The Matanuska-Susitna Valley is located in Southcentral Alaska. It is a vast area between the Matanuska and Susitna rivers and contains 23,000 square miles.
The “Mat-Su” is the fastest growing area of Alaska. The population, which was just over 5,000 in 1960, is approximately 107,000 today.
The local borough (aka county or regional) government is the Matanuska-Susitna Borough – i.e. the MSB. It is a “second class” borough meaning its powers are limited. There is no MSB police force. The Matsu area is served primarily by the Alaska State Troopers and the Police Departments of Palmer and Wasilla.
There are three incorporated cities (Palmer, Wasilla, and Houston) plus many smaller communities, such as Talkeetna, Big Lake, Sutton, Chickaloon and Glacier View. The cities are run by their city councils and the unincorporated communities are served by area “community councils” which have no real power and report to the MSB.
The MSB School District is in charge of the unified school system. There are 19,000 students enrolled in the 46 schools, making it the second largest school district in the State of Alaska. There are nine high schools: Talkeetna Jr/Sr High, Houston Jr/Sr High, Redington Jr/Sr High, Burchell, Matsu Career & Tech High, Valley Pathways, Wasilla, Colony, and Palmer. There are also plenty of middle schools, elementary schools, and alternative and non traditional schools, such as the MatSu Central home schooling program and the remote Glacier View School which is K – 12.
The Mat-Su is home to one college – Mat-Su College, which is part of the University of Alaska – Anchorage.
There are also lots of local and State parks. Denali National Park is just north of the Mat-Su Borough.