The Alaska State Parks Include The Largest Park In The Country
The size of some of the State Parks in Alaska is simply incredible! For example, Wood-Tikchik State Park, at 1.6 million acres in size, covers roughly the same area as the state of Delaware and that makes it the largest state park in the country.
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Visitors to the state parks in Alaska should not, however, expect numerous faciliites.
These are wilderness areas and the enjoyment and entertainment comes from getting away from your fellow man and living close to nature.
You will see scenery and wildlife that you are unlikely to experience anywhere else.
20,327 Feet High, Mount McKinley Is The Highest Mountain In America
Alaska is a state of superlatives - largest, highest, longest! It is by far the largest state in America. It has the longest coastline. In fact it has a longer coastline than all the other states put together. With Mount McKinley it has the highest mountain in North America.
Alaska is also the least densely populated state in the country with only 1.25 people per square mile. About half of the state`s population, which is still less than a million people, live in the largest city which is Anchorage.
Sixty five percent of the land in Alaska is managed by the Federal Government. The Alaska State Parks are run by the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.
Although they manage a huge amount of real estate there are only eight areas that have the designation of "State Parks." There are 40 Recreation Sites, 21 Recreation Areas, 38 Marine Parks. 6 Historical Parks and 7 other areas including an Eagle Preserve.
Typical Alaskan Scenery Of Water, Woods And Mountains
Alaska became the 49th state to join the Union on January 3rd 1959, before then it had been known as the Alaskan Territory. The land had originally been part of Russia and was bought from them on the 30th March 1867 for $7.2 million. That works out to about two cents an acre! A bargain in anybody`s money.
This became even more of a bargain when it turned out that the land Russia had sold had huge energy resources as well as gold in some quantity.
There are massive reserves of oil and gas and today the state of Alaska is second in the country in the production of crude oil.
A large part of Alaska is made up of a string of some 300 volcanic islands which are known as the Aleutians. This chain stretches over 1,200 miles west of the mainland far out into the northern Pacific Ocean.
A number of these islands are still active volcanoes, including Mount Shishaldin on Unimak Island. Rising to 9,373 feet this mountain is considered to be the most perfect example of a volcanic cone because of its symmetrical shape.
The Volcanic Cone Of Mount Shishaldin On Unimak Island In The Aleutians (Photo by NOAA Library
There are two Alaska State Parks that are on islands, however both Afognak Island State Park and Shuyak Island State Park are to be found on the Kodiak Island group and not the Aleutians.
In fact Afognak Island was one of the very first conservation areas in the whole United States as it was designated in 1982.
The real appeal to many of the people who visit the Alaska State Parks is the incredible scenery and the abundant and varied wildlife. This land of rivers, lakes, forests and mountains is a paradise for wildlife photographers, fishermen and hunters. Visitors will see bear, moose, elk and deer on the land, as well as many other smaller creatures, while off the coast you can sight whales, seals, sea-lions and sea-otters.
With over three million lakes and countless rivers and streams the fishing is superb. The waters teem with salmon and trout. Anglers can always find a spot that has never been fished before - but be careful! You never know who may be fishing close by. Bears just love salmon.
An Alaskan Bear Fishing For Salmon
So if you are a lover of dramatic scenery, wilderness and wildlife, a visit to one of the Alaska State Parks will be a dream come true.
For a local`s perspective on all things Alaskan check out this wonderful site, Alaska Travel Jounal, it has loads of information about this amazing state.
This map shows just how large the state of Alaska is. Superimposed over the rest of the U.S.A. you can see how easily it dwarfs any of the other states in size.