Alaska – The Last Frontier
September 3, 2015 Dave Z
No, that’s not some weird Star Trek reference. It’s actually the nickname of the the largest state in the U.S.. And it’s aptly named—Alaska is so remote that even the capital city of Juneau isn’t accessible via road. That’s right, if you want to visit the capital (and third most populous city in the state), you’ve got to take a boat or a plane.
For those willing to brave the wilderness, and despite being called a folly by some, Alaska has some of the most awe inspiring sights that you’ll find in the states. Katmai National Park, for example, has bears, glaciers, and some of the best wilderness you’re likely to find.
If you decide camp in Katmai it’s going to be in the back-country. And unlike most other National Parks, they basically just assume you can fend for yourself. No permits required—‘cause really with over 6,300 square miles in the Alaskan wilderness, who else are you really going to run into. It is recommended that you file a back-country travel planner with the park, however. You know, in case you get lost and your spouse wants to come hunt you down to do the dishes or something. Camping in one spot for more than 14 days is prohibited, but all you have to do is move your campsite at least two miles and you’re good to go.
Perhaps the biggest shock to those visiting Alaska for the first time though are the gun laws, which are somewhat more relaxed than most other states. Residents over 21 are permitted to carry a firearm on their person at all times, either open or concealed. Maybe it has something to do with all the bears around.
Another quirk, considering the general lack of roads, are a series of laws regarding the use of roadkill. Yup, you read that right. With such an abundance of big game, it’s no surprise that roadkill is pretty common. If you hit a moose with your car, you are required by state law to notify a State Trooper or a member of the fish and wildlife protection service. They will then come out with a small army of volunteers, gut and butcher the carcass and donate the meat to charity. No sense in wasting the meat.
Provided the car stays in once piece, Alaksa, has a series of roadside glaciers you can see just by hopping out of the car and taking a quick hike. Most states have their series of roadside attractions (like this giant peanut in Georgia), but for our money, glaciers are the coolest of them all. (See what we did there?) If you plan on using a significant amount of ice though, you’ll need to get a permit. But unless you’re carting off glacier ice by the boatload, you probably don’t have to worry about it.
Alaska is beautiful in the summertime, and too darn cold the rest of the year for most normal people. So hop in the car (or plane, or boat), and take a trip you’ll remember for a lifetime! Or at least until the moose get you.
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