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forest service cabin booking secret?

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  • forest service cabin booking secret?

    Been trying to reserve a cabin on san juan bay montague for a year. It never is available. How can I reserve it? I emailed the forest service, they werent any help. I dont understand how people are reserving them past a year when they tell me you cant.
    thanks matt

  • #2
    reserving public use cabins

    Are you going to the right site on-line? Public use cabin reservations can be made at I just looked at the availability for the San Juan Bay Cabin and it is available for the rest of this week. It is also available for most of December. (I didn't look beyond 12-31.) The general rule is that you can reserve forest service cabins up to 180 days in advance. Because of their limited number, many of these cabins book 6 months in advance, so you often have to do a lot of planning to get a prime cabin. (We have often gone on line at midnight on consecutive days to ensure getting a cabin for several days or to get cabins along the Resurrection Trail on consecutive days of a multi-day backpacking trip.)


    • #3
      Those place book in a year in advance. If I remember right It opens for reservation in Nov. IE The russian river reservation will open up in Nov for the 2007 season.
      Living the Alaskan Dream
      Gary Keller
      Anchorage, AK


      • #4
        I want to reserve it for october of next year. Yeah I ma using reserve usa site. I guess Ill just keep on trying


        • #5
          it's 6 months

          Henleun's right that max advance reservation is 180 days in advance. Just count 180 days backward from when you want it, and you should be able to book the cabin in October 07 in April 07. but I'm quite sure it's not midnight that the new days become available. It's something like 7 am, or I guess 6 am if you're in Alaska.

          The forest service has concessioned the reservations to this reserveUSA call center/website. You can also call reserveUSA, because the website sometimes gets overloaded, but you have to call them at the crack of dawn whenver they open.

          I didn't know reserving the San Juan cabin wuz all that way there.....wonder what scoop is.


          • #6
            Do what stevesch said

            Count the number of days back from when you want to go and log into the site on that day.

            Any cabin close to decent deer populations is going to fill up fast, if you think San Juan is bad try getting into Logjam on the other side.

            Let me know if you want any first hand knowledge of the cabin/area, I been there 3 times.


            • #7

              Originally posted by J FICKES View Post
              Let me know if you want any first hand knowledge of the cabin/area, I been there 3 times.
              I was planning a trip there to hunt deer - discovered that it is not only difficult to reserve the cabin - but VERY difficult to get a flight into the island... seems that beach landings are precarious at best, must be done with Tides just so, and lake landings completely rely on the 'ice' conditions of the ponds/lakes.
              Don't forget that some of the area is native lands, and requires necessary permits (easy to get, especially if you have reservation).

              Did you boat in? Recommend a drop service?

              Any suggestions?


              • #8
                We flew in to San Juan BAy each time, once from Seward and twice from Anchorage. Getting a fly in wasn't that difficult but its all depends on the weather like anywhere else. You do need to land at low tide. If you call the fly in folks they'll be able to tell you what time they can take you in and pick you up. One time in Anch we had a day and a half delay and when we went in from Seward we had a day delay coming back, not too bad. We also took a boat out of Whittier once to the cabin on Green Island, no delays. Flew in with Jayhawk Air (Anch) and Bear Lake Air (Sew).


                • #9
                  I flew in with natron air to San juan. Great outfit, and he has a cool plane! he is out of soldotna


                  • #10
                    another low-tech secret to booking FS cabins is to...

                    By the way:

                    One of the issues with reserving 180 days in advance is that it means 180 days in advance of your FIRST day. So if someone got in ahead of you, there is no way of knowing from the website the number of days that they reserved for, so you can't figure out what day the cabin will become available for reserving.

                    Another low-tech secret to booking the FS cabins is to just call up reserveUSA on the phone and ask them when you can reserve that cabin again. They know, even though the website doesn't say tell you. That way you're not guessing at what is 180 days or 180 + 7 or 5 or something else.

                    There used to be problems with people continually changing reservations so they could move them forward a week at a time and effectively book more than 180 days in advance, but the FS stopped that; they also monitor the reservations for people who try to book two weeks through a friend or relative. Others who may be camping in the area and see a group hogging the cabin for more than a week sometimes report this.

                    I flew to Montague thru Cordova with "fishing and flying"; which is at the airport there....good equipment/pilots/communication/convenience. Would recommend them if this is an option for you.

                    I too had issues with weather (delays on both ends), and matching up tides to cabin availability. Camped for few days to make it work. Was worth it.


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