||Nickname||The Last Frontier
|Governor||Sean Parnell, R|
|Senator||Lisa Murkowski, R |
|Senator||Mark Begich, D
|Ratification of Constitution/or statehood||January 3, 1959|
|Motto: North to the Future|
Alaska became the forty-ninth state to enter into the United States of America in 1959. Alaska is not contiguous to the rest of the United States, bordering Canada's Yukon Territory and province of British Columbia to the east. Its capital is Juneau.
Alaska's territory was purchased from Russia in 1867 by the Johnson administration for 7.2 million USD; its vast oil and gold reserves have more than repaid the investment that was once ridiculed as "Seward's Folly.", after William H. Seward who was the Secretary of State that negotiated the purchase.
Politics of Alaska
Alaska is a Republican stronghold with a libertarian streak.  George W. Bush carried the state 59%-28% in 2000, 61%-36% in 2004, and John McCain 59%-38% in 2008. The legislature is controlled by Republicans. In 2008 Mark Begich became the first Democrat elected to Congress from Alaska since 1974.
Alaska's economy consists of three main sectors. Firstly there is mineral resources, in the form of oil and coal and gold and silver and a variety of other metals. Secondly there is commercial fishing, primarily salmon, king crab, halibut, grey cod, and pollack. Finally there is federal government spending, Alaska receives more federal spending per citizen than any other state, getting about two dollars in federal spending for every tax dollar sent to the IRS.
Alaska has vast energy resources but low energy demand. Major oil and gas reserves are found in the Alaska North Slope (ANS) and Cook Inlet basins. The Alaska North Slope contains 14 of the 100 largest oil fields in the United States, and two of the largest natural gas fields. The North Slope’s Prudhoe Bay field is the largest oil field in the country. Substantial coal deposits are found in Alaska’s bituminous, sub-bituminous, and lignite coal basins. Alaska’s numerous rivers offer some of the highest hydroelectric power potential in the country, and large swaths of the Alaskan coastline offer wind and geothermal energy potential. The oil and gas industry dominates the Alaskan economy, and production activities drive state energy demand. Nevertheless, overall state energy demand is low.
Alaska is the second-ranked oil-producing state (after Texas), if output from the Federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) is excluded from the state totals. Nearly all of Alaska’s oil production takes place on the North Slope. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) transports crude oil from the frozen North Slope to the warm-water Port of Valdez, on Alaska’s southern coast. From Valdez, tankers ship the ANS crude oil primarily to refineries in California and Washington State. Those refineries are designed to process the intermediate, sour (high-sulfur) crude oil from the ANS. Alaskan crude oil production has been in decline since 1988, when output peaked at over 2 million barrels per day. However, experts believe that large oil and gas reserves in the state remain untapped, and some have called for the federal government to open more public lands, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, for oil exploration and drilling.
Demand for finished petroleum products in Alaska is low. Although Alaska has six refineries, most of them are “topping” plants that strip away lighter products from the TAPS heavy crude oil stream for internal refinery use. State motor gasoline demand is primarily met by refineries in Kenai and near Fairbanks. The use of oxygenated motor gasoline is required in the Fairbanks and Anchorage areas during their winter months. Jet fuel consumption in Alaska is high compared to other States.
Due to harsh weather conditions that persist throughout most of the year, Alaska’s oil infrastructure is particularly vulnerable to weather-related accidents and disruptions. The worst accident was not weather-related, however. It occurred in March 1989, when the tank vessel Exxon Valdez struck Bligh Reef and spilled at least 260 thousand barrels of oil into the Prince William Sound (some estimates put the figure at 30 million gallons, or over 700 thousand barrels). The cause of the accident is at least partially due to navigation errors of fatigued crew members, some of who were allegedly drunk. Other factors contributing to the accident were navigational equipment failures, deliberate breach of navigational protocol, and an inadequate number of crew members on the vessel, and these findings led to new regulations and recommended changes in the oil industry, specifically with regards to transporting oil.
Notable People from Alaska
- Sarah Palin, former governor, GOP vice presidential nominee 2008, conservative leader
- Carlos Boozer (Utah Jazz basketball player)
- Jewel (singer)
- Valerie Plame
“North to the Future” The motto was chosen in 1967 during the Alaska Purchase centennial and was created by Juneau newsman Richard Peter. The motto is meant to represent Alaska as a land of promise.
Why not Alaska as a Survival Retreat Location?
A year ago, I heard one “expert” on the radio recommend Alaska as a retreat destination because it has the lowest population density of any State, and has low taxes. IMHO, he couldn’t be more wrong! The biggest problem is that from an economic standpoint, Alaska is essentially a big offshore island. Many essential items are shipped or flown in. What happens when the ships and planes stop arriving? It won’t be pretty--at least not in Alaska's cities. (Ironically, although it is the most lightly populated state, Alaska has the second highest crime rate in the country!) Coastal Alaska is also earthquake prone. Further, you may think that because of the North Slope oil that the state will have plentiful fuel. Bzzzzzt! Wrong answer! There is insufficient refinery capacity of meet Alaska’s “domestic” needs, and insufficient transport to get refined fuels where they are needed. (Current transport is geared to distributing fuel and lubricants brought in from the Lower 48--not locally produced fuel and lubricants.) So the little fuel left in Alaska post-TEOTWAWKI will be jealously guarded--doubtless saved for critical tasks like running farm tractors and chain saws. So there will be virtually none available for fishing boats or between-town commerce.
