Alaska, the Last Frontier, is a vast land mostly surrounded by water. To the north is the Arctic Ocean, to the South is the Gulf of Alaska and Pacific Ocean, to the West is the Bering Sea, and to the East is the border with Canada.
Alaska encompasses 586,400 square miles, with 33,904 miles of shoreline (33% of America’s total shoreline). It is twice the size of Texas, the second largest state in the United States, and one-fifth the area of the entire Continental United States (see Figure 1). About one-quarter of the land mass is above the Arctic Circle, where permafrost locks about two-thirds of the Arctic lands in perpetual ice. The state of Alaska is divided into four areas, including two mountain ranges, a central plateau, and the Arctic Slope or costal plain. The state covers four times zones, and the average temperatures range from a high of 72 to a low of -22 degrees.