Q. Alex wants to know, What is Alaska’s biggest resource?
A. Perhaps I should look this up, but I really think I know. It would be oil as first, probably, and then military spending, tourism and fishing. Not sure in which order those would be, but they are all big.
It was 1968 when the biggest oilfield in North America was discovered in Prudhoe Bay. The oil was found on state land, so that meant that overnight the state was very wealthy, and remains so to this day; although it’s unlikely that such a large strike will ever be found again. I said unlikely. Not impossible. Discovering oil meant the building of a 9 billion dollar pipeline, and that provided the means to affluent living for thousands of people.
Our military population figures largely in boosting our economy, even with the downsizing of some bases. Quite a few military families, upon completing their military service, opt to stay and live in the state, getting jobs in the private sector and continuing to input the economy.
In the summer, we host over a million and a half tourists. Many private citizens, as well as businesses, profit greatly from this influx of visitors. I have two friends with bed and breakfaats in their homes and they make enough in the summer to totally pay their mortgages for the year round. And one of them even added a nice motor home in which they tour the lower 48 in the winter.
Our bountiful waters produce over 6 billion pounds of seafood yearly, so that is a big thing. Especially after the studies showing the superiority of wild Alaska salmon over farmed salmon, our salmon sales, already great, really leaped upward.
Hope this helps, Alex. Take care, Bonnie J.