Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve was formed in 1980. Visitors can view tidewater glaciers and both brown and black bears at this 3.3 million acre park in Alaska. Children could visit the National Park website that provides outstanding etours, children’s activities, and even coloring sheets at: http://www.nps.gov/glba.
Denali National Park and Preserve was created in 1980. The six million acre park contains Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in North America at 20,320 feet. Children could visit the National Park website to see amazing panoramas and interactive activities at: http://www.nps.gov/dena. Denali is home to many kinds of animals. Children could research Denali and its inhabitants. Each child could make a postcard, featuring an animal, from the national park.
Alaska became the forty-ninth state of the United States in 1959. Alaska is by far the largest state, but only two states have less population. The state has experienced booms in furs, fishing, whaling, gold, and oil. Juneau is the state capital. Children can visit an Internet site at: Alaska. Idea: Children could research Alaska more and try to predict its next economic focus.
Exxon Valdez in 1989 spilled about 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska. The spill damaged 1,300 miles of shoreline and killed huge numbers of fish, seabirds, and marine mammals. Some species are still recovering.
Alaska was bought by the United States from Russia in 1867. The purchase was often originally called Seward’s Folly. William Seward, secretary of state, bought Alaska for $1,200,000. That averaged out to about two cents an acre. The 1898 Alaska gold rush was one of the first indicators that the United States had made a good bargain. Children could learn more at: Alaska.
Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) began pumping oil in 1977. Construction began in 1974 in response to the 1973 oil crisis and rising costs of petroleum. Children can learn more at: TAPS.
Bonanza Creek, Alaska, experienced a gold rush in 1896. When Skookum Jim, Dawson Charlie and others discovered gold in Rabbit Creek, the Klondike Gold Rush began. Around 100,000 people tried to travel to the area, but only about 30,000 actually completed the trip. Of that number only 4,000 prospectors found gold. In 1903 production started to decline, and about 1,250,000 pounds of gold were mined in the area. Idea: Children could read about the Klondike Gold Rush. What problems did the prospectors face? Children could learn more at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park at: http://www.nps.gov/klgo/index.htm.
Tongass National Forest was created in the Alaksa panhandle in 1907. The largest national forest in the United States, the Tongass is comprised of 16,700,000 acres of temperate rain forest. The Tongass encompasses nineteen designated winderness areas. Children can learn more at: Tongass.