People from Alaska I need your help

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Kenneth in NC, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. Kenneth in NC

    Kenneth in NC Well-Known Member

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    Most on here know me and my situation so I'll just ask the most burning questions I have right now. All help appreciated.

    How will the Real-ID act effect Alaska Residents?

    What are the typical living conditions and prices thereof in town and out in the bush?

    What is the "real' Prices of land (small acreage 5-10 acres) with and with out housing?

    I've read that out houses are more common than septic systems is this true?

    Does Alaska still give "residents" 10,000 board feet of red cedar lumber for FREE?

    How would a older adult with Congestive Heart Failure and Diabetes make a living in Alaska?

    Is the Pipe Line Still hiring Armed Guards?

    How do the "outback" folks get supplies?

    Are folks still gold panning to pay for supplies?

    What is expected as far as education for minor children? Is homeschooling or distance learning accepted?

    Here's the big question If a family of 3-10 were coming to Alaska with about $15,000 in hand to work with what would you recommend them do to survive there?

    I've read that there is almost no crime and no gang type activities in Alaska is this true or false?

    Is it hard to get electricity outside of towns?

    Thanks for your insights.

    Kenneth in NC
     
  2. Snowdancer

    Snowdancer Well-Known Member

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    Kenneth, here's the crime stats for all states so you can compare them to other areas you may be interested in. I'll add more links when I find them in my files-we had thought about AK so I have a few to share. :)

    Crime Statistics
    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004912.html

    Department of Natural Resources
    http://www.dnr.state.ak.us/

    Department of Labor including Relocation info
    http://www.labor.state.ak.us/

    Anchorage Real Estate & surrounding areas
    http://www.anchoragerealestateinfo.com/Anchorage_relocation.shtml

    State of Alaska- A-Z info & many links of interest to those relocating.
    http://www.state.ak.us/local/facts.shtml

    AK Gold Panning bulletin board-may be able to answer some questions
    http://bb.bbboy.net/alaskagoldforum
     

  3. akmtman2

    akmtman2 Member

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    Kenneth:

    Good questions. I'll give you my take on it.

    How will the Real-ID act affect Alaska Residents?

    I am afraid I may live too remote. I am not familiar with the Real-ID act. I’ll have to see what I can find out.

    What are the typical living conditions and prices thereof in town and out in the bush?

    Living conditions, for the most part, are similar here as they are in other rural areas of the US. The remote bush is “Remote.” Lots of places only have boat and/or plane (small plane) access.

    What is the "real' Prices of land (small acreage 5-10 acres) with and with out housing?

    Remember, Alaska is a huge state so I am giving you my firsthand info from down here in the Southeast. It may be different in other locations but as a rule probably applies to most of the state. Land is expensive. Most of Alaska is locked up by either the Fed’s or the State. What small amount of land comes up for sale usually goes for what I would consider a high price. If you could get an acre for $20,000.00 I would ask what’s wrong with it. Also, this is bare land, no improvements. Before you start building on it you have to figure how with the muskeg (or permafrost further north). More costs.

    I've read that out houses are more common than septic systems is this true?

    Possibly out in the remote bush. The state has made a push $$ to get people off of what the locals call “Honey buckets” (lots of people used to use 5 gal buckets) and into something a little more sanitary.

    Does Alaska still give "residents" 10,000 board feet of red cedar lumber for FREE?

    Yes, sounds great doesn’t it? Not exactly what you are thinking, trust me. First, red cedar is only in the Southeast. (But the 10,000 board feet can be other species. Also, your firewood counts against this). It doesn’t grow up north. Second, the Feds run this. There is a permit to be filed, the trees have to be selected by the individual, and then approved by the Feds. Then you have to figure out how to get these large trees out of the woods. Very seldom is it a drive up, cut, and load deal. Southeast is a Rainforest and it is dense. Also, the Feds don’t want any mess left around. My wife and I are currently building a log home. Found it better to arrange things through someone that is actually logging than to do our own. This means more $$, so the wood isn’t free.

    How would a older adult with Congestive Heart Failure and Diabetes make a living in Alaska?

    In the big cities they have decent medical care. (Hospitals). I tell friends and family down south, that here in rural Alaska, all we have is what I call First Aid Stations. If it is major you will have to be medi-vac out (Helicopter and/or jet). This is way expense.

    Is the Pipe Line Still hiring Armed Guards?

    Don’t know. I didn’t know they were.

    How do the "outback" folks get supplies?

    We get ours on a weekly barge. If a gas shortage or catastrophe caused the barge not to come, there are going to be a lot of hungry people.

    Are folks still gold panning to pay for supplies?

    Not for quit a while, now.

    What is expected as far as education for minor children? Is homeschooling or distance learning accepted?

