Happy Alaska Day!
With abundant wilderness areas; incredible wildlife and unique landscapes to explore; Alaska is an adventurer's paradise. In 2017, Xplorer Maps Co-Founder and illustrator, Chris Robitaille, created original hand-drawn maps of the state of Alaska and Denali National Park. These maps were followed closely behind by a comprehensive look at southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage, in 2018.
This month, Xplorer Maps is embarking upon a new tradition of honoring different states and some of their own uniquely special holidays. This month, we’re starting with ALASKA DAY, celebrating the date on which Alaska was formally transferred to the United States becoming a U.S. territory on October 18th, 1867. On this day, the Russian flag was lowered as the U.S. flag was raised, officially signifying the transfer of land. The state was purchased by Secretary of State William H. Seward earlier that year on March 30th and many Americans at the time believed that buying the territory was a waste of money because they viewed the state as “cold, barren, and unusable.” They often referred to Alaska as “Seward’s Folly” in response to William H. Seward buying the land. I think it’s safe to say today that most folks would strongly disagree with that sentiment as millions of people from all over the world visit the amazing landscapes, people, and cultures of the Last Frontier.
Our hand-drawn map of Alaska highlights the eight National Parks and Preserves and features over 20 different illustrations of the flora and fauna that call the state home. Including everything from the Aleutian Islands to Barrow to the North Pole and down through the Inside Passage, you can find many of the highlights on our map of Alaska.
Denali National Park is a 6-million-acre park situated in the middle of Alaska. Located north of Anchorage, the park is home to towering Mount Denali; at 20,310 feet is the highest peak in North America. The Xplorer Map of Denali is a beautiful rendition of the area that showcases the park's natural beauty and wildlife.
Our original Inside Passage map intricately details 500 miles of rugged coastline featuring the many towns and villages in addition to showing the cruise ship's main routes throughout the islands. Including this detail was very important in creating this map as the overwhelming majority of visitors experience the Inside Passage aboard the many cruise ships xploring these waters.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, visitation to much of Alaska came to a virtual standstill; with the cruise line industry completely wiped out for both the 2020 and most of the 2021 seasons. Countless family-owned and operated businesses were completely shut down which, in turn, wiped out Xplorer Maps' #1 market for the better part of two years. All the momentum we built since the release of our Alaskan line-up was gone entirely.
Fast forward to this past January, when we experienced first-hand a part of Alaska's “re-emergence” as they “opened” back up to the public and people began traveling again. We made our way to the Alaska Gift Show (link) in January with high hopes for the coming season and it was amazing to be a small part of the renewed sense of energy, enthusiasm, and passion after two very long and challenging years. Alaska, it seems, rebounded in a huge way! 2022 has blown up for Xplorer Maps in the state of Alaska and based on pre-bookings for 2023, the upward trend continues to look extremely promising. Thanks to all our faithful and returning online customers for making our Alaska, Denali, and Inside Passage, map products top sellers again!
BOUNCE BACK they have; with true Alaskan grit! And we are so excited for the state, its people, and their economic livelihoods.
For more information about Alaska Day, follow this link (https://visitsitka.org/events/alaska-day-festival) to view this year's schedule for the Alaska Day Festival held in Sitka, Alaska.