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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Matanuska-Susitna Valley shown shaded in red north of Anchorage, Alaska

Matanuska-Susitna Valley (known locally as the Mat-Su or The Valley) is an area in Southcentral Alaska south of the Alaska Range about 25 air miles north northeast of Anchorage, Alaska known for producing huge vegetables during a 100-day growing season. It includes the valleys of the Matanuska, the Knik to the southeast, and the Susitna river to the west. The Matanuska Valley has become a large-lot suburban bedroom community exporting workers to Anchorage. It is now one of the most densely settled areas in Alaska and includes the towns of Palmer, Wasilla, Big Lake, Houston, Willow and Talkeetna.

The valleys are rimmed by three major mountain ranges: the Alaska Range, the Talkeetna Mountains and the Chugach Mountains. The surrounding mountains include many mountain passes, as well as working and abandoned gold mines. Like many parts of Alaska, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley was carved by glaciers which left many small and large lakes. Both the Matanuska and Susitna Rivers have major salmon spawning streams.

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough (the Alaskan equivalent of a county, encompassing more than 24,000 square miles) governs the Mat-Su region and the sparsely-populated southwest portion of the Copper River Basin northeast of the Chugach and Talkeetna Mountains. Borough officials estimate rapid growth since 2000 drove the population to 80,000 in 2007. A few hundred Alaska Natives were joined by small numbers of "Alaska sourdoughs" between 1900 and 1930 when hundreds of "colonists" relocated by the Federal Government in the early 30's colonized the eastern Matanuska Valley between Wasilla, Palmer, and the Butte. The colonists came as part of the Matanuska Colony "New Deal" agricultural experiment sponsored by the federal government. In the 1970's relatively large numbers of newcomers to Alaska came to Anchorage, then relocated 40 miles up the Glenn Highway to the largely rural Matanuska Valley where a "Alaskan country" lifestyle pervades.

Matanuska Glacier

The Susitna, Matanuska, and Knik rivers are all very active glacial streams terminating in the silty Cook Inlet. The rivers convey large amounts of glacial silt that lends itself well to farming. The valley is one of the few areas in Alaska which supports agriculture.

The region is also home to the Matanuska-Susitna College and the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman newspaper. The Susitna Valley is also home to the annual Talkeetna Bluegrass Festival, Alaska's largest camping-oriented music festival. 2006 marked the 25th anniversary of the Festival.

See also

Alaska Census data
Matanuska-Susitna Borough website

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Matanuska-Susitna Borough article)

From Wikitravel


Matanuska-Susitna Borough is in Southcentral Alaska. This borough is named after the Matanuska-Susitna Valley (aka Mat-Su Valley) where farmers settled in the 1930s, through a government project.

  • Palmer - The original farming community of the area. The Borough Seat.

Get in

By Car - the Glenn Highway can be taken north from Anchorage or south from it's connection with the Tok Cutoff-Richardson Highway.

  • Eklutna Native Historical Park, (It's 9 miles south of the Glenn and Parks Highway Junction. Take a right exit on the southbound lane of the Glenn Highway.), 1-866-EKLUTNA (355-8862). Has a Russian Orthodox Church and Eklutna Native graveyard for children, from Alaska's early days. Each grave has its own colorful, miniature "spirt" house.  edit
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