    Just like down south, suppose to go through high school. Lots of home schooling happening. Even considered it for my own children.

    Here's the big question If a family of 3-10 were coming to Alaska with about $15,000 in hand to work with what would you recommend them do to survive there?

    Find work. With a family, rent, utilities, and expensive food, you would go through that money fast. But it can be done. Have some good friends that are doing about what you are saying.

    I've read that there is almost no crime and no gang type activities in Alaska is this true or false?

    Not true. The big cities have big city problems. In rural areas, not much police, but the abuse of substances is prevalent. A lot just never gets caught or reported.

    Is it hard to get electricity outside of towns?

    Yes and no. Yes it is hard, but if you have money you could probably get it brought to you. When I say money, I mean lots of money.

    Hope this answers a few of your questions.
     
  4. freeinalaska

    freeinalaska Well-Known Member

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    Hi Kenneth,

    I'm a born and bred North Carolinian, just transplanted to AK. I'll do my best to answer your questions about the greatest place in the country.

    So you ask.....

    So let's get down to brass tacks. How will the Real-ID effect Alaska Residents?

    We don't really know. We certainly will resist. Most Alaskans don't like Outsiders telling us what to do

    What are the typical living conditions and prices thereof in town and out in the bush?
    It really depends. When we first got here we lived in the bush on an island and had power and flush toilets for the first time since we started raising kids. We now haul water, live off grid and heat and cook with wood. Many folks live the rural life while many don't. It is more common here to strive for a subsistance lifestyle than anywhere else in the country. Put it this way an aweful lot of us like to live outside the mainstream in conditions that are quite rough.

    Other than a land grant like you got what is the "real' Prices of land (small acreage 5-10 acres)
    I did not get a land grant, I bought both of my parcels. Typically 5 to 10 acres on the road system, within 1 hour from Fairbanks, $7K to $20K, with grid power possible add 3K to 5K. View property above the ice fog is more. (here in the interior the higher the elevation the warmer, the coldest places are the valleys. My place can be -50F, but drive 800ft higher in elevation and it can be 30 degrees warmer)I am speaking from an interior Alaska view point, but I've seen similar prices in other places. Larger parcels can be had for hundreds of dollars an acre if you are willing to fly or snow machine in.

    Does Alaska still give "residents" 10,000 board feet of red cedar lumber for FREE?

    Never heard of that one. Permanant residents do get an annual oil dividend. In 2000 it was $2000 each, last year $900 each. It varies with the market.

    How would a older adult with Congestive Heart Failure and Diabetes make a living in Alaska?

    Is the Pipe Line Still hiring Armed Guards?
    YES

    How do the "outback" folks get supplis?
    Plane, barge, boat, snow machine, dog sled, over priced local store....Actually bush communities have something called bypass mail, which is cheaper that regular mail and is for food and necessities. You can call the "bush order" department in the Fred Meyers in Fairbanks and they will set you up.

    Are folks still gold panning to pay for supplies?
    Not so much....it's hard to hand pan and make money. I know someone with a small gas powered sluce box that claims he can make about $9/hr in gold in the right spot with little work.

    What is expected as far as education for minor children? Is homeschooling or distance learning accepted?
    Federal requirements must still be met (grrrr) but homeschooling and distance education are very accepted and we have some excellent programs. We have 4 teenagers in the public school system, but our 5 yo starts kindergarten this year. We are using the IDEA (Interior Distance Education) program. We get to pick the curriculum and get vouchers to use for approved other activities. We are are using ours for Spanish and ballet classes.

    Here's the big question If a family of 3-7 were coming to Alaska with about $15,000 in hand to work with what would you recommend them do to survive there?
    Come in spring to Fairbanks. Call the state land offices, Killion land company, etc. and find yourself 5 acres of land outside of town. A mere half hour drive and you really are pretty much in the bush. Put down $2000 and wind up with $200 dollar land payments (owner financing for raw land is pretty common). Build a cabin for $5K. Now 7 folks in a five thousand dollar cabin would be pretty tight, but hey we had all five of our kids in tents for five months while we were building. Being less than an hour from Fairbanks you can find some way to make some money while you figure out the more creative ways to survive. I'm sure you would come with guns, chainsaws and other necessities so, kill your moose in the fall and have the firewood stacked.

    What is current fuel prices and expected fuel prices in near future?
    Gas at $2.58 today in Fairbanks, and heating fuel not far behind and the wrse is expected. Firewood.....20 cords $200 bucks in truck gas.

    I've read but can't confirm that Gun laws are liberal and that gun ownership is a given in Alaska. True or False?
    Everyone is armed. I work for a rural telephone company and it is expected that I be armed. Know of many public utilities that expect you to have a rifle behind the seat and a .44 under it? This would be the most difficult place for the government to take over. Hey around here guns and sled dogs outnumber people by 3 or 4 to 1.

