Anchorage Today

Modern Day Anchorage

Anchorage is a friendly and vibrant city of nearly 300,000 offering metropolitan amentities such as a Alaska Center of Performing Arts, Anchorage Symphony, Anchorage Opera, with a small town feel!  

Economy 

Anchorage is a major port, receiving over 95% of all freight entering Alaska, as well as a hub of the Alaska Railroad. Major industries include government and military, petroleum, and tourism. There are two U.S. military bases bordering Anchorage on the north: Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson, which have been combined and is commonly known as JBER (Joint Base Elmendor Richardson).

Nearly all Alaska Interior-bound tourists pass through Anchorage at some stage of their journeys in Alaska. Not surprisingly, summer is tourist season, and downtown Anchorage, as well as the highways leading north and south of town, are typically teeming with tourists.

For information about the cost of living in Alaska click this link: Anchorage Cost of Living

Politics 

Anchorage leans heavily Republican in both State and Presidential elections. However, since the establishment of the Municipality in 1975, there have been two Democratic mayors who have been elected to two terms. Downtown is a stronghold of the Democratic Party, while the military bases are the most Republican areas of the Municipality.

Anchorage sends 15 representatives to the 40-member Alaska House of Representatives and 7 senators to the 20-member senate, making up nearly half of both houses. When seats from the neighboring Mat-Su Borough are added, more than half of the Alaska State legislature comes from the Anchorage metropolitan area. This is often used as an argument in favor of moving the state capital from Juneau to a location in the Anchorage area.

Geography 

Anchorage is located in South Central Alaska. It lies slightly farther north than Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki and St. Petersburg. It is northeast of the Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak Island, and Cook Inlet, due north of the Kenai Peninsula, northwest of Prince William Sound and Alaska Panhandle, and nearly due south of Mount McKinley/Denali. 

The city is on a strip of coastal lowland and extends up the lower alpine slopes of the Chugach Mountains. To the south is Turnagain Arm, a fjord that has some of the world's highest tides. Knik Arm, another tidal inlet, lies to the west and north. The Chugach Mountains on the east form a boundary to development, but not to the city limits, which encompass part of the wild alpine territory of Chugach State Park. 

The city's seacoast consists mostly of treacherous mudflats. Newcomers and tourists are warned not to walk in this area because of extreme tidal changes and sticky mud. 

To the north is Matanuska-Susitna Borough (Mat-Su Valley), which is included with the MOA as a metropolitan area by the US Census Bureau. Although the Mat-Su is a "bedroom community" for Anchorage, the towns, exurbs, farms, and homesteads there have varied local cultures quite distinct from that of Anchorage proper. Between metropolitan Anchorage and the valley, the communities of Eagle River and Chugiak, though part of the MOA, also have distinct identities. 

According to the United States Census Bureau, the municipality has a total area of 1,961.1 square miles, of which 1,697.2 square miles is land and 263.9 square miles is water. The total area is 13.46% water. The area of Anchorage is thus larger than that of the state of Rhode Island.

Transportation 

Airports

The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, six miles South from downtown Anchorage, is the airline hub for the state, served by many national and international airlines, including Seattle-based Alaska Airlines as well as a many intrastate airlines and charter air services. The airport is the primary international air freight gateway in the nation, by weight. Twenty-six percent of the tonnage of U.S. international air freight moves through Anchorage.  Merrill Field, a general aviation airport on the edge of downtown, was the 86th-busiest airport in the nation in 2006.

Railroads

The Alaska Railroad offers year-round freight and passenger service along the length of its rail system from Seward (the southern terminus of the system) to Fairbanks (the northern terminus of the system), although passenger service is less frequent in winter than in summer, and some passenger terminals are not serviced in winter. Passenger terminals exist at Talkeetna, Denali National Park, Fairbanks, and other places. These communities are also served by bus line from Anchorage. 

Major highways 

There is one numbered state highway in Anchorage; Alaska Route 1. In Anchorage and southward it is known as the Seward Highway, it connects Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula. Northerly from Anchorage it is known as the Glenn Highway. There is no other road access to Anchorage. A portion of the Seward Highway, approximately 10 miles long (known as the New Seward Highway), is built to freeway standards. 

The six-lane Glenn Highway carries commuter traffic to and from Eagle River, Chugiak, and the Matanuska Valley towns of Palmer and Wasilla. The highway reduces to four lanes north from Eagle River to the junction with the Parks Highway (Alaska Route 3), approximately midway between Wasilla and Palmer, where the Glenn reduces to a two-lane highway. 

Part of Alaska Route 1, as well as parts of other Alaska state highways, are eligible for federal funding as part of the Interstate Highway System. The Glenn Highway is designated as Interstate A-1, and the Seward Highway is designated as Interstate A-3. The Highway to Highway Connection is a $575 million plan for a limited-access highway link between the Glenn and Seward highways, to pass through the Fairview, Mountain View, and Midtown neighborhoods.

Wildlife 

A diverse wildlife population exists in Anchorage and the surrounding area. Approximately 250 black bears and 60 grizzly bears live in the area. Bears are regularly sighted within the city. 

Moose are a common sight. In the Anchorage Bowl, there is a summer population of approximately 250 moose, increasing to as many as 1000 during the winter. They are a hazard to drivers, with over 100 moose killed by cars each year. Two people have been stomped to death by moose in recent years in Anchorage. Cross-country skiers and dog mushers using city trails are charged by moose on numerous occasions; the Alaska Dept of Fish and Game has to destroy some individual aggressive moose in the city every year.

Dall sheep can be commonly sighted along the Seward Highway between Anchorage and Girdwood. Approximately 30 wolves live in the Anchorage area.  There are also beaver dams in local creeks, and it is common to see fox and kits in parking lots close to wooded areas in the spring, and on the tees at local golf courses you have to watch your club covers, lest one will be taken by a quick, sneaky fox!


*Information courtesy of Municipality of Anchorage

Contact Information

Photo of Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC Real Estate
Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC
RE/MAX Dynamic Properties
3350 Midtown Place
Anchorage AK 99503
Bethany (907) 223-1632
Bonnie (907) 223-0005