Photo: Michal Sarauer/Shutterstock

10 Calamities Only Alaskans Have to Deal With

by Kaitlin Armstrong Mar 20, 2018

Alaskans take pride in our preparedness, and we’re pros at handling any situation that comes our way. But despite all our foresight, planning, and stockpiling, disaster still occasionally strikes.

Here are 10 calamities even seasoned Alaskans have to deal with.

1. The river closing.

When the fish aren’t running and we are forced to make adjustments to our favorite pastime, we are not happy about it. News of a late opening or an unexpected river closure brings instant disappointment, especially when the window to catch a particular fish is already short.

2. Low salmon runs.

Beyond the river closures and the bleak environmental implications, low salmon runs can devastate our economic situation. A bad run can wipe out a year’s worth of income for commercial fisherman or mean our salmon supply will be depleted before winter’s end.

3. Getting too personal with wildlife.

We are well-trained at giving moose, bears, and other creatures their space, but we can’t avoid every wildlife run-in. Talking to ourselves through the woods and properly securing our trash are good safeguards, but sometimes we find ourselves staring down an angry moose or a curious bear. Depending on the situation, we know when to back off, play dead, or make a run for it.

4. Making a small mistake on our PFD application.

Auditors don’t play when issuing the PFD (Permanent Fund Division). When we slip up, tracking down the records that justify our claim to our dividend is a massive headache. And since the check will come late, it almost certainly means that we’ll miss out on the PFD sales.

5. “We don’t ship to Alaska.”

Nothing deflates our excitement about a new product or gadget faster than hearing these four words. After shaking our fists and picking a fight with the customer service representative, we’ll frantically search for a company that has the decency to ship us the product we want, even if it takes a couple weeks longer.

6. Not having enough snowfall.

In the past few years, Alaska has seen record high snowfalls alongside record lows. By the time October rolls around, anxiety increases, snowless spells put a damper on everything from snow machining to the Iditarod and make winter practically unbearable.

7. Daylight savings time.

There’s no winning when it comes to daylight savings time for us. In the fall, it eliminates the last sliver of morning daylight, the sun rises and goes down while we’re trapped at work. In the spring, it steals the hour of evening daylight we were just starting to enjoy after the long winter. Daylight savings is the bane of our existence. We should join forces with Arizona and ban it.

8. Burn bans.

Since they threaten to throw a wrench in all our bonfire plans, we’ll religiously check the news until they’re lifted and pray that they don’t last until summer solstice or the 4th of July.

9. Traveling out-of-state last minute.

We may be able to score a deal on a trip months in advance, but when we have have to leave Alaska unexpectedly we’re stuck paying astronomical fares. If we’re out of airline miles, an out-of-state emergency is bound to wreak havoc on our finances and should be avoided at all costs.

10. Hitting a moose.

After dealing with insurance claims, smashed windshields, and having the death of a moose on our hands, the only silver lining may be knowing that the carcass can be salvaged to feed a family through the winter.

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