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Fairbanks: Recreation

Fairbanks: Recreation

Sightseeing

Fairbanks is rich in frontier history. One of the main attractions is Pioneer Park, a 44-acre historic theme park on the banks of the Chena River. The Park features a Gold Rush Town with authentic historic buildings, a Native Village with Indian and Eskimo architecture and artifacts, and the riverboat Nenana in drydock. The Kitty Hensley House, home of one of Fairbanks's early citizens, has been restored and is open to the public in Gold Rush Town. A narrow gauge railroad train meanders through the park, and a mini golf course, a mining operation, three museums, and an art gallery are also part of the fun. The Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts is located at Pioneer Park.

There are 20 National Historic Register buildings within the Fairbanks area, including Creamer's Dairy Wildlife Refuge; these sites are a living testament to the area's rich cultural history. Several churches and buildings in the city are of architectural interest. Muskoxen, caribou and reindeer can be seen at the Large Animal Research Station at the University of Alaska Fairbanks which offers tours of its facility from June through September.

Hot springs, gold dredges, gold camps, and engineering projects such as the first water system in permafrost ground and the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline are attractions in the outlying areas. The art of extracting gold from the frozen Alaskan ground is on display at Gold Dredge No. 8, which also has a dining hall and offers an opportunity to pan for gold. The Ester Gold Camp, a popular family attraction, features a 1900s gold camp site and town, a dining hall buffet dinner, a Saloon Show and a view of the Northern Lights set to music. The El Dorado Gold Mine offers two-hour guided tours through a permafrost tunnel, a walking tour of a mining camp, and a chance to pan for gold.

A recommended day trip is a visit to Denali National Park, 120 miles south of Fairbanks. Within its boundaries is North America's tallest mountain, Mt. McKinley (also known locally as Denali). Wildlife such as moose, grizzly bear, mountain sheep, and caribou can be seen in their natural habitat. During the summer months colorful carpets of wild-flowers add to the beauty of the park.

The Georgeson Botanical Garden, on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, offers tours in the summer months. The sternwheeler Riverboat Discovery paddles the Chena River for a three-and-a-half hour cruise and makes stops to visit Iditarod kennels, a traditional Athabascan fish camp and an Old Chena Indian Village.

Fairbanks visitors can take advantage of one or more tour packages to explore the area's beauty, wildlife, and opportunities for outdoor fun. Choices for guided tours are plentiful and varied and can include tours by horseback, canoe, raft, boat, plane, car, snowmobile, dogsled, jet boat, or even hot air balloon. Day-long and multi-day trips are available to a number of destinations for individuals and groups.

The Aurora Borealis is one natural wonder that visitors shouldn't miss when visiting the area. Recommended viewing is from September to April, with February, March, September, and October as the very best months (the midnight sun makes viewing difficult in the summer months). There are a variety of options for viewing the Northern Lights, with special guided tours of the Aurora Circle and lodges catering to Aurora viewers.

Arts and Culture

As the cultural center of the Interior, Fairbanks is home to the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra, the Arctic Chamber Orchestra, Fairbanks Art Association, Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre, and the Fairbanks Drama Association & Fairbanks Children's Theatre. Musical comedy revues and light opera productions are staged by the Fairbanks Light Opera Theater, the Center Stage, and the Palace Saloon.

The city has several museums relating to the natural and cultural history of the area. The University of Alaska Museum of the North is one of the most frequently visited tourist attractions in the state and is the only natural and cultural museum in Alaska. Blue Babe, the Ice Age's only restored steppe bison mummy, Alaska's largest public display of gold and Alaskan native artifacts are on exhibit. Scheduled to open in September 2005 is an addition which will display the museum's art collection, and house office space and lab space for processing animals and performing DNA testing. Fairbanks Community Museum chronicles the history of Fairbanks from its founding in 1901 to the present with a focus on the Gold Rush era and mining. In the same building is the Dog Mushing Museum which exhibits sleds, clothing, harnesses, trophies, and cold weather expedition gear. Life-size ice sculptures are on view at the Fairbanks Ice Museum which preserves year-round some of the sculptures carved during the World Ice Art Championships held annually in March.

The Alaska Public Lands Information Center provides both exhibits and recreation information on state and federal land in Alaska for those planning a trip to the "back country." Information on camping grounds, hiking trails, scenic drives, and fishing spots is available. Several art galleries are also located in Fairbanks, including the Alaska House Art Gallery and Tundra Walker Studio.

