Introduction

The flag of Alaska
Location of Alaska
The seal of Alaska

Alaska (/əˈlæskə/ ə-LASS-kə) is a non-contiguous U.S. state on the northwest extremity of North America. It borders the Canadian province of British Columbia and the Yukon territory to the east; it shares a western maritime border in the Bering Strait with Russia's Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. The Chukchi and Beaufort Seas of the Arctic Ocean lie to the north and the Pacific Ocean lies to the south. Technically a semi-exclave of the U.S., it is the largest exclave in the world.

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

Indigenous people have lived in Alaska for thousands of years, and it is widely believed that the region served as the entry point for the initial settlement of North America by way of the Bering land bridge. The Russian Empire was the first to actively colonize the area beginning in the 18th century, eventually establishing Russian America, which spanned most of the current state, and promoted and maintained a native Alaskan Creole population. The expense and logistical difficulty of maintaining this distant possession prompted its sale to the U.S. in 1867 for US$7.2 million (equivalent to $157 million in 2023). 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.

Abundant natural resources have enabled Alaska—with one of the smallest state economies—to have one of the highest per capita incomes, with commercial fishing, and the extraction of natural gas and oil, dominating Alaska's economy. U.S. Armed Forces bases and tourism also contribute to the economy; more than half the state is federally-owned land containing national forests, national parks, and wildlife refuges. It is among the most irreligious states, one of the first to legalize recreational marijuana, and is known for its libertarian-leaning political culture, generally supporting the Republican Party in national elections. The Indigenous population of Alaska is proportionally the second highest of any U.S. state, at over 15 percent, after only Hawaii. (Full article...)

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A team of dogs pulls a sled guided by a musher as spectators watch from behind barricades on both sides.
Didier Moggia was the first musher to start the 2008 Yukon Quest in Fairbanks, Alaska.

The Yukon Quest, formally the Yukon Quest 1,000-mile International Sled Dog Race, is a sled dog race scheduled every February since 1984 between Fairbanks, Alaska, and Whitehorse, Yukon, switching directions each year. Because of the harsh winter conditions, difficult trail, and the limited support that competitors are allowed, it is considered the "most difficult sled dog race in the world", or even the "toughest race in the world"—"even tougher, more selective and less attention-seeking than the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race." The originator envisioned it as "a race so rugged that only purists would participate."

In the competition, first run in 1984, a dog team leader (called a musher) and a team of 6 to 14 dogs race for 10 to 20 days. The course follows the route of the historic 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, mail delivery, and transportation routes between Fairbanks, Dawson City, and Whitehorse. Mushers pack up to 250 pounds (113 kg) of equipment and provisions for themselves and their dogs to survive between checkpoints. Each musher must rely on a single sled for the entire run, versus three in the Iditarod.

Ten checkpoints and four dog drops, some more than 200 miles (322 km) apart, lie along the trail. Veterinarians are present at each to ensure the health and welfare of the dogs, give advice, and provide veterinary care for dropped dogs; together with the race marshal or a race judge, they may remove a dog or team from the race for medical or other reasons. There are only nine checkpoints for rest, versus 22 in the Iditarod. Mushers are permitted to leave dogs at checkpoints and dog drops, but not to replace them. Sleds may not be replaced (without penalty) and mushers cannot accept help from non-racers except at Dawson City, the halfway mark. (Full article...)
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Juneau Mountain Rescue members prepare gear for a rescue mission, facilitated by the US Coast Guard, in 2011
Juneau Mountain Rescue members prepare gear for a rescue mission, facilitated by the US Coast Guard, in 2011
Members of Juneau Mountain Rescue prepare gear for a rescue mission, facilitated by the US Coast Guard, in 2011
Juneau Mountain Rescue (JMR) is a mountain search and rescue agency, located in Juneau, Alaska, United States. JMR is a member of the Alaska Search and Rescue Association, and facilitates rescues involving wilderness terrain, rope rescues on rock faces, ice and snow fields, glaciers, and during avalanches, medical evacuations, missing persons cases, aircraft crashes and other disasters. An all-volunteer organization, JMR coordinates with Capital City Fire/Rescue, the Juneau Police Department, the Alaska State Troopers, the United States Coast Guard, and other emergency response agencies during search and rescue operations. (Full article...)
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Brown bear in Denali National Park

Photo credit: Jean-Pierre Lavoie

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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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See the talk page (or archives of same) of WP:ALASKA, or of the articles in question, for more information.
  • Maintain: add ((WikiProject Alaska)) to the talk pages of Alaska-related articles and add the articles to Wikipedia:WikiProject Alaska/Recent changes (if not done already by a bot) so related changes link works.
  • To expand: Rie Muñoz, Rosita Worl

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