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Major Rivers, Yukon River
Tanana River, major tributary, Bering Sea, Yukon River, central Alaska
The Yukon River, whose source lies in the mountains of western Canada, flows into the Bering Sea along the western coastline of Alaska. The drainage basin of this river occupies much of central Alaska. As a water route that crosses the vast expanse of Alaska for almost 3,200 km (almost 2,000 mi), the Yukon has offered an attractive alternative to traversing the rugged mountainous terrain of the region. When gold was discovered in Alaska’s interior Klondike region in the late 1890s, many prospectors traveled the Yukon by barge, raft, or riverboat to reach Alaska’s prosperous mining areas.
Several thousand indigenous people, who live mainly by hunting and trapping, depend on the river for transportation. Because of the region’s cold climate and limited economy, no large urban centers have developed along the Yukon. Fairbanks is the area’s largest city. It is located near the Tanana River, a major tributary of the Yukon.
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