Festivals and Holidays

The North American Championship Preliminary Sled Dog Races are held in December and January. In February the Yukon Quest International Dog Sled Race is a 1,000-mile run on gold rush trails. The Tesoro Iron Dog Gold Rush Classic, also in February, is the world's longest snowmobile race. In February or early March the Ice Alaska/Winter Carnival showcases the World Ice Art Championships, an 11-day international ice carving competition. Folk, celtic, bluegrass, orchestral, and gospel music are all on stage at the Fairbanks Folk Festivals held in February and June. March is the month for the Open North American Sled Dog Championships, which attracts top sprint mushers from the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Japan, as well as the Junior North American Sled Dog Championships. Native people from all over the state gather to share their dancing, singing, storytelling, and traditional arts and crafts at the Annual Festival of Native Arts.

June is a busy month, with the Midnight Sun Baseball Game during the summer solstice when the sun never sets and the Yukon 800, a marathon riverboat race. Music, theater, story telling, creative writing, visual arts, dance, and ice skating are on display at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks during the last two weeks in July. Also in July, Golden Days celebrates the rich gold-mining history of Fairbanks; a hairy chest, legs, and beard contest is one highlight of the five-day festival. In the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, another July event, Native people from all over the Arctic compete in games of strength and endurance; among other highlights are storytelling and Native dances.

The Tanana Valley State Fair is held in August, followed by Oktoberfest. The Athabascan Old-Time Fiddling Festival in November celebrates a musical format that is a composite of French Canadian and Scottish-Arcadian styles fused with Native tunes. Fairbanks celebrates the Winter Solstice each weekend in December with Santa, live music, and family activities downtown.

Sports for the Spectator

The Fairbanks area supports a baseball team, the Alaska Goldpanners, college players from the lower 48 who play their games at Growden Field. The University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks basketball and ice hockey teams host games on the University of Alaska campus and in the Carlson Center in town.

Dog mushing is the official sport of the state of Alaska, and Fairbanks is the site of mushing competitions throughout the winter. Mushing demonstrations can be seen in summer, but serious racing requires cool temperatures and snow. The Fairbanks Curling Club hosts competitions with teams from throughout Alaska, Canada, and the United States. The Greater Fairbanks Racing Association sponsors summer stock and sprint car racing nearly every weekend starting Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day at the Mitchell Raceway. The Sundawgs Rugby Football Club plays rugby during the Golden Days festival in July. Fairbank's junior ice hockey team is the Ice Dogs, a North American Hockey League team.

Sports for the Participant

Running is a popular activity in Fairbanks. The Equinox Marathon, said to be the second most challenging marathon in the U.S., is a 26-mile race to the top of Ester Dome. The Midnight Sun Run is held in conjunction with the celebration of the summer solstice, and the Chena River 5K Run is held in May.

Many city and area parks offer facilities for a variety of year-round indoor and outdoor recreational activities. Among the most popular pursuits are downhill and cross-country skiing, fishing, canoeing, goldpanning, hiking, hockey, hunting, ice skating, jogging, nature walks, tennis, swimming, volleyball, and racquetball. Smooth paved trails along the Chena River are ideal for biking and rollerblading. Fairbanks boasts three golf courses including the northernmost golf course, where during the mid-summer, golfers can play golf 24 hours a day. Winter is a favorite time for swimming in nearby hot springs. A skate board park and volleyball courts are located at Growden Park. Birch Hill Park, a few minutes north of Fairbanks, is a 460-acre park with hiking and running trails, mountain biking, and bird watching in the summer.

Shopping and Dining

Fairbanks has a number of shopping malls and neighborhood stores. Specialty shops feature Alaska native arts and crafts and jewelry fashioned from ivory, jade, and hematite, as well as handmade fur garments. Visitors can watch the manufacture of Alaskan birch bowls at the Great Alaskan Bowl Company where they are also for sale. Santa Claus House, located 13 miles from Fairbanks in the city of North Pole, has become a landmark, drawing visitors from throughout the world to shop for Alaskan gifts, jewelry, and clothing. Local farmers and craft makers display their wares at the Farmers' Market, open Wednesdays and Saturdays from May through the end of summer next to the Tanana Valley Fair Grounds. The city's main commercial district extends along Airport Way, between University Ave. and Cushman St. where most of the fast-food chains and malls can be found. Many bars, restaurants and businesses that cater to the university crowd are located along University Ave. and College Rd.

