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Geographic size of Alaska:

The State of Alaska is 591,004 square miles (1,530,693 square Kilometers) (378,242,560 acres). To put that in visual terms Alaska is fully one-fifth (1/5) the land mass of the Lower-48 United States. click to see a size comparison map. We used to tell the Texas roughnecks that flocked North for the Pipeline and Prudhoe Oil patch, we'd split the State in half and make Texas the third largest State if they didn't behave themselves and have a little humility. Alaska is larger than many Countries, it's two-thirds (2/3) the size of the entire Nation of Mexico! A plane flight in Alaska taken from the furthest Western Aleutian Island (Attu) to the Boundary between S.E. Alaska and British Columbia, Canada would equal a flight from Los Angeles to New York City, and here's the kicker, if Manhattan had the same population density as Alaska, there would be only 14 people on Manhattan Island when you got there. That's why we have always considered ourselves more a Country than a State (except for the Government people [way too many] that constantly try to reiterate the fact that we are part of the US with all there laws that don't serve us as well in this place).

Regions of Alaska:

There are five (5) distinct geographic regions of Alaska. those being: Arctic, Interior, Western, South Central and South East. There are some that further subset The Lower Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Island Chain from Western Alaska as a distinct region. Alaska does not border any other US States. The borders are as follows: The Arctic Ocean on the north, Yukon Territory and British Columbia in Canada on the east, Gulf of Alaska and Pacific Ocean on the south and Bering Straight on the west.

Waterfront (shoreline) of Alaska:

Alaska has so much waterfront it accounts for forty percent (40%) of the entire US shoreline.

Rivers of Alaska:

The mighty Yukon River is ranked the third (3) longest river in North America, seventh (7) in the Western hemisphere and twentieth (20) in the world. It's length being 1,980 miles (3,184 km) draining 328,186 square miles (850,000 Sq. km) with a volume discharge of 6,210 m?/s (meters squared per second) of water into the Bering Sea. Approximately sixty percent (60%) of the length is in Alaska, the remaining portion in Yukon Territory with the headwaters in British Coumbia above Skagway and Dyea.

There are only four vehicle-carrying bridges across the Yukon River in its entire length:

The Lewes Bridge, north of Marsh Lake on the Alaska Highway.
The Robert Campbell Bridge, which connects the Whitehorse suburb of Riverdale to the downtown area.
The Yukon River Bridge in Carmacks, on the Klondike Highway.
The E. L. Patton Yukon River Bridge, north of Fairbanks on the Dalton Highway to Prudhoe Bay and Deadhorse.

A car ferry crosses the river at Dawson City in the summer; it is replaced by an ice bridge over the frozen river during the winter. Plans to build a permanent bridge were announced in March 2004, although they are currently on hold because bids came in much higher than budgeted.

There are also 2 pedestrian-only bridges in Whitehorse, as well as one small dam across the river and a hydroelectric generating station. The construction of the dam flooded the White Horse Rapids, which gave the city its name, and created Schwatka Lake.

Other major rivers in Alaska are the Copper, Susitna, Kuskokwim, Koyukuk, Kobuk, Noatak, and Colville Rivers. With the exception of the Susitna and Copper these rivers are undammed with no bridges, the two (2) aforementioned rivers having several bridges with no dams (yet). I would add several more rivers to this list, not because of their size, or length (at least in their Alaska portions) as they flow out of Canada, but because of their unique character and historical significance, those being the Mystical Unuk, the treacherous Stikine, and the wild, widow making White River. These rivers also have no dams or bridges in their Alaska sections.

Mountains of Alaska:

Alaska has sixteen (16 ) of the tallest mountains in North America with Mount McKinley (now known as Denali) the tallest mountain in all of North America at 20,320 feet (6,194 meters). Denali (Mount McKinley) ranks one-hundred and fifth (105) as to the world's highest peaks and ties for thirty-third (33) place in the Western Hemisphere's tallest mountains, the first thirty-two (32) being in the Andes of South America.

by W.J. Lynus O'Brien
15 Febuary 2007

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