A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.
Fairbanks: 18°/29°/Freezing rain
On and off the road system, Alaska is dotted with cities, towns and villages that give the state its real character.
Luck struck around 6:30 a.m. Sunday -- less than nine hours before the end of the 10-day Slam'n Salm'n derby -- when Robert Hayes hooked a 40.97-pound king salmon that made him the winner.
Summer solstice marked the beginning of the warm season last week, but two Anchorage fly-fishermen discovered Monday morning that winter still lingers deep in the Chugach Mountains.
The Kasilof beach is cool and calm at 10 a.m. on Monday as Yolanda Thomas emerges from her family-sized tent for a morning of dipnetting on the shore of the Kasilof River.
Coal mine, Denali National Park are key to economy
Healy, Alaska, 11 miles north of the entrance to Denali National Park, is known for the Usibelli Coal Mine.
The mine produces sub-bituminous coal that is used to heat Fairbanks and its military installations. A lot of coal is carried by the Alaska Railroad to Seward, where it is put on freighters and shipped to Asian markets.
It's a coal mining town that has evolved into an economically diverse community. Summer tourism greatly affects the economy with RV parks, rafting and sightseeing companies, lodging and general shopping.
The Usibelli Coal Mine has dominated the economy of Healy for more than 50 years and employs 145 workers. Construction of the $267 million Healy Clean Coal Plant employed 240 temporary workers until its completion in 1998.
The mine -- which offers weekday tours in the summer to show off its big machines and reclamation program -- produces 1.6 million tons per year. (Call 907-683-2226 for tour info.)