Brief History and Background of Anchorage

Anchorage is located in Southcentral Alaska and it is the state’s largest city with a population of about 294,000 residents. Anchorage acts as a gateway to the rest of the state because of its root in transportation. It was established in 1914 as a hub for the construction of the Alaskan railroad. From there, the economy was mostly centered around the railroad. Starting in the 30’s, Anchorage began to grow at a rapid rate because military and air transportation were skyrocketing due to war. A few decades later, an enormous oilfield was found in Alaska. This spurred an oil boom, which resulted in further growth of the city of Anchorage. While oil is still the largest industry in Alaska, other industries such as recreation and tourism have grown very quickly. Alaskans depend on sustainable extraction and mining to maintain the diverse and abundant salmon runs that have given the state its stable economy and rich heritage. It is estimated that visitors spend 798 million in the south-central Alaskan area annually, which employs many Anchorage residents. 

Many people choose to visit Alaska because of the abundance of wildlife in a natural environment. More specifically, a lot of people come here to fish. I have been in Anchorage for less than a day, and I have already seen how important salmon is to the community. The fisheries industry is the second largest form of revenue for the state of Alaska, and it consists of commercial fishing as well as sport fishing. Commercial fishermen and sport fishermen may have very different views on salmon, but at the end of the day salmon have brought people together. If we do not take action to keep salmon runs healthy, then commercial fishermen and sport fishermen alike will not be able to chase salmon in this premier fishery.  

-Anthony Ortiz

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