In a long term collapse, the residents of Alaska's densely populated coastal cities will likely starve and/or freeze to death. Meanwhile, those in inland towns, albeit better fed, will be geographically isolated so that commerce with the coast will be difficult if not impossible. Bush pilots will eventually be grounded due to lack of fuel, lubricants and spare parts. The only people I foresee surviving are a few seasoned Sourdoughs and native tribe members that still have well-honed outdoor survival skills and are still capable of reverting to a self-sufficient mode. The best set up for this would be a small settlement on a clear water (non-glacial) stream with an active salmon run and a couple of productive “fish wheel” salmon traps.
Another consideration is that the Alaska Pipeline is vulnerable if the power grid goes down. As of 2007, grid power is needed for the four giant electric pumps used to pressurize the oil pipeline. These replaced the pipeline's original diesel-powered pumps.
My prediction: In the event of TEOTWAWKI, the Al-Can highway will have heavy traffic with heavily-laden pickup trucks carrying beau coup gas cans, going in both directions: Greenhorns from the lower 48 thinking that Alaska is the place to be and Alaskan Citizens who realize that Alaska is not a viable place to stay in a long term Crunch.
A SurvivalBlog Reader in Alaska Adds:
Mr. Rawles, As a long-time resident of Alaska, I agree in general [with your Retreat Locales page assessment] that it's just not a viable survival location for most people. Someone wanting to move here should carefully consider whether it would work for them. Alaska is huge, with a low population. While 275,000 people live in the Anchorage area, only 400,00 live in the rest of the state, comprised of over 1/2 million square miles. But more than 99% of the land is off limits to settlement, because it's owned by either government or native corporations. Even if land were available, most of it is inaccessible if you can't afford a helicopter or float plane. Much of it is treeless, windblown, and covered with ice and snow more than six months per year. When the ice finally melts, the roads buckle and heave due to the cycle of freezing and thawing. This requires expensive maintenance that would not be sustainable if TSHTF.
The economy of Alaska is driven by oil income and government spending, both of which would cease if the U.S. economy collapsed. There is very little local manufacturing capability. Sadly, even most natives have lost the ability to live off the land, due to income from various government programs and business ventures.
Home heating is a huge expense in Alaska; $6,000 or more per winter for some households. Even if you have a source of wood and cut it yourself, it's going to occupy a lot of your time.
On the plus side, there's unlimited pure air and water. While wildlife isn't as abundant as most people think, there are more than enough fish to keep everyone alive in a survival scenario. There are almost no insects to bother crops, and although the growing season is short, some vegetables do very well in the long daylight hours in summer. Alaska has one of the best concealed-carry laws in the country, and most prisoners are outsourced to other states, so they would not be a problem in a collapse. Alaska has a high concentration of military and former military personnel, who generally have a sound grasp of Constitutional issues.
Alaskans understand survival. Many who live in villages or in the bush have no running water. Some have no electricity. Alaska is a great place to practice survival skills. But you might not want to stay after TSHTF unless you're in extremely good health, you tolerate cold well, and you're prepared to do the hard work it would take to survive in a hostile environment. - K.L. in Alaska
- Live image from Fairbanks, Alaska
- State of Alaska Home page
- State of Alaska Travel and Vacation Information
- http://survivalblog.com/2012/03/_survivalblogs_editor_james_wesley.html A Different View of Alaska as a Retreat Locale, by G.T.
Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012 - best article for understanding Alaska from a survivalist perspective.
- http://www.survivalblog.com/2009/05/letter_re_prince_of_wales_isla.html Letter Re: Prince of Wales Island, Alaska as a Retreat Locale? Monday, May 18, 2009
- http://www.survivalblog.com/2010/02/letter_re_documentary_on_the_s.html Letter Re: Documentary on the Sole Resident of the ANWR Thursday, Feb 25, 2010
- http://www.survivalblog.com/2006/03/buckshot_on_what_do_the_canadi.html Buckshot on: What do the Canadian Bush Pilots Carry?
- See Energy Information Administration, State Report 2009
- Bluemink, Elizabeth. "Size of Exxon spill remains disputed." June 15, 2010. Anchorage Daily News. http://www.adn.com/2010/06/05/1309722/size-of-exxon-spill-remains-disputed.html
- Alaska Oil Spill Commission. "Spill: The Wreck of the Exxon Valdez: Implications for Safe Transport of Oil." February, 1990. http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/noaa_documents/NOAA_related_docs/oil_spills/spill_wreck_ExxonValdez_1990.pdf
- Reprint of pages 5-14 of the AOSC reference, in an easier to read form. http://www.evostc.state.ak.us/facts/details.cfm
- 863 word quotation: Fair Use Source: Rawles, James Wesley. Rawles on Retreats and Relocation. 1st. Clearwater, Idaho: The Clearwater Press, 2007. p. 87. Print. see James Wesley Rawles on Fair Use
- http://www.survivalblog.com/retreatareas.html Recommended Retreat Areas accessed March 30, 2014