Come Celebrate Alaska: Places to See in Juneau

"North to the Future" is Alaska's state motto and the next 50-years celebration is underway. January 2009 began festively, as Alaska marked its 50th anniversary of official statehood. As Alaska celebrates the next 50-years Juneau's Green Angel Gardens invites visitors to come see and experience their natural Alaskan gardens.

The coastal gardens are defended by a lush rain forest of Sitka Spruce (the state tree), Mountain and Western Hemlock, Red Alder and Black Cottonwood.

Green Angel Gardens with its inspiring wilderness setting was created to protect the natural land and native plants of our 49th state. During a stroll through the gardens, visitors view up close a diverse luxuriant rain forest botanical environment representing Southeast Alaska. Shore pine and Sitka Spruce crowd in on either side of the pathways. The gardens are definitely tranquil and infinitely distinct.

Visitors to Alaska are sweep away by the sheer beauty, the mountains, the rivers and forests. Planted solely with native plants, Green Angel Gardens is a capsule of this land with labeled native plants offering food, medicinal and traditional uses: cow parsnip, wild berries such as blueberry, elderberry, strawberry and raspberry along side tiny wildflowers like the state flower, forget-me-not, poke through the mossy ground under the forest canopy overhead.

Numbered markers allow visitors to cross reference plants with a descriptive pamphlet and placards placed along Green Angel Gardens pathways present information about the native plants. Many from "the lower 48" ask if there are still remote villages in Alaska today. The answer is "yes."

Alaska's entire population, of less than 700,000, is no more than that of Austin, Texas. There are more than 250 rural communities and most rely on a subsistence lifestyle, people who are both very skilled and challenged by their environment. Native plants contributing food, medicinal and traditional uses are especially important to this populations continued existence.

Besides Green Angel Gardens, Juneau has an interesting state capitol and Juneau is home to Mendenhall Glacier, an arm of the 1,500-square mile Juneau Icefield. Five percent of Alaska, or 29,000 square miles of the state is made up of breathtakingly beautiful glaciers and ice fields. Glacier silt, the soil here, is so fine in texture, it is known to locals as "glacier flour."

With interesting topography, majestic glaciers and breathtaking scenery found no where else, Alaska is one of the best locations in the country for outdoor recreation, wilderness adventure and down-to-earth sight-seeing.

"Alaska is the last place in the nation, maybe even the last place on the planet, that still looks like it did in the beginning" Dana Stabnow, Alaskan novelist.



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