National Geographic : 1924 Oct
THE PATH OF ALASKA S BILLION "Everything," says a resident of many years, "is true about Alaska." True or untrue, depending upon of which part of Alaska you happen to be speaking. Notably true are the words of Roosevelt in 1902: "No country has a more valuable possession in min eral wealth, in fisheries, furs and forests." Notably untrue is the prevailing impression that Alaska is a desolate land of ice and snow. Identical in latitude with the prosperous nations of Norway and Sweden, Alaska has a hundred thousand square miles suitable to a high type of agriculture. It contains o2million acres ofmerchantable timber. Its resources in gold and other metals cannot be estimated. Its coal resources are put by the United States Geological Survey at a minimum of igo billion tons. Oil of high quality has been discovered at widely separated points-what this discovery will bring forth, no one yet knows. Alaska's fisheries produce from 40 to 5o million dollars a year. Its first important railroad has just been com pleted. The development of Alaska's tremendous resources has just begun! Yet, already, Alaska carries on a trade with the United States amounting to 80 million dollars a year. Already, Alaska's exports come to a total of over a billion dollars! Quite naturally, most of this billion has gone into the United States. Quite naturally, too, its largest part has gone into the United States by way of the Pacific Northwest ports! For the Pacific Northwest ports are the very door to Alaska. And Alaska's growing commerce con stitutes an important factor in their own growth. Alaska's billion is a bare beginning. Alaska has many billions more to ship in raw materials alone. It will require billions in return. But Alaska's billion has definitely marked the path which the billions that follow it will take-through the ports of Washington and Oregon. Three great developments converge in the Pacific Northwest-that of increasing trade with the Orient, where three-quarters of the world's people are awakening to a recognition of new wants-that of the Pacific Northwest itself, the region offering today the greatest possibility of growth and develop ment ofany in the United States-and that of Alaska. Here is opportunity for the forward-looking ele ment of American industry! That they may appre ciate the full significance of this opportunity, American business men should see both the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Cut out a map of Alaska with the Aleutian Islands, and place it over a map of the United States drawn to the same scale. It will cover one-fifth of the larger map. It will reach the Canadian border at Minnesota, the Mex ican border at Texas, the Atlantic Ocean at South Caro lina, and the Pacific at California! STHE PACIFIC NORTHWEST 5he Chicago Burlington & Quincy RR c/he Northern Pacific Ry. the Great Northern Ry.