South Central | South Central
Southcentral is considered by visitors and locals alike to be the crown jewel of Alaska. Towering mountains, deep fjords, beautiful lakes and spectacular rivers make this a special place even in a State as magnificent as Alaska. It is a playground of activities from world-class fishing and hiking to wildlife viewing. Record sized rainbow trout and salmon attract anglers from all over the world. With so many mountains and lakes, Southcentral offers travelers the experience of a remote wilderness adventure with big city conveniences nearby.
The Southcentral region is comprised of the Matanuska Susitna Valley, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Prince William Sound and the Copper River Basin, all of which are within a few hours drive of Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city. More than half of the State’s residents live here. The military, tourism, fisheries and petroleum production are the mainstays of the economy. Over the past 50 years, the petroleum industry has invested billions of dollars to tap the oil and gas resources of the area, drilling wells on land and throughout the waters of Cook Inlet.
Southcentral is known as the land of fire and ice due to the numerous volcanos and glaciers. There are several dormant and active volcanoes including Mount Redoubt, Mount Iliamna, Mount Augustine, Mount Spurr and Hayes Volcano. There have been several volcanic eruptions over the last 20 years. Mount Pavlof in the Aleutian Range is one of the most active volcanoes in the US with the most recent eruption in May 2014. There is also considerable seismic activity in Southcentral, with over 5000 earthquakes in 2015.
Protected from the fierce Arctic weather by the Alaska Range, the Matanuska Valley is famous for its farm production. The Susitna, Matanuska, and Knik rivers are all active glacial streams terminating in Cook Inlet. The rivers carry large amounts of glacial silt, making the valley one of the most fertile agricultural areas in Alaska. If you are traveling here in the fall be sure and visit the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. World record size vegetables, famous country bands and a great variety of other activities make this a much anticipated event.