Prospect Creek (map) on January 23, 1971
  • Spectacular displays of the aurora borealis (“northern lights”) are visible on an average of 200 days a year in the vicinity of Fairbanks. (Don’t worry, I will be getting pictures)
  • State bird: Willow Ptarmigan, adopted by the Territorial Legislature in 1955. It is a small (15-17 inches) Arctic grouse that lives among willows and on open tundra and muskeg. Plumage is brown in summer, changing to white in winter. The Willow Ptarmigan is common in much of Alaska.
  • State fish: King Salmon, adopted 1962.
  • State flower: wild/native Forget-Me-Not, adopted by the Territorial Legislature in 1917.[34] It is a perennial that is found throughout Alaska, from Hyder to the Arctic Coast, and west to the Aleutians.
  • State fossil: Woolly Mammoth, adopted 1986.
  • State gem: Jade, adopted 1968.
  • State insect: Four-spot skimmer dragonfly, adopted 1995.
  • State land mammal: Moose, adopted 1998.
  • State marine mammal: Bowhead Whale, adopted 1983.
  • State mineral: Gold, adopted 1968.
  • State song: “Alaska’s Flag”
  • State sport: Dog Mushing, adopted 1972. (<sarcasm>No… really!?</sarcasm> I wonder if they have rentals?)
  • State tree: Sitka Spruce, adopted 1962.

I hope you have enjoyed reading some of these interesting tidbits of information. I certainly am enjoying getting to learn things about a place that is so entirely different than my home of Florida. Many of these facts were garnered from the Wikipedia Entry On Alaska.