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  #1  
Old 04/19/12, 03:02 PM
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Alone in the Wilderness

We were watching a PBS special a while back and got caught up in the Dick Proenneke story about his 35 years living alone in the Alaska wilderness. Long story short, we wound up buying the complete collection of 4 DVD's and the book.

Only 2 of the DVD are worth watching, in my opinion. Alone in the Wilderness, and Alone in the Wilderness II. The others are mostly rehash. I like the book. I get things when I read that don't stick when I'm watching.

Leads me to my question. They don't give much of a back story. The series just begins with him in Alaska. Can anyone tell me how it is that you can just wander out somewhere and build a cabin, and live there? Who owns the land? What are his legal rights and obligations. This was around 1967, so the Homesteading Act may come in to play, but I'm not sure. Can anyone explain how he was able to do this, and can it still be done today?

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Old 04/19/12, 03:10 PM
 
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Might I suggest another homesteader
DVD
Hell in the bush
and
off the beaten path.

We met them in their golden years and they are alive and kicking. They did crazy things and really have a story which is well told

It is about
Mary and "Bob Haeg--I know that it makes the round on TV.

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  #3  
Old 04/19/12, 03:20 PM
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does this help?
Alone in the Wilderness, the story of Dick Proenneke, by Bob Swerer Productions

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  #4  
Old 04/19/12, 03:21 PM
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Ask Sourdough in Country Singletree.

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  #5  
Old 04/19/12, 04:10 PM
 
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You can't homestead now like Dick did back then. He was a great guy, my Dad knew him and still stops by the cabin when he fly's into the lake. He was one heck of a craftsman and we are all fortunate that he took the time to write and film his life it is a great testament to a life well lived!

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Old 04/19/12, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tailwagging View Post
Thanks, but unfortunately, that is the same information they provide in the book. They make it sound as if he just wandered out in to the Alaskan bush, built a cabin, and lived there.

I guess I'm just too civilized, but I can't quite wrap my head around that. I'm thinking that there must have been some kind of a process to go through. Some application or something. Even in our pioneer days, when homesteaders were given land out west, they had to register, and after so many years they owned the land.

They talk about Dick donating the cabin to the Park service, but they never discuss ownership of the land.

I'm just curious, that's all.
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  #7  
Old 04/19/12, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogrunner View Post
You can't homestead now like Dick did back then. He was a great guy, my Dad knew him and still stops by the cabin when he fly's into the lake. He was one heck of a craftsman and we are all fortunate that he took the time to write and film his life it is a great testament to a life well lived!
Thanks, that's what I was thinking, that the laws of the time allowed this type of homesteading. It's just odd that it isn't addressed anywhere in the book. I'm still curious how this was managed, and permitted.

I agree, he must have been an amazing man. His journal entries are very thoughtful. It's fascinating reading.
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  #8  
Old 04/19/12, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl B View Post
Ask Sourdough in Country Singletree.
Ditto this. Ask Sourdough, he knows Dick Proenneke and his history and he's posted about Dick in Singletree.

.
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  #9  
Old 04/19/12, 05:19 PM
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If anyone else wants to watch some:


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  #10  
Old 04/19/12, 06:03 PM
 
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Wikipedia pretty much explains it. Richard Proenneke - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

geo

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  #11  
Old 04/20/12, 09:09 AM
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We watched that special a while back too, Incredible!

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  #12  
Old 04/20/12, 10:16 PM
 
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any notice the camera follows him sometimes--must not be very alone.

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  #13  
Old 04/21/12, 06:46 AM
 
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Having just come from Alaska I can assure you that you CAN homestead just like Dick did. The state parcels off areas in the deep wilderness as homesteading land (usually near a lake) and you have to file for that lot and meet certain obligations.

Dick did not simply walk up anywhere and start building a cabin, he went through the proper channels. You can get land in AK for homesteading but they are usually very remote, hard to access, and tough terrain. You really have to do your homework. Personally, I found it to be easier and maybe even cheaper in the long run to buy a plot of bush land since it is so cheap anyway.

