I talked with some friends this weekend who are planning a vacation to Alaska which will include a viewing of grizzly bears doing there thing...in a CONTROLLED environment, of course. That will include a chance to watch them going after salmon in one of Alaska's many rivers.

I've always wanted to go to Alaska. And no, Kentucky being second ONLY to Alaska in an unusual category does NOT count as a substitute. But it does involve running water. Thankfully--these days, anyway--the only bears DRINKING out of our running water (in these parts) are small-ish black bears; Alaska can keep its grizzlies.

So yeah, what's the deal with all this "running water" talk? Well, if you've enjoyed boating, swimming, water skiing, or jet skiing on any of the Commonwealth's rivers, know that you can only upgrade one state in this particular category.

Kentucky Measures Up to Gigantic Alaska in the (Running) Water

First, I'll remind you that at 665,400 square miles, Alaska is, far and away, the largest state in the Union. It's nearly three times as large as No. 2 Texas. Meanwhile, Kentucky rests comfortably way down at No. 37. The Bluegrass State's total area is 40,408 square miles. That's a huge gap, but it shrinks when comparing running water.

Kentucky has more miles of running water than any other state except Alaska. The numerous rivers and water impoundments provide 1,100 commercially navigable miles (1,770 kilometers).

Kentucky's Longest River

One river, in particular, helps maintain this statistic.

The next time you cross the Green River, impress your traveling companions with the new-found knowledge that it runs 384 miles from end to end. I was just as surprised as, maybe, you are to learn this.

And then I got to thinking how much fun a river cruise from end to end would be. And then I got to thinking, "Who in the world do I know that has a boat?"

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Gallery Credit: Mary-Katherine Maddox

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