Dozens of restaurants in Fairbanks provide a wide range of cuisine in casual and elegant settings. Area restaurants specialize in fish from inland waters to more casual fare including miners's stew served in the dining halls of the local gold mines. Visitors can also enjoy Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, and Mexican specialties. Salmon, halibut and cod are the specialties at the Alaska Salmon Bake, one of the more popular venues with its Palace Theater and Saloon in Gold Rush Town. Located in Pioneer Park, it features evening entertainment in the summer with its "Golden Heart Revue."

Visitor Information: Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau, 550 First Avenue, Fairbanks, AK 99701-4790; telephone (907)456-5774; toll-free (800)327-5774; fax (907)452-4190

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Fairbanks: Economy

Fairbanks: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

As Alaska's second largest city, Fairbanks is an important trading, transportation, military, regional service and supply center. City, borough, state and federal government services are located here. The government services sector, including the military, employs more than one-third of the region's workers. The city's international airport serves villages in the region, is a supply point for North Slope oil fields, and is a center for the transport of cargo by international carriers.

Military activity is a significant contributor to the local economy. The combined payrolls at Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base are in excess of $354 million. According to the Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation, the total economic impact of the two military bases to the Greater Fairbanks community is $390.9 million annually. A total of almost 17,000 military active duty personnel lived in Fairbanks North Star Borough in 2004, comprising more than 20 percent of the total borough population. This figure is an increase of 1.6 percent from the previous year. In 2003, the United States Army Alaska began the transformation of the 172nd Brigade from a Light Infantry Brigade to a Stryker Brigade. One-third of the more than 1000 soldiers, plus dependents and support personnel, is already posted at Fort Wainwright, with the balance to be transferred to the Fort possibly as early as 2006 when housing and related infrastructure are in place. The Fairbanks North Star Borough's economy will benefit from the housing construction, rental and utility income, wages, and additional visitors these soldiers bring to the area.

Tourism and mining also comprise a large percentage of the commercial activity in the region. Each summer, approximately 325,000 visitors travel to Fairbanks. However, visitor numbers have declined from a high in the summer of 2001. The Fort Knox gold mine is the largest producing gold mine in the state. It produces 1,200 ounces of gold daily and employs 360 permanent year-round workers. Despite gold prices tumbling below $300 per ounce, the mine is still acquiring prospects in the region in order to expand its operation. To date, more than $200 million in gold has been extracted from the mining district. The mine is expected to remain in operation through 2010.

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

State programs

The Governor's Office of International Trade provides assistance and information to firms interested in foreign trade and investment, organizes trade missions and promotions, and sponsors trade shows and seminars.

Local programs

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offers seminars, counseling, and workshops for new and established businesses to support their existence and help them grow. The Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) assists businesses who contract with local, state, or federal government.

Job training programs

A variety of training programs exist to help meet the business needs of Fairbanks employers; many are organized through the local educational institutions. Tanana Chiefs' Conference offers a wide array of programs for tribal populations through its Employment and Training Department. The Chamber of Commerce offers the School Business Partnership, which allows businesses and schools to work together.

Development Projects

Fairbanks and other Alaska officials are working toward the development of an 800-mile natural gas pipeline, which would run from the North Slope to a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant to be developed at Valdez for export to the rest of North America. The All-Alaska Gas Pipeline will run parallel to the existing Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline. In 2005, the Alaska Gasline Port Authority (AGPA) had reached a development agreement with Sempra LNG to assist in the development of the All-Alaska Pipeline Project and market the related LNG. Work was underway to acquire permits and the rights of way from Yukon Pacific for building the pipeline. The first LNG tanker is projected to leave the terminal at Valdez sometime around 2011. A 40 percent portion of project revenues will be shared among the Alaskan municipalities. The cost of the pipeline could approach $9 billion.

A major plan to redevelop the land surrounding the river bend in the Chena River for recreational, commercial and residential use is on the drawing board. Plans include the creation of a public riverwalk to provide direct access to the river and its recreational opportunities, along with the improvement of Pioneer Park and Carlson Center. Along the river, the construction of a fish hatchery and indoor/outdoor tennis courts, as well as the demolition of a sewer treatment facility are scheduled for 2005 and 2006. The Chena Riverbend Project is slated for completion in 2010.

Construction of a new $25 million fish hatchery is also planned for Fairbanks. A feasibility study was completed in 2004, with design, site selection, environmental assessment, and site preparation scheduled for 2005-2006. The actual construction of the hatchery is planned for 2007-2008, with operation to begin the following year. Not only is the hatch-ery expected to increase the number of stocked catchable fish to provide a better fishing experience for tourists, it will also be an important tourist destination itself. It could also be the source of research dollars for the University of Alaska Fairbanks' fish biology program.

