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Thread: Alaskan homesteading question

  1. #1

    Default Alaskan homesteading question

    Hello everyone! I have a couple questions that maybe y'all could help me out with! I'm looking to buy a place but would like some local insight as to where to purchase.

    Ideally I want to be in a place that is somewhat remote (the more remote is better for me but not so much for my better half) so as long as I don't have neighbors its fine with me. I am looking for an area where self subsistence is possible if desired, (good area for hunting and fishing) in yet close enough to civilization that the other half can commute to town if she desires without having to hauled out on a bushplane or something! (Within an hour or so of a town with jobs and amenities.)

    I was researching Dillingham, and love what I have researched about the area and recreational parts of it. My biggest concern is having to freight everything in. I love the thought of being off the main road system but I'm afraid freighting costs may be less than desirable. If its the price you have to pay than I'm fine with that but its not ideal. Does anyone have any experience or know people that live in this area?

    Is there anywhere that exists that meets my wants? Thank you! -JD

  2. #2
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    As far as I know, homesteading ended years ago.

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    If your not a resident of the state and have lived here for a few winters this is a bad idea. There is nothing cheap or easy about living in the bush it is all work and planning year around. I live on the edge of the road system and its still a bit tough to get stuff out there or something done. If you are a resident then you already know this. As the heading stated "Homesteading" I don't know of much or any open Homesteading land that you can get to by the road system. Which means the only way to get gear (materials) will either be by boat, plane or snow machine when there is enough snow.
    Back to the first part if you have not done some winters up here I would suggest move up and rent out in the country if you can find something and spend a couple winters out here before you jump into the bush it would make your marriage last much longer and less head ache.

    Good luck

    Sweepint
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    As far as I know, homesteading ended years ago.
    I apologize, by homesteading I mean buying land and building a home(stead) on it. Not looking to stake land or anything like that. I pay my way.

    Also, I'm good with winters. I'm FULLY aware of what Alaska has to offer as far as obstacles and challenges. I lived in one of the coldest towns in America for some time. These things don't bother me.

    Hope this clears things up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDWeasy View Post
    Hello everyone! I have a couple questions that maybe y'all could help me out with! I'm looking to buy a place but would like some local insight as to where to purchase.

    Ideally I want to be in a place that is somewhat remote (the more remote is better for me but not so much for my better half) so as long as I don't have neighbors its fine with me. I am looking for an area where self subsistence is possible if desired, (good area for hunting and fishing) in yet close enough to civilization that the other half can commute to town if she desires without having to hauled out on a bushplane or something! (Within an hour or so of a town with jobs and amenities.)

    I was researching Dillingham, and love what I have researched about the area and recreational parts of it. My biggest concern is having to freight everything in. I love the thought of being off the main road system but I'm afraid freighting costs may be less than desirable. If its the price you have to pay than I'm fine with that but its not ideal. Does anyone have any experience or know people that live in this area?

    Is there anywhere that exists that meets my wants? Thank you! -JD

    JD, the short answer is "not really." The closer you live to jobs and amenities the more people and more competition for fish and game. That said, even living in Anchorage, a significant part of our diet comes from hunting and fishing. It just costs more than buying it at Safeway.

    Read through the posts on the "Relocating to Alaska" section. Your question has been asked and answered many times. There is a lot of good advice there.

  6. #6
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    NRick's advice is a great place to start. It also really depends on what you mean by "self subsistence". It is a biological reality that northern ecosystems are less productive, thus the image of Alaska as a wild game shangri-la is false. There is some excellent hunting and fishing to be had, no doubt, but very few people can actually subsist from the land. It sounds like you're clear that you'll need to buy goods to get by, but to be clear, don't expect to live off the land to any degree for the first few years. My wife and I can usually keep two freezers full - one with fish and another with game - and we could get more if we had more time to devote to it, but we've also been at it for a number of years. The learning curve is steep, so be prepared for that.

    Another issue is what you consider "a town with amenities". Does that mean a grocery store with a $10 head of lettuce and a pay shower facility, or does that mean reasonably good dining and shopping options along with perhaps some entertainment options? If the latter, you need to be on the road system. Delta Junction, Cantwell, Copper Center, Paxson, Kenny Lake, Trapper Creek, and many others are potential options, but none of them fit your stated criteria perfectly (some are farther than an hour from a town of any sort, others have mediocre hunting/fishing, etc.)

    As NRick stated, reading the Relocating forum will give you a wealth of information.

