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Alaska Fun Facts

Alaska is a state with many firsts, largests and mosts. A leader in Alaska cruisetours, Princess Cruises keeps pace with unique offerings of its own -- Princess has the largest capacity in the region, taking more guests to Alaska than any other cruise line, and features the only purpose-built cruisetour wilderness lodges in the state.

Did you know ...

The name Alaska comes from the Aleut word Alyeska, meaning The Great Land

Alaska has the lowest population density in the U.S. (1.0 per square mile compared to 71.2 for the rest of the nation) There are more caribou than people in Alaska.

Alaska is the largest state in the union, covering 570,373 square miles, which is equal in size to approximately one-fifth of the rest of the United States

Alaska is the last great wilderness in the United States Civilization has only encroached on about 160,000 acres of its 365 million acres. This is less than 1/20th of 1 percent of the State, the rest is still untouched wilderness.

Alaska's capital, Juneau, is the only capital city in the United States accessible only by boat or plane

Alaska is almost as close to Tokyo (3,520 miles) as New York City (3,280 miles)

The U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 for $7,200,000 (about two cents an acre) and made it the union's 49th state on January 3, 1959

Alaska is home to North America's tallest peak, Mt. McKinley (20,230 feet), as well as another 16 of the 20 highest mountains in the U.S.

Because of the tilt of the earth, a summer's day in Alaska can last as long as 20 hours

Giant vegetables are common in Alaska thanks to the extremely long days in summer. A record cabbage weighed in at 94 pounds.

For the people of the Alaskan town of Barrow, located just 800 miles from the North Pole, a day can last three months. When the sun rises in Barrow on May 10, it doesn't set again for three months. Then in November, the sun goes down and doesn't come up again for another three months.

Barrow also boasts the farthest north supermarket in the country. The store is constructed on stilts to prevent the central heating from melting the permafrost.

Denali National Park was originally named Mt. McKinley National Park after William McKinley, a senator and later president of the United States. Later, the name of the park was changed to the original Indian name of the mountain "Denali" or "the Great One."

The Alaska State Park System is the largest in the United States with more than 3.2 million acres of land and water, and 100 park units. The largest state park in Alaska, and in the nation, is the Wood-Tikchik State Park, which comprises 1.6 million acres of wilderness.

Alaska's state sport is dog mushing Every year the state hosts the nearly 1,200 mile-long Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race from Anchorage to Nome, often called the "Last great race on Earth."

In the first year of the Alaskan Gold Rush in the 1890s, 20,000-30,000 gold seekers spent three months trekking across the country to the gold fields

Humpback whales migrate in the winter to warm tropical waters where they give birth and take care of their young, then return to Alaska in the summer Humpbacks average 25 tons and 46 feet in length. Their tongues alone can weigh as much as two tons!

Alaska's diverse Native peoples comprise approximately 16 percent of the state's population The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 gave Natives rights to about 10 percent of Alaska land.

The world's largest and busiest seaplane base is Anchorage's Lake Hood It accommodates more than 800 takeoffs and landings on a peak summer day!

Most of America's salmon, crab, halibut and herring come from Alaska

Kodiak Island is the second largest island in the United States (Hawaii is the largest) It is home to the Kodiak Brown Bear which is the world's largest carnivore. The bear population is 3,000. Two-thirds of the island has been set aside to form the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge.

Grizzly bears have been a threatened species since 1975 in the Lower 48 states Alaska however has more than 32,000 grizzlies. Considering Alaska's population is only 670,000, that's one bear for every 21 people.

About 29,000 square miles (5 percent of the state) is covered by glaciers

Alaska contains more than half of the world's glaciers. There are approximately 100,000 glaciers in Alaska.

Astronauts say they can see the Trans-Alaska Pipeline from space Oil takes five to six days to travel the 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez where the crude is loaded onto oceangoing oil tankers. Along the way, it crosses 834 rivers and streams, three major mountain ranges and an earthquake fault line!

One of the reasons that the Trans Alaska pipeline is buried in certain areas, is so not to interrupt the Caribou migration patterns

Alaska is so vast that if you could see one million acres of the state every day, it would take an entire year to see it all!

With men making up 52 percent of its population, Alaska has the highest ratio of men to women of any U.S. state Alaskans like to say, "The odds are good but the goods are odd!"

Alaskans say they have only three seasons: winter, breakup and road construction.