Environment Lifestyle Opinion

Fairbanks circa 2000

Written by Pamela Samash

When I moved here in December of 2000, Fairbanks was a very different place. I remember a gas station in front of Value Village that did not require pre-payment of fuel when filling up our vehicles. The Natural Store now on Noble St was a grocery store back then, who to my surprise, ran out of Turkey before Christmas. Coming from a big city, I didn’t see that coming and got pretty upset, but my neighbor was experienced and prepared and shared her turkey and stuffing with us.

I don’t recollect the crime issues that are happening now being a problem years ago. And of course, there was no Planned Parenthood butchering our children and destroying generations of family members.

Now I can get turkey anytime I want, and no one’s getting gas before paying for it. Life is full of changes and people are masters at adapting, but I’m going to rant here about something I’m not adapting to (besides Planned Parenthood) and that’s the lack of respect for our community that these new stores have in their way of constructing their businesses.

I’m actually traveling right now and writing this article from Spokane WA. I have been to 4 different states in the last 36 days and now I see that we have allowed our town to be the ugliest of them all. Where Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot and all those stores are now, was just a field of miniature trees and shrubs with small creatures living throughout them such as families of foxes.

I feel that Home Depot, Walmart, etc have simply ripped apart a portion of our city, poured cement, and slapped up their businesses. All of the businesses planted a few trees here and there, save one as Home Depot planted nothing at all.

The way I see it, this destruction of our beauty effects locals and tourists and there’s no excuse for it. I mean it’s pretty disgraceful that most other towns have taken pride in their community and have parking lots filled with beautiful trees and walkways lined with flowers whereas here, nobody seems to even care. And being that tourism is a huge part of our income, I’d imagine that they’re pretty disappointed in coming all this way to see cement, bald parking lots and the typical buildings. We can do so much better!

I was thinking about it and the idea I came up with is a tree donation and transplant program.

Presently when construction crews come through to build a house or business, they just bulldoze the trees out of the way. Why not dig the trees up instead and donate them to the borough and city to be transplanted up and down Airport Rd and right through the middle of it too? So, the city of Fairbanks gave us a perfect example of how nice it is to have some care with their Cushman St. project. That street is one of my most favorite parts of the entire city along with West Valley High School. Both places made efforts to plant and preserve the shrubs and trees in those locations. With some neighborly effort, the entire Fairbanks area can be just as beautiful. And why can’t we at least “strongly suggest” to these new businesses to actually remember they are in Alaska and it would be very much appreciated if they would design their parking lots accordingly.

One more thing, one of my many dreams is to have that field behind Lowes and First Student to become a nature area with paths and picnic tables for all the employees out there. We could have it designed by students who can have a fingerprint in this town for years to come and it would look great on their scholarship paperwork.

You know, we could bring nature and life right back here with just some effort and TLC.


Anyone interested in helping with the ideas proposed please email

freethepeopleak@gmail.comsubject line:Green space




About the author

Pamela Samash

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