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 5 or 6 depending on the school), middle schools (Grades 6–8 or 7-8 depending on the school) 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 dependents will qualify for “resident” tuition fees.
Anchorage and Eagle River schools fall under the Anchorage School Board.  
The web page for the Anchorage School District is: 
Click Here 

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. Note, daycares, preschools and schools in Alaska require a child to have Hep A and Hep B immunizations. Children do not normally get these immunizations until they are older in Canada. You may start school having started the 2 and 3 shot series but must provide proof you have completed them in a timely manner.
            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.

There is no publicly funded Junior Kindergarten/Pre Kindergarten/Preschool in Alaska. (Exceptions are for children with special needs, and some schools have a “Buddy Bear” program where one or two typically developing children will be in class with children with special needs as mentors).
As Ontario has Junior Kindergarten, a child who is 4 years old by the end of the calendar year will likely be entitled to have their preschool fees paid for. This includes a commuting allowance for one trip to and from the school each day they attend, but you will have to transport them as buses are not provided.

See Foreign Service Directive 34 or the Orderly Room for more 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.

Q. How often are there earthquakes?
A. More earthquakes occur in Alaska than anywhere else in the United States. The large majority of the earthquakes are not large enough to be felt. The Anchorage area did experience a large 7.2 earthquake in November 2018, causing considerable damage, so you and your family should dedicate some time to earthquake preparedness. Talk to your MFSC or Det Emergency Management team for more information.

Q. What are the best things to do in Anchorage?
A.  Anchorage and the surrounding areas are full of things to do! Day cruises, hiking, museums, fishing, hunting, skiing/snowboarding, riding ATV’s . . . There is no lack of things to do, especially if you like the outdoors.

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.