• The Mat-Su Valley encompasses 23,000 square miles. It is roughly the size of West Virginia, although only two major highways cross the area. The area starts 35 miles north of Anchorage and stretches all the way north to Denali National Park & Preserve.• “Mat-Su” is short for “Matanuska-Susitna,” which is the name of the Borough. Locals call it “The Valley” even though in reality it is two valleys - the Matanuska Valley along the Glenn Highway, and the Susitna Valley along the Parks Highway.• Major towns include Palmer, Wasilla, Big Lake and Talkeetna. Smaller communities such as Glacier View, Sutton, Chickaloon, Houston, Willow and Trapper Creek are also located in the Mat-Su Valley.• Palmer was founded in 1935 through the Matanuska Colony Project, when 200 families were relocated to the area from the Midwest under the New Deal. They were given 40 acres, a barn and a home and they had to “prove up” the land.•The Alaska State Fair is Alaska’s largest event. It takes place in Palmer the 11 days prior to, and including, Labor Day each year. A highlight of the fair is the Giant Cabbage Weigh-Off - in 2012, a new world record was set with a 138.2-pound cabbage.• Talkeetna is the hub for climbers heading to Denali. Most years, the successful summit rate is just above 50 percent. There is a limit of 1,500 climbers per season, which runs from April through mid-July. Flightseeing companies land visitors on the same glaciers the climbers use for their base camps.• Denali National Park & Preserve’s “little cousin,” Denali State Park, lies in the Mat-Su Borough. Most visitors agree that Denali State Park offers better views of Denali than the national park..• You can see three mountain ranges while in the Mat-Su Valley. Two major rivers - the Matanuska and the Susitna - support runs of all five salmon species.• Matanuska Glacier is Alaska’s largest road-accessible glacier. It is 26 miles long and four miles wide at its terminus. Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Area is located along the Glenn Highway National Scenic Byway, approximately two hours north of Anchorage.• Palmer is the agricultural hub of Alaska, with farmland dominating the landscape around the small community. Vegetables such as carrots and potatoes thrive in Alaska’s growing season, thanks to fertile soils and nearly 22 hours of daylight in the summer.