The wilderness of Alaska is home to many plants and wildlife. It is a place that can be unforgiving to those not prepared to enter. Alaska is home to many big game animals who call the wilderness home. It is our responsibility to understand and respect that if we decide to venture out. The wilderness is also home to small animals, which are still territorial and capable of doing damage. I would not want to get tangled up with a porcupine that was protecting her home.
The extreme temperature fluctuations and weather changes can leave an unprepared person in a vulnerable state. Adventurers in the wilderness of Alaska should be prepared for variances in weather. Layers are appropriate when preparing for an Alaskan adventure. I can recall adventures in the unpopulated areas of Alaska in which layers of clothing were carried or worn during different parts of the trip. Even hiking the Butte in Palmer requires a jacket sometimes at the top where winds can whip through the area.
I think that rather than looking at the wilderness as a place to be protected or exploited we should look at it as a place to be respected. Many of us in Alaska rely on the wilderness to sustain our lives. We hunt, fish, and gather wild berries. We use fireweed to make jam and honey and we harvest wood to heat our homes in the winter. We need to approach the wilderness with gratitude and protect it in the sense of not using more resources than we need and replenishing resources when possible.
Our lifestyle in Alaska is different than many places in the lower 48. Our cities are not as heavily populated and often we live in the wilderness, or the wilderness lives in the city. We prepare for our lifestyle by carrying blankets and shovels in our trunks during cold winter months. We understand that preparedness could be the difference between survival and tragedy even along the roads and highways of Alaska.