By Walter R. Borneman
The historical past of Alaska is stuffed with tales of recent land and new riches -- and ever current are new individuals with competing perspectives over how those assets might be used: Russians exploiting a fur empire; explorers checking rival advances; prospectors stampeding to the clarion name of "Gold!"; squaddies struggling with out a decisive bankruptcy in international warfare; oil wildcatters trying to find a distinct type of mineral wealth; and consistently on the center of those disputes is the query of ways the land is for use and by means of whom.Major issues contain Alaska Natives, exploration and hiking, mining rushes, railroads and aviation, army operations, and the clash pitting conservation opposed to improvement, with a focus at the present debate over oil drilling in ANWR.Some wish Alaska to stay static, others are within the leading edge of swap. Alaska: Saga of a daring Land indicates that there aren't any effortless solutions on both sides and that Alaska will regularly be crossing the following frontier.
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Additional resources for Alaska: Saga of a Bold Land--From Russian Fur Traders to the Gold Rush, Extraordinary Railroads, World War II, the Oil Boom, and the Fight Over ANWR
The Martin River, Steller, Bering, Yahtse, and Guyot Glaciers flow south from it toward the Gulf of Alaska. Everywhere, there are braided rivers and streams laden with glacial silt carving away at the landscape. East of the Chugach, the landscape intensifies even more. The Alaska Range may have Denali, but the Wrangell and St. Elias Mountains are the most extensive realm of towering mountains, raging rivers, and massive glaciers in North America. Twelve of the fifteen highest peaks in Alaska, and ten of the fifteen highest peaks in North America, rise in these ranges.
The highpoint in the western Wrangell Mountains is Mount Sanford (16,237 feet). Its soaring south face rises some 8,000 feet in about one mile, one of the steepest gradients in North America. The Sanford Glacier heads in the massive cirque at the base of the south face and carries with it tons of debris from the rockfall and avalanches that roar down the face. Mount Drum (12,010 feet) is the westernmost of the Wrangell volcanoes. Although 4,000 feet lower than neighboring Mount Sanford, the mountain dominates the local landscape because of its vertical rise above the adjacent Copper River valley.
As it surged toward the ocean, the wave tore mature trees from Lituya’s shoreline up to an elevation of 1,740 feet, leaving a mountainside scar that is still visible. Of course, the Good Friday Earthquake of 1964 reshaped the coastline along hundreds of miles of southcentral Alaska. Even more recent evidence of nature’s capriciousness was the rambling surge of the Hubbard Glacier. The Hubbard heads in the Icefield Ranges of Canada’s Kluane National Park and flows south for more than ninety miles to Disenchantment Bay.
Alaska: Saga of a Bold Land--From Russian Fur Traders to the Gold Rush, Extraordinary Railroads, World War II, the Oil Boom, and the Fight Over ANWR by Walter R. Borneman