Interior Alaska is an expansive land area that stretches between the Alaska Range in the south to the Brooks Range in the north, from the Canadian border in the east to the Bering Sea in west. This massive area was carved out by once massive glaciers that dominated this landscape and is now home to pristine streams and large rivers that supply the Interior of Alaska with fish as well as provide access to many remote villages and towns.
The native Athabascan’s of the Interior made their homes and livelihoods off what the rivers and land provided them. During the summer months they gathered a wide variety of berries and plants as well as fished for salmon. The winters they trapped and hunted the abundant game that makes this land their home.
The Yupik along the coastal regions also relied heavily on the rivers to sustain them as well as the ocean. The abundance of fish and birds during the summer months would help sustain them during the harsher times of winter when food would be scarce.
During the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898, the Yukon River and others served as highways to the Klondike and opened up the resource rich Interior of Alaska which spurred on other discoveries and the establishment of major settlements. Many towns boomed growing into small cities during the gold rushes, but many were abandoned and swallowed back up by the wilderness when the gold disappeared leaving behind a handful of cities such as Fairbanks and Nome.
The Interior of Alaska is known for its warm summers with temperatures getting into the 90 degree Fahrenheit range as coastal winds keep the air trapped between the mountains and the long persistent sunny days warm the air. Likewise, these same forces work together for frigid winters that can see the temperature reach below 60 degrees below Fahrenheit as the sun disappears below the horizon allowing only a few hours of daylight for many months of winter.
The Alcan Highway, which is the main land route that connects Alaska to the rest of the United States, terminates in Fairbanks, Alaska’s second largest city with a little over 35,000 people. The Alaska Railroad also terminates here and is the link between the Interior of Alaska and South central Alaska where many of the supplies are shipped in from.