Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Great Alaskan Gravel Shortage

What would Alaska do without gravel?

Juneau, Alaska   Governor Bill Walker announced today that gravel rationing will now be required for all citizens of Alaska, in response to the catastrophic gravel shortage.  “Gravel is a way of life in Alaska," he said, “and in order to preserve our way of life, we need to conserve this valuable resource.”

The gravel shortage developed last year as the last of the glacial till was extracted and used for a mobile home pad.   Alaskans use gravel for a number of uses – for roadways, walkways, RV parks, and erosion control, just to name a few.  Since Alaska is largely permafrost and mud, gravel is an essential element for building just about anything.  “Without gravel," governor Walker continued, “Alaska as we know it, would cease to exist!”

Plans are underway to possibly import gravel from Canada, but this plan is being met with some opposition.  “Canadian gravel just isn’t the same quality as good old Alaskan gravel,” as one resident noted, “It doesn’t have the same compaction factor and delightful gray color.  It's rounded for chrissakes!  It isn't gravel, it's pebbles!”  Compounding the problem are the 50% tariffs the Trump administration has placed on imported Canadian gravel.

The gravel shortage is being felt statewide.  Anchorage resident Homer Gulsap reported standing in line for three hours, only to be allowed to purchase a five-gallon bucket of fine gravel.  “What am I supposed to do with this?” he asked, “make a rock garden?”

Sadly, as an inevitable result of this shortage, reports have trickled in of gravel-jacking incidents.   Biddy Haines, of Seward, reported that her entire trailer court was scraped clean of gravel by thieves overnight.  “It’s tragic – all the trailers are now sinking in to the mud!”   The perpetrators have yet to be caught.

Gravel rationing coupons will be issued by the State for each resident.  In the meantime, residents are being encouraged to seek alternatives to gravel.  One proposal is to use shredded bits of junked cars as a gravel substitute.  As the governor noted, “We have no shortage of junked cars in Alaska!"

More to follow...