Map of the Alaska Highway (ALCAN Highway)
The ALCAN Highway was constructed during World War II for the purpose of connecting the contiguous United States to Alaska through Canada. It begins at the junction with several Canadian highways in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and runs to Delta Junction, Alaska, via Whitehorse, Yukon. Completed in 1942 at a length of approximately 2,700 km (1,700 mi).
Flora of American Arctic Lichen
The eminent American lichenologist, John W. Thomson, and the young Finnish lichenologist, Teuvo Ahti, who has since become the world expert in the large lichen genus Cladonia., traveled the Alcan Highway together in 1967, after John had spent a sabbatical in Helsinki. The road was primarily gravel at that point in time, and they had to change tires 13 times. This was one of John’s early expeditions to the American arctic. Across his 40 year career at the University of Wisconsin, he mounted 14 major expeditions across the Canadian and American arctic resulting in an American Arctic Lichen Flora published in two volumes. The Alcan trip of John and Teuvo cemented a lifelong friendship and spurred continued collaboration over several decades. They were among the first lichenologists to traverse the highway and the lichens collected provided an important contribution to the final flora treatments.