Alaska Science Forum
August 1, 2012
The most remote spot in Alaska
by Ned Rozell
“Out of the million square miles of basin, range, peaks and prairies that compose the interior West, the farthest it’s possible to be from a road is a trifling 28 miles.”
Richard Forman, a Harvard professor of landscape ecology, once visited a mangrove swamp in the Florida Everglades that he described as the most remote place in the eastern U.S. The swamp was 17 miles from any road.
What’s the most remote spot in Alaska? Dorte Dissing helped me tackle that question. Dissing is a geographer with Alaska Biological Research, Inc. She’s proficient with the use of the electronic mapping system known as GIS, Geographic Information Systems. Scientists use GIS to make detailed maps of everything from migration routes of dark-eyed juncos over Alaska to maps of permafrost, slope aspect, forest type and elevation for road engineers. The possibilities are endless, and they include searching for the most remote place in Alaska.
When my friend first mentioned that the farthest spot from a road in the Lower 48 was less than 30 miles, I di