Fairbanks' extreme climate has become a real asset for the area as the city was chosen as the site for the construction of a Research Test Facility (RTF) for the Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC). It will be built on land adjacent to the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. Plans call for it to be the first of several test facilities in a future research test park. RTF construction alone is expected to have a $4.5 million impact on the area's economy, with an additional annual direct economic impact of between $800,000 in 2005 to $1.4 million in 2009.

Commercial Shipping

As the only large city and main business center in interior Alaska, Fairbanks is a major transportation hub. Goods are shipped via truck, air and the Alaska Railroad. Fairbanks International Airport functions as the air freight distribution and supply center for the region. In 2003, the airport handled almost 200 million tons of air transit freight. Fourteen motor freight carriers transport goods through facilities in the city.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Continued slow population growth is projected in Fairbanks, especially among the working-age population. However, the Fairbanks North Star Borough has seen its population steadily increase over the past four decades. The senior population is projected to nearly triple by 2020, while the school-age population will grow about 10 percent by 2005 then hold steady for the next 15 years. Fairbanks-area businesses that cater to the needs of seniors will prosper, but there will be more competition by employers to find workers. The construction of the All-Alaska Pipeline is expected to bring new jobs to the area with a total of 7,600 total new jobs to the State of Alaska. The transfer of military personnel to Fort Wainwright will also augment the area's labor force. The projection for growth in the construction industry through 2012 is 15.5 percent statewide.

The following is an annual summary of data regarding the Fairbanks labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of non-agricultural labor force: 36,900

Number of workers employed in . . .

natural resources and mining: 900

construction: 2,700

manufacturing: 500

trade, transportation and utilities: 7,300

information: 600

financial activities: 1,400

professional and business services: 2,100

education and health services: 4,100

leisure and hospitality: 4,100

other services: 1,300

government: 11,500

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $12.16

Unemployment rate: 7.6% (January 2005)

Largest private employers Number of employees
Banner Health System 1,204
Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. 1,007
Tanana Chiefs Conference 669
Fairbanks Gold Mining Co. 376
Petro Star 308

Cost of Living

Despite Alaska's reputation for its high cost of living, prices in Fairbanks compare favorably with those in many other North American cities. In 2002, Fairbanks's cost of living index was lower than New York or Boston, for example. In addition, the personal tax burden for Fairbanks residents is extremely low. Residents benefit from distributions from the Permanent Fund, a savings account established in 1976 by voters allowing residents to receive 25 percent of the state's royalty oil revenue. Senior citizens enjoy a $150,000 property tax exemption or a renter's rebate. The availability of vast natural resources insures utility costs somewhat lower than the national average.

The following is a summary of data regarding key cost of living factors for the Fairbanks area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $349,615

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 128.4 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: None

State sales tax rate: None

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: None

Property tax rate: 20.777 mills for city of Fairbanks; (7.171 City and 13.606 Borough areawide)

Special taxes: 5% alcohol tax (city only); 16% tobacco tax (8% city/8% borough); 8% accommodations tax (city only)

Economic Information: Alaska Department of Labor, Research and Analysis, PO Box 25501, Juneau, AK 99802-5501.

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Fairbanks: Education and Research

Fairbanks: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Public elementary and secondary schools in Fairbanks are part of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District (FNSBSD), the second largest in the state. The district is administered by a nonpartisan, seven-member school board with three non-voting advisory members, which appoints a superintendent. Students in the district come from 50 different language backgrounds. The district opened a new Fairbanks Magnet School for grades K-8 at Barnette Elementary School in fall 2005. The Yukon-Koyukuk School District, headquartered in Fairbanks, covers the Western interior of Alaska. Serving an area of 65,000 square miles, the district is larger than the state of Washington. The District's 11 schools serve 10 villages with 500 school-aged children in grades K-12. More than 90 percent of the students are Tanana or Koyukon Athabaskan Indians.

The following is a summary of data regarding public schools in the FNSBSD as of the 20032004 school year.

Total enrollment: 15,412

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 19

middle schools: 4

junior/senior high: 1

senior high schools: 3

other: 1 vocational education center, 1 correspondence school, 2 charter schools, 1 magnet school

Student/teacher ratio: 17.5:1

Teacher salaries (2004-2005)

minimum: $35,605

maximum: $69,073

Funding per pupil: $6,691

Private schools, including seven religious schools, with an enrollment of about 1,800 students, provide alternative forms of education in the Fairbanks area.

