• Alaska's Multibooms

      Pearson, Roger W.; Rhoades, Edwin M.; Lewis, Carol E. (School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, 1990-01)
      An assessment of Growth of Infrastructure Booms have been a common element in the development of frontier areas in the 19th and 20th centuries. Most commonly, the booms have been associated with resource development such as the mineral booms of the western United States. Booms usually involve some type of dramatic short- term change which has wide-ranging implications (Gilmore, 1976). Since the arrival of the Russians in Alaska, six major booms have occurred: furs, whales, salmon, minerals, military, and petroleum. Each of these booms has, to some degree, created changes in the landscape of Alaska, in particular, the infrastructural base, which in turn has facilitated subsequent development, either another major boom, or a smaller development. For example, agricultural development has been enhanced by mineral, military, and petroleum booms in Alaska. The cumulative impact on infrastructure of more than one boom, or multibooms, as it is referred to here, is the focus of this paper. One problem encountered in studying booms is that there is no general agreement on what constitutes a boom. Detailed studies of booms in communities such as Dixon’s (1978) analysis of Fairbanks and Gilmore’s multi-community work in the Great Plains—Rocky •mountain regions, contained no specific definition of the term “boom”. Yet it was clear in each study that something dramatic had occurred. More general historical studies of the Western mineral bonanzas (Greever, 1963) or the Klondike gold rush (Berton, 1958) likewise suggest a number of factors such as population rise, influx of money, resource extraction, and infrastructure expansion. But in each case, there is no specific factor or define rate of something that specifically qualifies a time period as a boom. In this study, we are concerned with dramatic change of events which have had a major impact on the geographic landscape of an area, As a framework for the initial study, we review those events which have been given attention as boom-type activities in the historical literature of Alaska (Rogers, 1962; Naske and Slotnick, 1987).