Portal:Alaska

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Introduction

Location of Alaska

Alaska ( /əˈlæskə/ ( About this sound listen); Aleut: Alax̂sxax̂; Inupiaq: Alaasikaq; Alutiiq: Alas'kaaq; Yup'ik: Alaskaq; Tlingit: Anáaski) is a U.S. state in the Western United States, on the northwest extremity of the country's west coast. A semi-exclave of the U.S., it borders the Canadian province of British Columbia and territory of Yukon to the east and has a maritime border with Russia's Chukotka Autonomous Okrug to the west, just across the Bering Strait. To the north are the Chukchi and Beaufort seas of the Arctic Ocean, while the Pacific Ocean lies to the south and southwest.

Alaska is by far the largest U.S. state by area, comprising more total area than the next three largest states Texas, California, and Montana combined, and the seventh largest subnational division in the world. It is the third-least populous and the most sparsely populated state, but by far the continent's most populous territory located mostly north of the 60th parallel, with a population of 736,081 as of 2020—more than quadruple the combined populations of Northern Canada and Greenland. Approximately half of Alaska's residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. The state capital of Juneau is the second- largest city in the United States by area, comprising more territory than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware. The former capital of Alaska, Sitka, is the largest U.S. city by area.

Alaska was occupied by various indigenous peoples for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. The state is considered the entry point for the settlement of North America by way of the Bering land bridge. The Russians were the first Europeans to settle the area beginning in the 18th century, eventually establishing Russian America, which spanned most of the current state. The expense and difficulty of maintaining this distant possession prompted its sale to the U.S. in 1867 for US$7.2 million (equivalent to $133 million in 2020), or approximately two cents per acre ($4.74/km2). The area went through several administrative changes before becoming organized as a territory on May 11, 1912. It was admitted as the 49th state of the U.S. on January 3, 1959.

While it has one of the smallest state economies in the country, Alaska's per capita income is among the highest, owing to a diversified economy dominated by fishing, natural gas, and oil, all of which it has in abundance. United States armed forces bases and tourism are also a significant part of the economy; more than half the state is federally owned public land, including a multitude of national forests, parks, and wildlife refuges.

The indigenous population of Alaska is proportionally the highest of any U.S. state, at over 15 percent. Close to two dozen native languages are spoken, and Alaskan Natives exercise considerable influence in local and state politics. ( Full article...)

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Adult Alaskan willow ptarmigan (L. l. alascensis) in summer plumage,
Denali National Park
The willow ptarmigan ( /ˈtɑːrmɪɡən/) (Lagopus lagopus) is a bird in the grouse subfamily Tetraoninae of the pheasant family Phasianidae. It is also known as the willow grouse and in Ireland and Britain, where the subspecies L. l. scotica was previously considered to be a separate species, as the red grouse. It is a sedentary species, breeding in birch and other forests and moorlands in northern Europe, the tundra of Scandinavia, Siberia, Alaska and Canada, in particular in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec. It is the state bird of Alaska. In the summer the birds are largely brown, with dappled plumage, but in the winter they are white with some black feathers in their tails (British populations do not adopt a winter plumage). The species has remained little changed from the bird that roamed the tundra during the Pleistocene. Nesting takes place in the spring when clutches of four to ten eggs are laid in a scrape on the ground. The chicks are precocial and soon leave the nest. While they are young, both parents play a part in caring for them. The chicks eat insects and young plant growth while the adults are completely herbivorous, eating leaves, flowers, buds, seeds and berries during the summer and largely subsisting on the buds and twigs of willow and other dwarf shrubs and trees during the winter. ( Full article...)
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The Red Dog mine is a large zinc and lead mine in a remote region of Alaska, about 80 miles (130 km) north of Kotzebue, which is owned and operated by the Canadian mining company Teck Resources. It is located within the boundaries of the Red Dog Mine census-designated place in the Northwest Arctic Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska.

The mine is the world's largest producer of zinc and has the world's largest zinc reserves. Red Dog accounts for 10% of the world's zinc production. Red Dog accounted for 55% of the mineral value produced in Alaska in 2008. In 2008 the mine produced 515,200 metric tons (507,100 LT; 567,900 ST) of zinc, 122,600 metric tons (120,700 LT; 135,100 ST) of lead, and 283 metric tons (9,100,000 ozt) of silver, for a total metal value of over one billion dollars. At the end of 2008 the mine had reserves of 61,400,000 metric tons (60,400,000 LT; 67,700,000 ST) of zinc at a grade of 17.1% and 61,400,000 tonnes (60,400,000 LT; 67,700,000 ST) of lead at a grade of 4.5%, as well as significant additional zinc and lead in the less well-measured resource category.

Red Dog is located on land owned by the for-profit NANA Regional Corporation (NANA)—one of thirteen Alaska Native Regional Corporations created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA) as part of the settlement of Alaska Native land claims. NANA's land base in the Kotzebue area in northwest Alaska. NANA's Alaska Native shareholders are of Inupiat descent. The mine is operated by the Canadian giant mining company Teck Resources in partnership with NANA Development Corporation. Ore concentrate taken from the mine is trucked westward on the Red Dog Mine Haul Road to the state-owned but Teck Resources-operated DeLong Mountain Port facilities on the Chukchi Sea, where it is stored until the shipping season. ( Full article...)
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Nalukataq Blanket Toss Barrow.jpg

Blanket toss during Nalukataq in Barrow, Alaska

Photo credit: Floyd Davidson

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State facts

  • Total area: 663,268 mi2
    • Land: 571,936 mi2
    • Water: 91,332 mi2
  • Highest elevation: 20,310 ft ( Denali)
  • Population 741,894 (2016 est)
  • Admission to the Union: January 3, 1959 (49th)

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