Young Bull Moose, Cheena River, Alaska

The moose (North America) or elk (Eurasia), Alces alces, is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic (“twig-like”) configuration. Moose typically inhabit boreal and mixed deciduous forests of the Northern Hemisphere in temperate to subarctic climates. Moose used to have a much wider range but hunting and other human activities greatly reduced it over the years. Moose have been reintroduced to some of their former habitats. Currently, most moose are found in Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia and Russia. Their diet consists of both terrestrial and aquatic vegetation. The most common moose predators are wolves, bears, and humans. Unlike most other deer species, moose are solitary animals and do not form herds. Although generally slow-moving and sedentary, moose can become aggressive and move surprisingly quickly if angered or startled. Their mating season in the autumn can lead to spectacular fights between males competing for a female.

The Chena River is a 100-mile (160 km) tributary of the Tanana River in the Interior region of the U.S. state of Alaska. It flows generally west from the White Mountains to the Tanana River near the city of Fairbanks, which is built on both sides of the river.The Tanana empties into the 2,300-mile (3,700 km) long Yukon River.

Named tributaries of the Chena River include the North Fork, South Fork, West Fork, Middle (East) Fork and the Little Chena River.The Chena River State Recreation Area surrounds much of the upper half of the main stem. The Chena River is used for recreational fishing and boating. During the winter months, it is also traveled by snowmachines and mushers (sled dogs).

The Chena River Lakes Flood Control Project dam is about 40 miles (64 km) up the Chena River from Fairbanks. The dam was built in response to the 1967 Fairbanks flood, which inundated much of the city. When closed, the dam impounds water and, when the inflow is high enough, diverts it about 8 miles (13 km) to the Tanana River near North Pole, upstream of Fairbanks and the natural mouth of the Chena.

Alaska is a U.S. state situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent. Bordering the state to the east is the Canadian territory of Yukon and the Canadian province of British Columbia, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia (specifically, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug and Kamchatka Krai) further west across the Bering Strait. Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area, the 4th least populous and the least densely populated of the 50 United States. Approximately half of Alaska’s 735,132 residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. Alaska’s economy is dominated by the oil, natural gas, and fishing industries, resources which it has in abundance. Tourism is also a significant part of the economy.

Although it had been occupied for thousands of years by indigenous peoples, from the 18th century onward, European powers considered the territory of Alaska ripe for exploitation and trade. The United States purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire on March 30, 1867, for 7.2 million U.S. dollars at approximately two cents per acre ($4.74/km2). The area went through several administrative changes before becoming organized as a territory on May 11, 1912. It was admitted as the 49th state of the U.S. on January 3, 1959.

Young Bull Moose, Cheena River, Alaska

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