Alaska - one of the most beautiful states
Alaska has only about 10000 miles of road - not much, especially for a state its size The Alaska Highway links Alaska to the other states through Canada. Traveling on the Alaska's road used to be very rough. Now, however, the road is fully paved and has gas stations every 50 miles. In southeast and South Central Alaska, we are best off traveling on the Maritime Highway, which isn't road at all, but a system of ferries. Because of geography, travel by water in these areas is much easier than travel by road. In fact, only three cities in the Southeast can be reached by road. The others, including Juneau, Alaska's capital, can be reached only by water or air.
In many ways, air travel is the most important form of transportation. Almost every community in Alaska has a landing field for planes. "Bush planes" fly to Alaska's small, distant communities. They are propeller driven and can land on floats or skis. Bush pilots are heroes in Alaska - and rightly so. They often fly under extremely dangerous conditions. Alaska has five major regions: the Southeast, South Central, Interior, Southwest and Arctic regions.
The Southeast consists of a thin strip of mainland and islands. It is a magnificently scenic land of ocean, rugged coasts, steep mountains, glaciers and rainforests. SITKA - a Southeast fishing town, was the center if Alaska in the days, when Alaska was Russian. In 1867, Russia sold Alaska to the United States, in a treaty signed by Secretary of State William Seward. The purchase price amounted to only 2 cents per acre, yet many Americans thought the purchase so foolish that they called it "Seward's folly" and called Alaska "Seward's Icebox". When Alaska's natural wealth became apparent, these names soon disappeared. JUNEAU - Alaska's capital, is larger in area than any other city in the United States but has only about 25000 residents. Juneau began in the 1880's as a gold -mining town, and some of its buildings still preserve this frontier character. Ports of the city are so steep that there are wooden stairs instead of sidewalks.
South Central Alaska, a mainly coastal area, has over half of Alaska's population. The majority of these people live in the city of Anchorage. Anchorage is Alaska's most heavily populated city, and Alaskans tend to either love it or hate it. So do those who hate it, they jokingly say, that the only good thing about Anchorage is that it's "just a plane trip away from Alaska". True, Anchorage is largely new. In 1964 a strong earthquake hit this part of Alaska; much of Anchorage had grown rapidly since the 1970's, when it became the center for Alaska's booming oil industry. But in Anchorage the new high-rise buildings are mixed in with houses and even cabins. A reporter who was recently in Anchorage told of traffic being held up following a collision between a car and a moose.
Palmer is an agricultural town in a state with little agriculture. Although the summer growing season is short, summer days have as many as 20 hours of daylight. The result is giant-sized fruits and vegetables - strawberries larger than eggs and 75-pound cabbages!