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  • A place to build

    Hello all,
    I have the chance, and would like to retire in a few years. I would like to do so in Alaska. While I'm still physically able, I want to build my own A-Frame, all by myself. And since I have a limited budget for said project, I'm limited as to the purchase price and quality of land. There are a few plots in the June Creek Subdivision about 25 miles north of Healy that are available through the over-the-counter land sales offered by the state of Alaska. The land is occupied mostly by Black Spruce.

    What can you tell me about the soil conditions on land that Black Spruce like?

    Through my research, I see that the soil drains poorly, and that the frost line is some 8 to 10 feet down. Since I don't want to deal with maintaining jack levels to maintain house levelness throughout the seasons, I want to build on concrete piles set below the frost line. How I will achieve this, alone, is uncertain at the moment. But I want to try.

    So, what can you tell me about this area and its soil conditions? Will I sink to my knees in the summer? Can I drive a vehicle on the soil in the summer? What am I getting myself into?

    Thanks in advance for any and all replies...
    Bill

  • #2
    You need to look at each lot before buying. Some have gravel a foot down while others might thaw and turn into a deep bog.
    You can't drive a street vehicle in to many of those June Creek lots except when frozen. Roads shown on the plats don't always exist. Even on the same lot the land can be quite different. There may not be a frost line if building on permafrost. Once you break the surface moss and root mass it will continue to thaw and turn into a wet boggy mess. Even outhouse holes will fill with water from the melting of permafrost.


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    • #3
      There are nice lots in the area but you will need to look. Most that the state is selling now are cheap either because the land is poor or were a repo. I recently sold one of the lots I had in June Creek because access was so difficult. The lot itself was up on the hillside with big spruce and birch. Mile off the highway. Winter time on a snowmachine my trail might drift over within minutes of making it. Summer time with an Argo 8x8 it was a slow rough ride with quite a bit of water in places especially in the spring. It did have the advantage that no one on a 4 wheeler tried to go back to it because of the swampy areas. Parking your vehicle out by the Parks highway always worried me because of theft and vandalism.
      I guess what I'm trying to say is that leveling a cabin once a year is the easiest part of living in June Creek unless you are right on one of the few real roads in the subdivision.
      I still have a lot on Bear Creek in the June Creek subdivision that I can drive to in the winter once the tore up trail freezes solid or in the summer up the Bear Creek bed after the glacier overflow melts. Of course if it happens to rain hard in the headwaters the creek is not the place to be.
      There are Facebook groups for the Healy area if you are not on them already and even one for June Creek subdivision where people actually living in there could give you more help if you don't get it here. I personally love the area but there is nothing easy about it.
      Scott

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      • #4
        There's nothing more expensive than cheap land in Alaska.
        There's nothing more expensive than cheap land in Alaska.
        There's nothing more expensive than cheap land in Alaska.

        Accessible buildable land in Alaska costs more because it is worth it. If you have to work another year to have the money to buy a quality piece of land, do it. Before you buy any piece of land, visit it in the winter and during breakup. If you can't afford to visit the land, you can't afford to build on it. It's not at all uncommon to see land that was subdivided and sold by the state not be developed, and you see it listed on real estate websites for years.
        Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

        If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by paul h View Post
          there's nothing more expensive than cheap land in alaska.
          There's nothing more expensive than cheap land in alaska.
          There's nothing more expensive than cheap land in alaska.
          That's good advice Paul. I think I'll heed it. What is considered good, accessible, buildable land? Where should I look? What should I expect to pay per acre?

          Comment


          • #6
            There's a whole host of factors you need to consider before even addressing $/acre.

            Do want to be able to hunt and fish on the land, or near the land?
            Do you want access the fresh water fishing?
            Do you want access to salt water fishing?
            What game species do you want to hunt?
            Do you want to grow crops on the land?
            How will you heat the cabin?
            How will you get fuel to the cabin?
            Do you want road access to the cabin?
            Do you want electricity and how do you plan to get it to the cabin?
            Do you want land with a view?
            Do you want lake or ocean front property?
            How big of a lot do you want?
            If the property requires crossing rivers or lakes, how do you plan to deal with freeze up and break up when they are impassable for weeks at a time?
            How do you plan to get food and building supplies to the land?
            Do you plan to occupy the land year round?

            The thing is you probably won't be able to answer all those questions until you spend some time in Alaska. You could find a good piece of land that is reasonably priced, but it doesn't fit your needs. I'd highly advise coming up and renting a place for a year or two and traveling around the state to see what you do and don't like, and to get a better understanding of the issues of accessing land.
            Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

            If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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            • #7
              There was a woman that used to buy remote properties, usually at the tax auctions. She would then list it on Ebay showing the road plats, which of course were not constructed. Lost track of how many times people showed up at the end of the highway in a rental car and were extremely pissed to discover they could not drive the 18 miles of wilderness to their new property.
              Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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              • #8
                I just want a place to retire that I don't have to pay anybody anything. I don't want any bills. Simple as that.
                I want a well with drinkable water. I'll pound it in. I'll heat with wood. I'll hunt if I need to. I'll go to town for groceries and grow my own. I'll eat tree bark if I have to. Is tree bark tasty?

                I just want a porch to sit on and watch the sun and moon all day long. I'll walk because I want to. I'll work the land and property to survive. I'll carry boards in one by one and by hand if I have to. I want to spend the rest of my meaningless days on this earth working for me. I want a simple life away from the rat race face passed pushing and shoving life of the world. I want to retire in the gentle quietness of 50-below and inhale its crisp air once again. I want to sit my warn ass on a cold outhouse seat to poop like I did in my youth on those fun-filled beer-drinking weekends with friends in the northern woods of Wisconsin.