  7. #7

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    Bring a LOT of money, A huge amount of money, Figure your wife will leave you with-in 24 months (That is if she does not shoot you). There is NO cheap good quality land period. Semi-decent land is very expensive. If you don't have a lot of money, I strongly suggest you not do it. I suggest you move to a fair size populated area, find employment, get to know different areas of the state. Then start to slowly create your dream.

    The most valuable single piece of advise I can give you...........Is avoid any area that has a other people doing what you want to do. Make every effort to up-grade your property location choice right from the start. Or you will find yourself in a nest of rural thieves, or worse drug addicted thieves.

    Remember there are already roughly 90,000 Men in Alaska who have the exact same dream as you, and sadly they have been unable to make it happen. I think mostly because they slowly start to realize the tremendous financial up-front and on-going financial cost.

    Really all you need is money and guts.........but it takes both. All dreams are worth pursuing, even if they end in heart-ache. I say go for it, but you will need a lot of time, money and skills.

  8. #8

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    Thanks for the info. I have thick skin and want to hear all angles.

    When it comes time to make my move, I shoul have a sufficient amount of money to have my land purchased and enough to build a house at the very least. My 'master plan' lol was to get that done and then work for a few years while adding all of the accessories (ie: greenhouse, sheds, etc etc) on my free time. Then from there try to at least keep a 75% -90% or so self substainability. I understand and have never had the thought that being dropped off out of a plane with nothing or no one is a good idea. The thought of becoming bear food doesn't appeal to me. I guess why I'm saying is I'm not a wide eyed 17 year old that has wants but no true means to achieve his goals.
    I am a versatile person that has been exposed to lots of different jobs. I am a truck driver and heavy equipment operator by trade, so hopefully finding a good job shouldn't be too hard.

    I will check out the thread mentioned above, although I may have already read it. I have visited this forum numerous times.
    My intent of this thread was to get opinions on here the best place would be to try an achieve my goals.
    Again, Thank you

  9. #9

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    There is NO best place.......I have lived in many places in Alaska, but always keep coming back to where I currently live, but there is no employment here. Some people love an area that others loath. Sounds like you have a good plan. Don't wait till your too old. Alaska needs men with dreams & a plan.......Go for the dream & make it happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by JDWeasy View Post
    My intent of this thread was to get opinions on here the best place would be to try an achieve my goals.
    Again, Thank you

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    JD, you haven't said where you are coming from or your background, but unless you have lived in Alaska before, it will be different from what you think it will be like. For some, better than imagined, for others worse. You really ought to consider renting something for a year in the area you finally settle on. You may find you don't care for it at all and then relocating is less difficult. Alaska is diverse and each community is different.

    Also, and this is important if you want to stay married, you need to consider what your wife likes. If either of you are close to your families, the distance will wear on you. Factor in the cost and hassel of getting to and from the lower 48 if you have relationships there you want to maintain.

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    DLG would work for what you want to do, don't sweat the shipping.....just don't bring it all. That place is a dead end for many goods and there are plenty available to furnish and equip yourself. Sending a vehicle is a good idea as no one maintains their stuff and as such you will pay a premium for something with low real value and will need work. I lived there for 8 years, moved there with two duffle bags and did just fine over time.

    Look for land out the road towards Alegnagik, you will be a half hour from "town" and if it's open enough you can grow stuff. Moose hunting is as good as your effort, fishing is of course excellent and you can set nets on top of sport fishing. Plenty of waterfowl and grouse for that level of subsistence as well.

    Not sure if any of the above posters have actually logged any time in the bush as their home so take it with a grain of salt. You can easily fill freezers out there but it all happens in a short amount of time, you will not be hunting everyday, but when you do you will likely take something home.

    The town itself will be the challenge, it's a unique social situation to say the least but some thrive there. Land is not that expensive (not as cheap as Methsilla but waaaaay cheaper than anchorage, Fairbanks and especially Juneau (just ask me, I just bought a house in Juneau and I'm still bleeding). So, if you have the cash to get started, the food thing isn't that big of a deal due to the protein, and eventual green house etc. that you can get yourself. Getting in and out is expensive (500 bucks just to Anchorage), gas is 6.75 a gallon. Building materials are steep.

    Simply put though, the freight costs are the least of your worries.....

