Alaskan Living FAQs Frequently Asked Questions by CAF families posted to Alaska

Q. What are the driving conditions like in Winter?
A. During winter months, Alaska roads are slippery and not well maintained.  Sand is used vice salt.  Certain areas are only maintained as 4-wheel drive roads in the winter.  Studded tires are recommended regardless of the area you choose to live.  Add "winter access" to your list of considerations when choosing a home
Q. How many schools are in the area and what is required?
A. Anchorage schools include numerous Elementary schools (Kindergarten - Grade 6), middle schools (Grades 7 - 8) and high schools (Grades 9 - 12), as well as the University of Alaska Anchorage Campus (UAA), and Alaska Pacific University (APU).  Satellite campuses from other universities are also located in Anchorage.  You and your dependants will qualify for “resident” tuition fees.
The web page for the Anchorage School District is: Click Here 
Eagle River and Chugiak schools fall under the Anchorage School Board.  
State law requires the following documents to enroll your child in Alaskan schools:
            a.         copy of birth certificate(s) for elementary school only;
            b.         immunization record with each shot listed and the exact date given as a simple record stating that immunizations are current is not sufficient; and
            c.         proof of physical examination within the last 12 months.
Some schools may have additional requirements (check with the school) but the above are the minimum you can expect. 
Keep receipts.  Some items may be claimable as education expenses.
Jr Kindergarten (K-4) is only available in the Anchorage area at the Eagle River Christian School.  It is a private charter Christian school.  Fees are upwards of $5000 per year.  These can be reimbursed in some circumstances.  Contact the OR for details.

Q. Can we Hunt and Fish?
A. The Alaskan environment can be cold and harsh, and moose and bear are plentiful.  It is strongly recommended that you consider calling either the Department of Fish and Game in Anchorage at 552-2436 or the Public Land Information Centre Click Here or call  222-2737 to learn about how to deal with the local wildlife and conditions.

Q. What are the neighborhoods like?
A. Areas of Anchorage to avoid living include Mountainview, Fairview and Spenard; the downtown and midtown areas. Although close to the base they have reputations for high crime/gang activity and poor/crowded schools.  Areas around Muldoon/Boniface (the east side) have problems as well.  Ask for advice if you are considering accommodations in these zones. 
Within Anchorage, South Anchorage and the Hillside generally offer nicer homes, decent schools and relatively low crime rates but the commute to JBER, on the north side of Anchorage, is at least 25 minutes, depending on traffic.
Eagle River is about 25 minutes from JBER along the Glenn Highway.  This area has nice and generally newer homes, low crime rates and decent schools.  Eagle River has a population of about 30,000 and is equipped with adequate shopping and amenities.
Chugiak is further from JBER along the Glenn Highway.  It is more remote and less suburban in look.  Expect a 30 minute commute.

Q. How often are there earthquakes?
A. More earthquakes occur in Alaska than anywhere else in the United States. It's just one more cool and ... What makes Alaska so earthquake-prone? Alaska is in the lucky -- or ... in Alaska are not felt. But many are big enough to make people wonder if this is the next BIG ONE! And there is plenty of reason to think it could be.

Q. What are the best things to do in Anchorage?
A.  The top activities and things to do in Anchorage are:
Day Cruises, Flight Seeing the bears, Coastal Trail, Museums and culture and scenic day tours. No matter how many times you do any of these things there is something new each time.

Q. What are the people like? 
A. We’re a tight-knit community with a taste for adventure and the good life. Many of us like to fish and hunt. Some of us seek a change of pace. No matter how we got here, our remoteness brings us together to solve problems in our own way. We’re proud of the saying, “We don’t care how they do it in the Lower 48!”