T&C staff members are known for being grammar and AP style police, and that’s a good thing in our line of work. In public relations, it is important to know and follow all the meticulous rules of AP style, including many that relate specifically to Alaska. (Fun fact: the 49th state has its own AP style guide.)

Included below are some of our favorite AP style tips that relate to travel and tourism in the great state of Alaska.

Alaskan – Should only be used as a noun when describing a person from Alaska. It should never be used as an adjective to describe places or things unless in a proper name. INCORRECT: The Alaskan food was tasty. The Alaskan view was pretty. CORRECT: The Alaskan enjoyed Alaska food while taking in the Alaska view.

arctic, Arctic Circle, arctic fox, Arctic Slope, Arctic Ocean, the Arctic – Capitalize in proper nouns and when referring to the region, lowercase when used as an adjective.

aurora borealis – The aurora is acceptable on second reference. The northern lights should also be lowercase.

brown/grizzly bear – Same genus, same species. However, browns are usually found in coastal areas and grizzlies in the Interior.

Denali National Park and Preserve, Denali State Park – Two different parks, not interchangeable. Clearly identify the park you’re writing about. The mountain is Denali.

dog sled – Used in sled dog races. Not dog sled races. The dogs race pulling sleds, the sleds do not race.

floatplane – One word. 

flightseeing One word.

fly-fishing – Hyphenated.

king crab – Lowercase.

King Salmon vs. king salmon – The town of King Salmon in the Bristol Bay Borough should always be capitalized. The species of salmon, also known as a chinook salmon, should be lowercase.

Matanuska Valley – There is no Mat-Su Valley. The Palmer and Wasilla area can be called “Matanuska Valley” or “the Valley” on second reference. The Valley is the area between Sutton and Houston.

Railbelt – Uppercase. The parts of Interior and Southcentral Alaska lying along the Alaska Railroad route from Seward to Fairbanks.

trail head – Two words.

Have an AP style question? Send us a tweet at @ThompsonPR!

UPDATED: September 2019.

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