Public Schools Information: Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, 520 Fifth Avenue, Fairbanks, AK 99701-4756; telephone (907)452-2000

Colleges and Universities

Fairbanks is home to the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), which offers 162 degrees in more than 112 disciplines to its 10,400 students. Programs of study include developmental programs and certificate, associate, baccalaureate, and graduate/professional programs in the arts, sciences, career fields, and professions. It is Alaska's only doctoral-granting institution. UAF possesses unique strengths in both the physical and natural sciences and offers a broad array of engineering programs with particular emphasis on the northern environment. UAF is the state's center for the study of Alaska native cultures and languages, and also offers a northern studies program.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Fairbanks North Star Borough Public Library operates a main facility in the city, the Noel Wien Public Library, and a branch in the city of North Pole, which is a community of 1,600 residents 11 miles from Fairbanks. Mail library service is available. The library houses about 269,000 volumes, periodicals, tapes, and films. The Elmer E. Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks houses more than 1.75 million items, making it the largest library in the State. Its holdings include books, periodicals, photography, manuscripts, films, oral histories, rare books, maps, micro-fiches, tapes, records, and prints. Its Alaska and Polar Regions collection is one of the world's finest.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) ranks among the top 100 universities in the nation for its research and development activities. It also ranks 55th out of 200 universities in the amount of research money awarded by the National Science Foundation. In 2003-2004, UAF received $175 million for research activities, more than triple the amount received just six years earlier. Among UAF's many outstanding research schools and institutes are the School of Fisheries and Ocean Science, the Geophysical Institute, the Institute of Arctic Biology, the Polar Ice Coring Office, the Institute of Northern Engineering, and the Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station. The Arctic Region Supercomputing Center, a collaboration between the UAF and the Department of Defense, supports computational research in science and engineering with emphasis on high latitudes and the arctic. A $32 million, 100,000-square-foot International Arctic Research Center provides office and research space for scientists from around the world. Research at the Center focuses on four major spheres: arctic ocean circulation, arctic atmosphere, permafrost/frozen soil, and arctic vegetation. The most recent addition to research efforts at UAF is the Office of Electronics Miniaturization (OEM), which replaces the former Center for Nanosensor Technology. The Office boasts a Class 10,000 Clean Room, equipped with Chip-Scale Packaging and related technologies. UAF is engaged in prototyping design development and production through a cooperative agreement with the Department of Defense's Defense MicroElectronics Activity (DMEA). Finally, the Poker Flats Research Range, located 33 miles north of Fairbanks, is a scientific rocket launching facility owned by the University of Alaska under contract to NASA. Poker Flat houses many scientific instruments for the study of the arctic atmosphere and ionosphere.

The Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks researches and develops the latest building technologies and products for cold climate regions. Alaska's full range of climatic conditions and a cold season which lasts for six months or longer provides researchers ample time to conduct experiments and evaluations of housing performance. The Agricultural Research Service projects in the area focus on aquaculture, crop protection, plant diseases, and plant, microbial and insect genetics.

Public Library Information: Fairbanks North Star Borough Public Library and Regional Center, 1215 Cowles Street, Fairbanks, AK 99701; telephone (907)459-1020

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Fairbanks: History

Fairbanks: History

Discovery of Gold Brings Prospectors, Settlers

Fairbanks was founded accidentally in 1901 by CaptainE. T. Barnette. On his way to set up a trading post on the Tanana River, Barnette was instead stranded on the Chena River when the riverboat in which he was traveling was forced to turn back. As he was making plans to move his supplies to a more profitable location, gold was discovered about 12 miles away, near Fox. An Italian prospector, Felix Pedro, is credited with having made the discovery on July 22, 1902. Every year on that date, Fairbanks commemorates the gold strike with the Golden Days celebration.

During the ensuing gold rush, Barnette's trading post became the center of activity for prospectors who swarmed into the area. A settlement grew up and was named for Senator Charles Fairbanks of Indiana who served as vice president under Theodore Roosevelt from 1905-1909; the town was incorporated in 1903. Barnette was elected the first mayor of Fairbanks. He is credited with establishing telephone service, fire protection, sanitation ordinances, electricity and steam heat, but he soon fell into disfavor as a result of his involvement in a bank failure that caused many citizens to lose their savings.

Oil and Military Buildup Replace Gold as Economic Pillars

By 1910 the population of Fairbanks grew to 3,541 people, although more than 6,000 miners lived and worked their claims north of town. During World War I, however, gold activity declined and the population of the town decreased. The start of the construction of the Alaska Railroad brought another boom period, so that by 1930 the population was restored to about half of its previous level.

