With more than 31,000 inhabitants, Fairbanks is the second largest city in Alaska, and is the economic and administrative center of the entire interior. It is located in the heart of Alaska on the Chena River, at the confluence with the Tanana River.
The city was founded during the gold rush in the Klondike, but the first settlement was completely accidental. In 1901, a man named ET Barnette made his way up the local Tanana River. However, he was dragged by his boat into the raging Chena River. At this point, he decided to settle with his family and start a business. Today, this place is the corner of 1st Avenue and Cushman Street.
About a month after Barnett’s arrival, about 12 miles north of the settlement, gold was found. In 1902, a mining camp was established here, and a year later Fairbanks became a town. It was named after the Vice President of the United States (1905 – 1909) Charles W. Fairbanks. However, the gold rush did not last long here, and when it subsided, most people moved away. Later, the construction of the railroad and the “Alaska Canadian Hwy” road briefly attracted workers and banks to these places.
Oil was also discovered in the area, which resulted in the same excitement among the people as in the gold rush. The city experienced great development, hotel prices climbed to dizzying heights, old shops were overcrowded with goods. Today, the city houses the University of Alaska and several other scientific institutions focused on the search for mineral deposits, research on permanently frozen soil, Nordic flora and fauna. Today, Fairbanks is the center of extensive mineral exploration in northern Alaska, as well as the building directorate for the construction of the Alaskan oil pipeline, which was completed in 1977, from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. Today, Fairbanks has the same unemployment rate as elsewhere in the United States. People thus hope that their situation will improve with the promised construction of the gas pipeline.
The US government took advantage of the city’s strategic position and built a large military base there. Today, it is home to one of the largest bases in the United States. The city is served by an international airport, is the terminus of the Alaskan Railroad (1923), Richardson Highway is connected to Alaska Highway (1942). Although the city is equipped with the latest technology, we often find wooden log cabins here.
According to Iamaccepted, the University of Alaska operates the Museum of the North, the Animal Research Station and the Georgeson Botanical Gardens. The Museum of the North is one of the best museums in Alaska, and its most significant jewelry is the 36,000-year-old bison mummy or the largest gold nugget found in Alaska. Thanks to the sponsorship donations of the Alaskan government, admission to these places is very acceptable.
Those interested can enjoy a cruise on the Chen and Tanana rivers with a stop in the Indian village of Athabascan. The tourist attraction is Pioneer Park, which offers a view of Alaska a hundred years ago with the ancient railway and the old streets of the town of Zlatokopecký. You can get to know the hard life of the gold diggers at that time in the former El Dolardo Gold Mine, where a narrow-gauge railway will take you. It is here that you can try panning for golden nuggets and even get rich. In July, Fairbanks hosts two major festivals. The Goden Days Festival celebrates finding gold around the city and the Midnight Sun Festival celebrates the longest day of the year. When visiting Fairbanks, you should not miss the village of Chena Hot Springs, which is about 60 miles away. It has a spa with natural hot springs.
Kenai Fjords National Park
In 1980, one of the few available national parks was established in southern Alaska – the Kenai Fjords, covering an area of 2,500 km2. It is located about 200 km from the city of Anchorage and a gateway to the park is Seward, which can be reached by rail. However, it is only in operation in the summer months.
From here, it is possible to continue on a dirt road to the Exit Glacier glacier slide emerging from the Harding Glacier. In summer, it is possible to drive here from Seward Highway. In winter you can use the help of skis, snowmobiles, dog sleds or snowshoes. Other parts of the park can only be reached by boat or air.
Harding is the largest glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park, although a quarter of it runs out of the park. It covers an area of 1500 km2. The glacier is fed by about 30 other glacier slides, of which about 8 flow into the ocean. The highest peaks of the park are Palisade with a height of 1760 meters and Phoenix measuring 1560 meters above sea level. More than half of the park is covered with glaciers. An unforgettable experience is an air trip over the area, where you can observe glaciers and fjords from a bird’s eye view.
The local fjords are a great attraction for curious visitors who want to observe wildlife. The Kenai Fjords have become home to bears, moose, eagles, seals, otters and more. In spring and winter, it is then possible to watch whale strokes. Fjords are considered to be narrow or wider sea bays, which were formed by the activity of glaciers. In some places, it is good to see how the local glaciers affect the landscape. The valleys far enough from the glaciers are gradually overgrown with vegetation, the closer you are to the glacier, the more the vegetation disappears.
This smallest Alaskan national park preserves a beautiful and unique wild landscape, has become an attraction for lovers of photography, adventure, nature and fishermen will also enjoy themselves here thanks to the rich waters. During sunny days, beautiful panoramas are created here, the image of which will remain in your memories forever.