March 30 was the 150-year anniversary of the day the United States purchased Alaska. US Secretary of State William Seward signed a treaty with Russia. In it, he agreed to pay $7.2 million for Alaska. This was not a popular choice. Many people thought Alaska was a frozen wasteland. They called it “Seward’s Folly” or “Seward’s Icebox.” Opinions began to change two years later, after the Klondike Gold Strike of 1896. Today, Alaska is home to more than 15 national parks, preserves, monuments, and wild rivers. In fact, national parks cover about 54 million acres (2 million hectares) of the state’s land.