In 1922 the Alaska Territorial legislature accepted lands granted by the United States Congress, creating the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, which grew into the University of Alaska Fairbanks. During World War II the Alaska Highway was constructed as part of the military buildup, and Fairbanks experienced yet another boom period when thousands of military personnel were located at nearby Eielson Air Force Base and Ladd Field (now Fort Wainwright). Military personnel in the area grew from 10 in 1940 to 5,419 in 1950. Following the war, the Fairbanks population again declined, but during the following decade the community experienced gradual growth.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough was established on January 1, 1964, by an act of the Alaska State Legislature. The Borough includes the cities of Fairbanks and North Pole and encompasses 7,361 square miles (4.7 million acres), making it the fourth largest borough in the state.

In August 1967, just weeks before the expected winter freeze-up, the city was swept by a flood that inundated 95 percent of its residences and left the city under eight feet of water. Fairbanks recovered from the extensive damage, and with the discovery in 1968 of oil on the north slope of the Brooks Mountain Range, the city entered a new era of expansion.

Construction of the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline triggered one of the city's largest booms, and the population is estimated to have reached 70,000 persons in 1977. With the completion of the pipeline construction, the community's economy went into a serious decline, but it soon recovered with the injection of state revenues in the early 1980s. By the mid-1980s, however, crude oil prices had dropped and Alaska slipped into a severe recession, with Fairbanks experiencing the most abrupt decline in the state. Since then the local economy has recovered somewhat, but high unemployment rates continued into the new millennium.

Today, Fairbanks is a popular tourist destination; visitors are attracted to its boundless opportunities for outdoor adventure and its pioneer spirit still reflected in its gold mines, saloons and frontier towns.

Historical Information: Fairbanks Historic Preservation Foundation, telephone (907)456-8848; Tanana Yukon Historical Society, telephone (907)455-8947

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Fairbanks: Population Profile

Fairbanks: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents (Fairbanks North Star Borough)

1980: 53,983

1990: 77,720

2000: 82,840

2003 estimate: 85,978

Percent change, 19902000: 6.6%

U.S. rank in 1980: Not reported

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: Not reported

City Residents

1980: 22,645

1990: 30,843

2000: 30,224

2003 estimate: 30,970

Percent change, 19902000: - 2.4%

U.S. rank in 1990: 878th

U.S. rank in 2000: Not reported (State rank: 3rd)

Density: 948.7 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 20,150

Black or African American: 3,370

American Indian and Alaska Native: 2,994

Asian: 821

Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 164

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 1,854

Other: 740

Percent of residents born in state: 30.4% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 2,908

Population 5 to 9 years old: 2,503

Population 10 to 14 years old: 2,233

Population 15 to 19 years old: 2,283

Population 20 to 24 years old: 3,423

Population 25 to 34 years old: 5,588

Population 35 to 44 years old: 4,340

Population 45 to 54 years old: 3,262

Population 55 to 59 years old: 989

Population 60 to 64 years old: 709

Population 65 to 74 years old: 1,086

Population 75 to 84 years old: 700

Population 85 years and older: 200

Median age: 27.6 years

Births (2003, Fairbanks North Star Borough) Total number: 1,565

Deaths (2002, Fairbanks North Star Borough) Total number: 283

Money Income (1999)

Per capita income: $19,814

Median household income: $40,577

Total number of households: 11,075

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 822

$10,000 to $14,999: 820

$15,000 to $24,999: 1,468

$25,000 to $34,999: 1,615

$35,000 to $49,999: 2,052

$50,000 to $74,999: 2,167

$75,000 to $99,999: 1,086

$100,000 to $149,999: 802

$150,000 to $199,999: 206

$200,000 or more: 94

Percent of families below poverty level: 7.4% (41.8% of which were female householder families with related children under 5)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: Not reported

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Fairbanks: Communications

Fairbanks: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

The major daily newspaper in Fairbanks is the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, published in the morning. The Northstar Weekly is distributed in Fairbanks, North Pole and surrounding communities. The University of Alaska Fairbanks publishes the Sun Star Newspaper.

Television and Radio

Five television stations broadcast in Fairbanks; cable is available. Seventeen AM and FM radio stations broadcast in the Fairbanks metropolitan area, providing a variety of music, news, and information programming.

