I think I've talked about this before--the increasing attention on Alaska's northern coasts. I keep seeing more and more in the news and from military friends about build-up that will be happening over the next couple decades, in the Arctic as new sea lanes open. It's anticipated that within ten years, and perhaps sooner, there will be commercial shipping over the top of Canada, signficantly shortening the trip from Asia to the U.S.'s Eastern Seaboard and Europe.
Just last week, I saw a fleece jacket with a logo that said The North Coast on it. The fellow wearing it probably worked on the Slope, but I didn't get a chance to ask him. It occurred to me right then--this will be the first time the U.S. has had a North Coast to complement the East and West Coast. In years past, the sea ice does go out from the west and north coast of Alaska, but not enough for ships to get through for a very long stretch of time. For most of the year, the distinction between land and ocean is blurred because it is all covered in ice.
With all the changes going on in the Arctic, a good place for information and resources is http://www.ipy.org --This is an International Polar Year, and more research, learning and discussions are going on during this year of study on the Arctic.