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    I live for the most part a Subsistence life style. Our diet consist of Moose and fish, we have four gardens for produce and a good root cellar. We age and process our own meat I don't commute to work, as the nearest road is 30 miles away. I have a freight business and haul peoples supplies and fuel and such. Also do handyman work for others as a way to make a living. It's a great lifestyle and about the only thing I can think of that is a negative is that fuel cost for the Generators and the plane are too high. But hey you have to take the good with the bad! The hardest part about getting into this lifestyle is the initial cost. Were talking land, cabin, generators, boats, atv's, snowmachines, tools, and so forth. But once you have set your self up to be self sufficient for the most part it is way cheaper after that. No utility bills and if you just run your generator for the time you need it ie: Freezers in the summertime, then the fuel bill adds up to next to nothing. We heat with firewood and haul our own freight so mostly just labor.

    The best advise I can give you is do what your heart says. Oh and what your wife says too!

  13. #13

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    ?????????????????? Hehehehehehehe

    Quote Originally Posted by Catch It View Post
    Not sure if any of the above posters have actually logged any time in the bush as their home so take it with a grain of salt. ....

  14. #14

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    NRick, Thanks for the reply. Without knowing me, your questions about what I want compared to my other half are good. I will say this about me, there's NEVER a thought that runs through my head that doesn't get questioned a thousand time over. I am my worst critic and second guesser. As you can see, I'm doing research for that very question. If I had it my way, I probably would take more of a chance with what I desire but since I do have someone else to think of, I'm asking where a good place to start a new life woul be. This question was was asked because we have both sat down and shared our thoughts and concerns, and also explained what we would both want and need. Her happiness is at the top of my priority list.

    The short story on me is this. I'm in my late 20's, physically fit, and one attractive son of a gun if I must say so! My best attribute is that I'm extremely humble and modest. . . . . haha.. No but all honesty... late 20's, avid outdoorsman, currently reside in Central Texas but have only lives here 3 years. I actually hail from Ohio and moved to the mountains in Big Piney Wyoming after I graduated. I have worked a variety of jobs, from Rodeo to the oilfield to over the road truck driver to construction work. Needless to say I'm pretty well rounded. I have traveled more than most on this board and most people do in a lifetime and still haven't quite goin my niche in society. I got turned onto Alaska not from any reality TV show but from stories from my parents when they both resided in Alaska in the late 70s to early 80s. I was about 1 month late from being born in Alaska. My family owned property towards the Tok area and had to sell it due to uncontrollable circumstances. I never had the chance to visit so that's why I'm spending 2 weeks there this coming May to figure out the next chapter in my life. Is there a chance I could hate it, yes. But HIGHLY unlikely! The thought of not loving it there is not even a thought in my head!

    Catch it- thank you so much for the info! I would love to visit with you more about Dillingham sometime if you don't mind!?
    i will keep all your suggestions in mind.
    -JD

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    Member hogfamily's Avatar
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    "I have traveled more than most on this board..."

    Was going to add my experiences but seeing that you have traveled more than I have it appears that I have nothing of interest to offer you.

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    You should look at Anchor Point or Nikiski....best land deals in the state (but DO NOT buy land sight unseen, tons of people have done that up here, to their misfortune), low cost of living, good climate, good fishing and hunting, low crime rate, good schools, tons of work for a guy that doesn't mind getting dirty. Big Piney is one nice area....my mom ran a snowmachine lodge there for a while, stepdad drove truck in the fields....rural areas on the KP are somewhat similar....just a lot warmer in the winter, and salmon fishing in the summer
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by hogfamily View Post
    "I have traveled more than most on this board..."

    Was going to add my experiences but seeing that you have traveled more than I have it appears that I have nothing of interest to offer you.

    I said most.. Not all! Please enlighten me! Since you said that I'm certain you have some great stories. Certainly you're not as sarcastic as I am... Or are you?

    I will do research and check out Anchor Point and Nikiski when I get there in May! Thank you for the advice!

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexander View Post
    I live for the most part a Subsistence life style. Our diet consist of Moose and fish, we have four gardens for produce and a good root cellar.
    You left out the Macadamia Nuts from your nut farm in Hawaii...
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tearbear View Post
    You left out the Macadamia Nuts from your nut farm in Hawaii...


    Your right! Lots of nut at the nut farm!

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    A few years ago I was looking into a piece of land that was remote cost was about $80,000 for hundred sixty acres the cost of putting a 400 square foot cabin on that property was almost as much as the property itself about $80,000 and that was a quote from Evergreen air. as much as these guys kid with you they have some very good insights and help me over the long run. Pairing Down some of my grand dreams but it still means that you can get there good luck on your quest hope to see you there.

    Ron
    "Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure science"

    Edwin Hubble

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