Get lost in an Alaska Ecotourism Vacation
The gorgeous landscape and breathtaking wilderness of Alaska continues to bring over one million visitors each year, more than twice the state’s population. The land of huge brown Kodiak brown bears, beluga whales and huge icebergs. Tourism has become one of the most important means of revenue and numerous tour operators offer ‘wildlife’ experiences for curious visitors who crave that perfect nature escape. Sustainable tourism is also on the rise as many people seek to lessen their global footprint and protect the land for generations to come.
Why Visit Alaska?
Only 20 percent of Alaska is accessible by road, which means that the rest of this massive state (twice the size of Texas) is pure, unadulterated wilderness. Alaska is also home to a number of wildlife such as the world’s largest bear species, the Kodiak Brown Bear. Not to mention the largest concentration of bald eagles in the world and Moose. Alaska is also very mountainous and full of glaciers, with over 15 of the tallest mountains in North America with Mt. McKinley’s peak reaching 20,320 feet, the highest in North America.
Glacier Bay National Park and
Preserve, in the panhandle west of Juneau, contains over 50 glaciers. A fascinating sight to see as huge blocks (called calving) break away from the main glacier, causing quite a noisy experience. When to visit is up to the person, the warmest months reaching an average of 75-85 Fahrenheit between late June
and mid-August, with temperatures bordering on frigid from late September to the end of May. The winter does have one advantage, its the only time you can spot the majestic Northern lights, and check out the famous Ididarod sled dog races which begin in Anchorage, where half the states population inhabits.
The adventurous can try local food favorites such as whale blubber and buy dried meats like moose jerky and deer sausage from local Eskimo populations. Those with kids might consider trekking to North Pole, Alaska – a city in Christmas-mode 24/7 and near the city of Fairbanks. For those who love to stay active, Alaska is an ideal vacation spot. Hunting and fishing (salmon and halibut) are especially popular.
The incredible nature in Alaska will only remain breathtaking if actions are taken to conserve as best we can and make sustainable travel choices. When searching for an eco-friendly tour company, it should be kept in mind that while the word ‘eco-friendly’ is an attractive call-to-action not all tour companies who claim to be eco, follow through with their pledge to remain environmentally conscious. When looking for an agency, we recommend asking questions like “Do you recycle and if so, how? Do you use local products? How do pledge to leave as minimum a trace as possible and make sure to ask if they are a part of the Alaska Wilderness Recreation and Tourism Association.