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  #14  
Old 04/21/12, 02:07 PM
 
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This is from the DNR site for the State of Alaska

Can I homestead in Alaska?


We do not have a homesteading program at this time. If a homestead program is opened in the future, the public will be notified through news advertisements, general media releases, Public Information Center general information messages, and posted on the Land Offering web page.

this is a warning because so many people DID move up here trying to Homestead and get free land when this was claimed on the ophra show.

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  #15  
Old 04/21/12, 10:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kasilofhome View Post
This is from the DNR site for the State of Alaska

Can I homestead in Alaska?


We do not have a homesteading program at this time. If a homestead program is opened in the future, the public will be notified through news advertisements, general media releases, Public Information Center general information messages, and posted on the Land Offering web page.

this is a warning because so many people DID move up here trying to Homestead and get free land when this was claimed on the ophra show.
Things must have changed since I was there a few years ago. They had newspaper ads and flyers all around. Seemed like they couldn't give the land away.
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  #16  
Old 04/21/12, 10:46 PM
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I was just talking to a friend about that a few days ago. We were talking about where a person could go to bug out and test their wilderness survival skills nowadays? I mean, if you don't own a remote tract of land yourself, where would a person go? I have watched that documentary you mentioned and I thought of it during the conversation with my friend. Because it seems like years ago, people could more easily get off by themselves away from civilization if they wanted to.

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  #17  
Old 04/22/12, 09:45 AM
 
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I might go to the Bob Marshal wilderness area or some other wilderness. If you wanted to go to Alaska you could go and do it there. Just because the government isn't giving away free land doesn't mean you can't go there. i bought a cabin up in Alaska a few years ago. its only by going there did I realize how absolutely vast and unexplored most of it is. Its like a wilderness planet all by itself. It took me and my friend 2 days to hike up to where the cabin was, on the way we past alot of abandoned, ruined cabins that might be made livable with some effort. If I wanted to go to alaska or some other wilderness and test my survival skills I would just go and do it. For me at the time it made more sense to buy, so I couldn't be rousted out and have to start over. But looking back I could have had the same experience without making the purchase.

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  #18  
Old 04/23/12, 12:31 AM
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When I was last in Alaska, the state was parceling out wilderness tracts for differing kinds of homesteads. However, it was anything but free. One of the requirements was you had to get it surveyed by a professional certified surveyor... which could cost tens of thousands of dollars... flying in a surveyor and helper, and clearing all of the boundary lines, could run up a large bill.

For all intents and purposes, the Homesteading Act is dead.

Alaska homesteading is different from lower 48 homesteading. The few areas that would support agriculture (of a sort) were appropriated early.... most of the rest of the state just isn't really suitable for what most folks think of as homesteading. AK game laws are very complex, and unless you marry a certified Native, you could go for years without getting any large game permits. Not like going and getting a hunting license and filling your tag any time you want.... lots of lotteries for the few permits available... it was a real downer living there and not being able to hunt...

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  #19  
Old 04/23/12, 12:41 AM
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I read up on homesteading in Alaska 4 or so years ago. In certain places you could get free or nearly free land. You had to promise to develop it though, build homes with local developers, enroll kids in the local school system, etc. You had to agree to become part of a small community and help it grow. Like Texican said, that could start costing some real money. You could tell just by reading, they frowned on people doing things on the cheap. They dont want a bunch of bums from the lower 48, who thinks theres lots of free living either.


Quote:
any notice the camera follows him sometimes--must not be very alone
I noticed that, I asked Sourdough, and Dick would set up cameras out where he would be and have the camera run on automatic settings. He did film it by himself.
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  #20  
Old 04/23/12, 12:49 AM
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Not Alaska, but I always admired this woman, The Root Beer Lady, and her life in MN:
Dorothy Molter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I just wouldn't want all the visitors she had!

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