Media Information: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 200 North Cushman St., Fairbanks, AK 99707; telephone (907)456-6661

Fairbanks Online

City of Fairbanks website. Available www.ci.fairbanks.ak.us

Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau. Available www.explorefairbanks.com

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Available www.newsminer.com

Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation. Available www.investfairbanks.com

Fairbanks North Star Borough Home Page. Available www.co.fairbanks.ak.us

Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. Available www.northstar.k12.ak.us

Fairbanks North Star Public Library. Available www.co.fairbanks.ak.us

Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce. Available www.fairbankschamber.org

State of Alaska. Available www.state.ak.us

University of Alaska Fairbanks. Available www.uaf.edu

Selected Bibliography

Anders, Joyce J., Anders of Two Rivers (Fairbanks, Alaska: Jenny M. Publishers, 1997)

Blunk, R. Glendon, Yearning Wild: Exploring the Last Frontier and the Landscape of the Heart (Montpelier,Vermont: Invisible Cities Press, 2002)

Cole, Dermot, Amazing Pipeline Stories (Epicenter Press, 1997) Cole, Dermot, Fairbanks: A Gold Rush Town that Beat the Odds (Epicenter Press, 1999)

Fejes, Claire, Cold Starry Night: An Alaskan Memoir (Fairbanks, Alaska: Epicenter Press, 1996)

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Fairbanks: Convention Facilities

Fairbanks: Convention Facilities

More than 12 hotels and more than 65 bed-and-breakfast properties in Fairbanks offer a combined total of 2,000 guest accommodations and a wide variety of meeting space. The largest meeting and exhibition facility is the Carlson Center, which features a 35,000-square-foot arena and several meeting rooms, for a combined total of 50,000 square feet of space that can accommodate more than 1,200 meeting participants, 200 trade show exhibits, or 4,000 people for a concert or sports event. The Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts at Pioneer Park houses a 384-seat theater, art gallery, exhibit areas, meeting rooms and all-purpose hall. Also at Pioneer Park is the Birch Hill Cross Country Ski Center which has a 2,400 square foot assembly room. The Chief Peter John Tribal Hall (capacity 750 people) and Mushers Hall are downtown banquet and meeting facilities. The University of Alaska Museum of the North and the Tanana Valley State Fair also provide many options for meeting spaces for any type of function.

Hotel properties with meeting and conference facilities include the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge, Westmark Fairbanks Hotel and Conference Center, Wedgewood Resort, Pike's Waterfront Lodge, Regency Fairbanks Hotel, and Sophie Station Hotel. Chena Hot Springs Resort, located 56 miles outside of Fairbanks, offers meeting space that can accommodate more than 100 people.

Convention Information: Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau, 550 First Avenue, Fairbanks, AK 99701; telephone (907)457-3282; toll-free (800) 327-5774, fax (907)452-4190; email info@explorefairbanks.com

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Fairbanks

Fairbanks

Fairbanks: Introduction
Fairbanks: Geography and Climate
Fairbanks: History
Fairbanks: Population Profile
Fairbanks: Municipal Government
Fairbanks: Economy
Fairbanks: Education and Research
Fairbanks: Health Care
Fairbanks: Recreation
Fairbanks: Convention Facilities
Fairbanks: Transportation
Fairbanks: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1901 (incorporated 1903)

Head Official: Mayor Steve M. Thompson (since 2001)

City Population

1980: 22,645

1990: 30,843

2000: 30,224

2003 estimate: 30,970

Percent change, 19902000: - 2.4%

U.S. rank in 1990: 878th

U.S. rank in 2000: Not reported (State rank: 3rd)

Metropolitan Area Population (Fairbanks North Star Borough)

1980: 53,983

1990: 77,720

2000: 82,840

Percent change, 19902000: 6.6%

U.S. rank in 1980: Not reported

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: Not reported

Area: 32.67 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 432 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 30.4° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 11.5 inches with 67.8 inches of snowfall

Major Economic Sectors: Government, services

Unemployment Rate: 7.6% (January 2005)

Per Capita Income: $19,814 (1999)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: Not reported

Major Colleges and Universities: University of Alaska Fairbanks

Daily Newspaper: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

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Fairbanks: Transportation

Fairbanks: Transportation

Approaching the City

The Fairbanks International Airport is served by Alaska Airlines, Alaska Central Express, Cargolux Airlines International and Lufthansa. Alaska Airlines has regularly scheduled daily flights to Anchorage and Seattle. Direct connections to major cities and international connections are made through Anchorage International Airport. Airport shuttle service into Fairbanks is available.

Principal routes into Fairbanks are the Alaska Highway, running southeast to northwest, which connects the city with the lower 48 states through Canada, and the George Parks Highway, leading south to Anchorage. Fairbanks is also connected with Anchorage via the Richardson Highway. The Dalton Highway connects Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay near the Arctic Ocean.