                I've had enough of dogs constantly barking at all hours of the day and night, and cats going through the neighbors garbage that he carelessly leaves on the ground. I want a bear and/or moose to scare the hell out of me one day. Maybe twice. I want to fight the sons********es with just a hatchet just to see who wins.

                I want to show up in Alaska with Maggie Mae (Mazda MX-5) and the clothes on my back and go from there. I'll buy an old beat up Jeep and 4-wheeler from somewhere, find the nearest Home Depot and get to work on the next chapter of my life. If anyone finds my hatchet, that means the bear won. If he ends up on my laying flat on my cabin floor, stop on by, I'll feed ya. roud:

                No matter where I end up, it's not going to be as bad as where I'm at now. If I want a view, I'll go climb a mountain.

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                • #9
                  My wife and I bought some land a couple years ago. It's on a lake far from any road, the first owner bought it from the state in the early 1990s through the remote staking program.

                  The state has several lots in the area that are smaller than our lot and appraised by the state at considerably more per acre than we paid. It's my opinion that the state is asking too much for those lots. These are remote lots with float plane access. You may find that a private owner is more ready to part with unused land at a fair price than the state is.

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                  • #10
                    William42 , I don't want to be the bearier of bad news but what you have described is not here . What you talk about is not a simple there is not time to sit around and watch the world go by. You will stay busy just staying warm feeding yourself . It is just not a cake walk. But good luck in chasing your dream.



                    Originally posted by William42 View Post
                    I just want a place to retire that I don't have to pay anybody anything. I don't want any bills. Simple as that.
                    I want a well with drinkable water. I'll pound it in. I'll heat with wood. I'll hunt if I need to. I'll go to town for groceries and grow my own. I'll eat tree bark if I have to. Is tree bark tasty?

                    I just want a porch to sit on and watch the sun and moon all day long. I'll walk because I want to. I'll work the land and property to survive. I'll carry boards in one by one and by hand if I have to. I want to spend the rest of my meaningless days on this earth working for me. I want a simple life away from the rat race face passed pushing and shoving life of the world. I want to retire in the gentle quietness of 50-below and inhale its crisp air once again. I want to sit my warn ass on a cold outhouse seat to poop like I did in my youth on those fun-filled beer-drinking weekends with friends in the northern woods of Wisconsin.

                    I've had enough of dogs constantly barking at all hours of the day and night, and cats going through the neighbors garbage that he carelessly leaves on the ground. I want a bear and/or moose to scare the hell out of me one day. Maybe twice. I want to fight the sons********es with just a hatchet just to see who wins.

                    I want to show up in Alaska with Maggie Mae (Mazda MX-5) and the clothes on my back and go from there. I'll buy an old beat up Jeep and 4-wheeler from somewhere, find the nearest Home Depot and get to work on the next chapter of my life. If anyone finds my hatchet, that means the bear won. If he ends up on my laying flat on my cabin floor, stop on by, I'll feed ya. roud:

                    No matter where I end up, it's not going to be as bad as where I'm at now. If I want a view, I'll go climb a mountain.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by William42 View Post
                      I just want a place to retire that I don't have to pay anybody anything. I don't want any bills. Simple as that.
                      I want a well with drinkable water. I'll pound it in. I'll heat with wood. I'll hunt if I need to. I'll go to town for groceries and grow my own. I'll eat tree bark if I have to. Is tree bark tasty?

                      I just want a porch to sit on and watch the sun and moon all day long. I'll walk because I want to. I'll work the land and property to survive. I'll carry boards in one by one and by hand if I have to. I want to spend the rest of my meaningless days on this earth working for me. I want a simple life away from the rat race face passed pushing and shoving life of the world. I want to retire in the gentle quietness of 50-below and inhale its crisp air once again. I want to sit my warn ass on a cold outhouse seat to poop like I did in my youth on those fun-filled beer-drinking weekends with friends in the northern woods of Wisconsin.

                      I've had enough of dogs constantly barking at all hours of the day and night, and cats going through the neighbors garbage that he carelessly leaves on the ground. I want a bear and/or moose to scare the hell out of me one day. Maybe twice. I want to fight the sons********es with just a hatchet just to see who wins.

                      I want to show up in Alaska with Maggie Mae (Mazda MX-5) and the clothes on my back and go from there. I'll buy an old beat up Jeep and 4-wheeler from somewhere, find the nearest Home Depot and get to work on the next chapter of my life. If anyone finds my hatchet, that means the bear won. If he ends up on my laying flat on my cabin floor, stop on by, I'll feed ya. roud:

                      No matter where I end up, it's not going to be as bad as where I'm at now. If I want a view, I'll go climb a mountain.
                      You could start with the 5 acres on the bluff over looking Cook Inlet my brother has. 16x26 finished cabin with furniture. Outhouse. You pound the well or get water from the creek and rain gutters. I'll keep an eye out for your hatchet.
                      Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You can be remote, have nice ground, or have affordable land... pick 2.
                        ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SmokeRoss View Post
                          You could start with the 5 acres on the bluff over looking Cook Inlet my brother has. 16x26 finished cabin with furniture. Outhouse. You pound the well or get water from the creek and rain gutters. I'll keep an eye out for your hatchet.
                          You gonna pound a well from on top of a bluff? Can I watch?
                          ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
                          I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
                          The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Big Bend View Post
                            William42 , I don't want to be the bearier of bad news but what you have described is not here . What you talk about is not a simple there is not time to sit around and watch the world go by. You will stay busy just staying warm feeding yourself . It is just not a cake walk. But good luck in chasing your dream.
                            When sharing ones dream there is always a little story-telling and fantasy involved. And a little humor to go with it. Thanks for the good luck. I'm sure I'll need it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Akheloce View Post
                              You can be remote, have nice ground, or have affordable land... pick 2.
                              Which two go together?

                              Comment

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