- This state is big with a small portion accessible by automobile. The south-central region, around Anchorage, and the interior region, around Fairbanks, contain more roads than the other areas. The southwest, including the Kodiak and Aluetian Islands, the western coast, along the Bering Sea, and the southeastern region, surrounding Alexander Archipelago, are very remote areas. Some communities within these areas are accessible only by boat or plane.
Copyright: National Park Service
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
Anchorage lies in the south-central region of the state. It is the most accessible community in the state and the biggest city. It lies between the Chugach Mountains, east, Kenai Mountains, south, and Alaska Range, northwest. Chugach State Park is the largest in the United States and lies immediately east of the city.
The interior region, surrounding Fairbanks, consists of rolling hills between the massive Alaska and Brooks Range Mountains. It contains a portion of Denali National Park, a few highways and the Yukon and Chema Rivers. Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve also lies within this region.
Southeastern Alaska is a relatively narrow strip of land with an extensive island system. Most of the region comprises the Tongass National Forest and is surrounded on the east and south by British Columbia. Glacier Bay National Park, Admiralty Islands National Monument and Misty Fjords National Monument exist in this area.
Southwestern Alaska is comprised of a peninsula of islands separating the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska. The area consists of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska Peninsula, which boast the most volcanic activity in the world. Forty active volcanoes exist on this narrow strip of land, which also experiences more earthquakes per year than any other region in the world. The population of this area is mostly native.
The western region of Alaska is comprised of a number of small fishing communities that lie on the Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea and the Arctic Ocean. The southern portion of this region is comprised of two immense wildlife refuges. Other protected areas on the western coast include Wood-Tikchik State Park, Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Cape Krusenstern National Monument and Gates of the Arctic National Park.
Recreation - Unique recreation opportunities present themselves in Alaska's wild lands. Walrus, whale and brown bear watching are three exciting adventures for visitors to this state. Water-oriented activities abound as do hunting and photography.
Climate - The climate in Alaska varies with terrain and region. The south-central region of the state is most temperate because it is protected from cold northern winds by the Alaska Range. The large bodies of water that lies closely to this area create a stabilizing factor for the air temperature. Southeast Alaska is wet. An average of 80 inches of rain comes to this region directly from the Gulf of Alaska.
In contrast to the southeastern region, the interior receives very little precipitation. The winters are long in this region with spring, summer and fall taking place from May through September. The western coast of Alaska experiences long, cold winters and short, chilly summers. This area is very far north and at the mercy of huge water bodies that don't warm. Southwestern Alaska experiences foggy, wet summers with high temperatures reaching 60 degrees F. Winters are severe on this long peninsula of land with storms rising from the surrounding waters frequently. The average rainfall for the region is 75 inches/year.