The real Alaska is vanishing
From his undisciplined beard to his well worn cloths, and from the fur edged ruff of his hood to his gator covered boots the man walking from the store was the visual embodiment of what people across the country think of as an Alaskan. He loaded his, no doubt, weekly supplies into a pickup that had definitely seen better days and as he drove off one could just make out the noise of his dog sticking out the trucks window………
The direction and composition of Alaska in the 18 years since I arrived here is increasingly changing. However just like in the ‘lower 48’ it is not a night and day change but a gradual erosion of an archetype that was once proudly proclaimed as America’s last frontier. The other day sitting in a Fairbanks parking lot and watching an ‘old timer’ load groceries into his truck I was struck with the composition of the people shopping there. Other than a scant few like the old timer described above, most appeared to be in their mid 20’s to early 30’s and unlike him most were driving small cars or newer sedans.
I was made aware of this dichotomy because of the direction of many of Alaska’s new laws and regulations that once would have been seen as an infringement on an Alaskans personal freedom. From new borough regulations dealing with noise and trash pollution, to the state agreeing with the federal government when it comes to the perceived pollution created by the burning of wood for heat. Add to that the limits on trapping and driving snow machines on certain trails because it now interferes with hikers, people walking their dogs and cross country skiers and you have the beginnings of a new Alaska.
The many new people who have moved here over the years did so not only because of employment but because of the mystique that is perceived when you mention Alaska. Now here and settled in they are not content with the way of life that drew them here. They now want to make it ‘better’ more like it was where they used to live. They either don’t care or are forgetting about the tens of thousands of people who were born here or who have lived here for decades and want there state to remain unchanged.
Is this not exactly what is happening to America in the ‘lower 48’? Every year thousands upon thousands of foreigners arrive because of what America stands for and in a short time they want to change things and make it more like what they were used to. My grandparents were immigrants, they did not come here to change this country…..they came to America to become “Americans”.
If we continue to adapt to please others
the America we love will be gone forever.