Alaska’s Rich Resource History is a Cause for Celebration

Alaska’s Rich Resource History is a Cause for Celebration

March 29, 2022

Yesterday was Seward’s Day in Alaska; a day where we celebrate the signing of the Alaska Purchase treaty between the U.S. and Russia.  It is named for then-Secretary of State, William H. Seward, who negotiated the purchase back in 1867.

Alaska had been known to the U.S. as a potential resource paradise for decades before the purchase.  Abundant supplies of timber and fish, not to mention animals and fowl, were in-demand by the rest of the country.  Still, Seward was ridiculed by some in Congress, as having paid too much for the state – $.02 an acre, for a total of $7.2 million – as they thought of it as barren wasteland.

Just a few decades later, the naysayers had been proven completely wrong.

When gold was found in the Klondike in 1869, the rush to prospect Alaska began, and in 1899, gold was discovered in Nome.  That set off a “North to Alaska” craze, as prospectors and their families chased their fortunes throughout the state.  Mining became the centerpiece of Alaska’s growth, and towns opened across the Great Land.

When Prudhoe Bay’s massive oilfields were discovered in the late 1960s, a new boom occurred.  Today, the producers employing nearly 10,000 people in the industry are nearing 19 billion barrels of recovered oil from the North Slope, with billions still to come. 

Alaska’s mineral resource future is also incredible and expansive.  A recent Power The Future-sponsored study by the University of Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research finds great opportunity in the next two decades, as long as government overreach and radical environmental organizations don’t derail the potential. 

Alaska holds world-class deposits of many critical and strategic minerals the U.S. currently imports from (non-friendly) countries such as China and Russia.  America needs Alaska now, even more than it did when it was purchased from Russia all those years ago.

So – while we’re a day late in saying it – Happy Seward’s Day, Alaska!  We are excited about your potential, and we look forward to continuing to champion your energy community.