For many people, a trip to Alaska is a dream come true. They want to see and do everything from watching whales breech in Southeast waters and riding ATVs along Southcentral trails to learning about mining history and searching out the Aurora in Fairbanks. What visitors often don’t realize is just how large Alaska is and the logistics required navigate the state—which is why for some travelers a package tour is just the ticket.
Member of Alaska's business community weigh in on their perspectives for the coming year.
The first thing I notice about the Koyukuk River region from my perch in the cockpit of the tiny bush plane transporting a handful of villagers, visitors, and supplies to the Koyukon Athabascan village of Hughes are the magnificent splashes of bright magenta covering the mountains. Fireweed, true to its name, has completely overtaken the burned remains of hundreds of thousands of forestland left behind after massive fires raged on both sides of the Koyukuk River in 2015.
One of the conveniences of visiting southcentral Alaska is that much of the state’s infrastructure is in this region, radiating out of Anchorage, the state’s population center. In particular, the Alaska Railroad is a unique and convenient way to travel through the region, in part because it has structured its service to cater to visitors that want to follow a strict itinerary and to those wanting the freedom to get just a little lost in the Last Frontier.
I was invited to visit with Alaska Zoo Development Director Jeannette Menchinsky and Curator Shannon Jensen on a brisk morning in April; after Menchinsky and I chatted in her office overlooking Caesar the Alpaca’s pen, we set out into the zoo to meet up with Jensen and happened to come across her just outside the wolf exhibit. While she educated me about some of the rescue animals that the Alaska Zoo has taken in, the wolves began to howl. It’s a blessing I was recording Jensen’s comments because for a moment I heard nothing but the wolves as the young Alaskan in me suddenly and viscerally remembered the Alaska Zoo is just awesome.
It is well recognized that conferences stimulate economic growth in communities, but how do communities ensure they are receiving the maximum value?
There is too much to see on any single trip to Alaska; Alaskans know that there’s too much of Alaska to really take in over a lifetime. But that doesn’t stop a thriving tourism industry from doing its absolute best to show everyone—local or guest—how stunning Alaska can be.
When contemplating what comprises a convention in 2015, one would likely envision a large ballroom or mosaic of smaller meeting rooms, hustling attendees draped with lanyards, decorative tables and booths, myriad events, thoughtful presentations, scattered work sessions, and a large dining room where meals are hastily distributed from lunch to dinner.
There was a time when air travel was the cat’s meow for business and professional connection.
If the work of the Iditarod Trail Committee were limited to simply staging the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, it could be accomplished in roughly four and a half months of dedicated work by a crew of about five full-time staff, five independent contractors, and scads of volunteers to make Alaska’s own Superbowl-class sporting event, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, a success.