The Alaska Railroad, which links Fairbanks to Anchorage, Denali Park, and Seward on the Kenai Peninsula, has Fairbanks for its northern terminus.

Traveling in the City

Chartered bus tours operate throughout the tourist season in Fairbanks. The Metropolitan Area Commuter System (MACS) operates four bus routes and the Van Tran paratransit services. Alaska Cab provides taxi service in Fairbanks.

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Fairbanks: Geography and Climate

Fairbanks: Geography and Climate

Fairbanks is located in the Tanana Valley in the Interior of Alaska, 358 miles north of Anchorage and 125 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Significant changes in solar heat during the year produce a wide variation of temperatures from winter to summer. During the summer months (June and July) the sun is above the horizon 18 to nearly 21 hours per day and temperatures are often in the high 80s. From November to March, daylight ranges from 10 to less than 4 hours daily, and temperatures can drop to -60 degrees Fahrenheit. During the winter, ice fog can occur if the temperature drops below -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Fairbanks rarely experiences windy conditions.

Area: 32.67 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 432 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, -10.2° F; August, 55.4° F; annual average, 30.4° F

Annual Average Precipitation: 11.5 inches with 67.8 inches of snowfall

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Fairbanks: Introduction

Fairbanks: Introduction

Fairbanks is the second-largest city in Alaska, the northern-most city in the United States, and one of only a few communities in the entire world where a concentration of people is living at such an extreme northern latitude. Despite being the trade, transportation, and cultural center of the Alaskan Interior, Fairbanks has maintained much of its frontier character. Mining camps, swinging-door saloons, and unpaved roads mingle with modern hotels and restaurants, a symphony orchestra, and an internationally known research university. Fairbanks has almost continuous daylight from the middle of May through the end of July; on June 21st, the longest day of the year, Fairbanks has more than 20 hours of sunlight. The most distinctive feature of the city, however, is its weather: with long winter nights, snow covering the ground six months of the year, Fairbanks is quintessentially Alaska.

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Fairbanks

Fairbanks, city (1990 pop. 30,843), Fairbanks North Star Borough, E central Alaska, on the Chena River near its confluence with the Tanana; inc. 1903. Fairbanks is the only sizable urban center in the vast Alaskan interior. Government, mining, tourism, oil pipeline services, and lumbering are important to its economy. Gold was discovered there, in an area sparsely inhabited by Athabascan peoples, in 1902; Fairbanks boomed briefly, then grew as the Alaska RR opened the region. Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base are now central to area development. Nearby is the Univ. of Alaska. Dogsled racing draws visitors, and the city has art galleries, theaters, a symphony, museums, and other cultural institutions.

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Fairbanks: Health Care

Fairbanks: Health Care

Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, the only civilian hospital in the region, serves 98,000 people in an area covering some 250,000 square miles. Operated by the Banner Health System, Fairbanks Memorial is a modern 142-bed facility that has been expanded and remodeled several times since its opening in 1972. Recent additions to the hospital include a newly expanded laboratory, Mental Health wing and Cancer Treatment Center. Memorial Hospital's sister hospital in Denali Center is a 110-bed facility.

Bassett Army Hospital at Fort Wainwright serves military personnel and retirees. Clinics in the area are the Tanana Valley Clinic, the Fairbanks Clinic, and a public health center.

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Fairbanks: Municipal Government

Fairbanks: Municipal Government

Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB), similar to a county, is governed by an 11-member assembly and an elected mayor who is the chief executive officer. The mayor serves for three years as the executive and administrative officer of the city; elected council members serve for staggered three-year terms. Administration for the public school system is the responsibility of the FNSB.

Head Official: Mayor Steve M. Thompson (since 2001; current term expires 2007)

Total Number of City Employees: 468 (2005)

City Information: City of Fairbanks, 800 Cushman, Fairbanks, AK 99701; telephone (907)459-6793; fax (907) 459-6787

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Fairbanks

Fairbankscrux, dux, flux, lux, luxe, tux •afflux • efflux • Benelux • conflux •bollocks, Pollux •flummox, lummox •Lennox • barracks • Trossachs •circs, Merckx, Perks •gasworks • steelworks • printworks •waterworks • calx •Franks, Hanks, Manx, Shanks •Fairbanks • phalanx • Gollancz •spindleshanks •jinks, jinx, lynx, methinks, minx, sphinx •larynx, pharynx •Bronx, Tonks, yonks •Monks • quincunx

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