    Hey, feel free to ask me anything else. I think Alaska is the best place around and I really love the interior. Nothing like being outside at 40 below with the northern lights in the sky.
     
  5. Kenneth in NC

    Kenneth in NC Well-Known Member

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    Well here are a few more questions.

    Can you fish and hunt enough to provide meat for a family of 3-10. You mentioned that Find work. With a family, rent, utilities, and expensive food, you would go through that money fast. How fast is fast?


    akmtman2 and freeinalaska how are the weather patterns in your areas?

    So if the barge doesn't come people starve?

    What type of employment opportunities are available in towns? Outskirts?

    So crime is actually pretty high in Alaska. Looking at that chart KY Guest linked it looks like rape and violent crime are pretty high. Not exactly what I have been led to believe by some "aquiantances".

    Tell me more about the "Alaska Adventure" :)


    Kenneth in NC
     
  6. kasilofhome

    kasilofhome Well-Known Member

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    I live in the Kenia Pen. area. Not to far from Homer. Not many full time perm jobs. Gas here today is $2.71 for the cheap stuff. I have to drive about 30 miles to get to a store or most places ect church and childs school.

    Remember that we do not have the selection of items in our stores that you would have. Quite a bit of mail ordering. And yes, ID is an issue here. It is just starting and many may not know it but just to get a PO box Id that is aproved is mandatory!!!.

    Have everyones birth cert. Now a days it is a problem. I had to scroung up all the pages of our son's adoption papers just this week as page 3 was missing from someones file. Thank god the school had complete set and a fax machine.

    Good water can be a problem. Remember that the growing season is very different.

    I do not think that 15 grand will do it. I believe that you really need to think this out. Milk is $5. plus a gal. a doz. eggs are $4.99 fruit and lettuse is sold by the pound. a simple salad can cost my family $10- per meal. One has to shop very carefully. SALES ONLY

    Do not be suprized by the amount of DRUGS. I am against drugs. Smokes are over $5.00 a pack--- Quit smoking before getting here.

    ?BUt it is a beautiful place, and quite peacefull. Remember to keep you land one must be able to pay the land tax!! Land taxes can be VERY high in some places here
     
  7. Aintlifegrand

    Aintlifegrand Well-Known Member

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    Kenneth,

    I lived in the Southeast area for awhile but I moved back to the lower 48 in 95 so I cannot help with costs of things as I am sure they have gone up in 10 years. I think you will see a lot of varied answers here because Alaska is so big and it will depend on where the poster lives. Do you have a specific area that you are looking at? I know that land around Anchorage will be much higher than land around Fairbanks. Weather for the two are strikingly different as is the availability of health care. If it were me making the move I would look at the southeast based on climate alone. What a great adventure Alaska was for us. No matter your decision, it is all beautiful.
     
  8. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    This site may interest you. http://www.alaskahomesteading.com/

    I have heard that the growing season is longer and the winters milder if you are near the coasts. I have heard that the cost of living is high because so much is shipped in. And, I have heard that some places allow subsistance hunting/fishing and some do not.

    Good hunting!
     
  9. freeinalaska

    freeinalaska Well-Known Member

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    I didn't realize land was that expensive in the SE. The prices I quoted, $7K to $20K for five to 10 acres, are realistic here in the interior for decent raw property within an hour of Fairbanks. The state has a number of 5+ acre parcel new sudivision sales right now. But, you are very correct about the challenges of land with muskeg and permafrost, we have both. We have solid permafrost about 17 feet under ground, not a lens or fissure. With this the house should heave and sink relatively level and not tip too much. I have 18 piles with jacks to adjust the house a couple of times a year. After 3 years I haven't had to. As for the muskeg and swamp willow, moose love it and we don't have to go far for our annual kill.
    The sub-arctic interior has some of the coldest and warmest weather in the state. Summers are quite nice unless you get smoke from the wildfires like we did the last two. We get 70 to 80 degree days with 22 hours of sunlight. Winters are COLD. We were below -55 several times last winter with a month spent with highs around -38, but when it is that cold it is typically dead calm. We don't get too much snow compared to other places, but you keep it until breakup in the spring.
    Even as a resident I was surprised with a recent report regarding the crime statistics. Fairbanks was pretty bad statistically. One point is our native brothers and sisters have a real alcohol problem and troubles with the crossover from village subsistance life to more modern lifestyles. The alcohol issue leads to domestic violence and other crimes. On Unalaska Island where we lived before the interior, We never locked our doors and the keys were never removed from the ignition of the trucks. In our rural area our only real problem has been drunk driving and a couple of cases of vandalism. I have never hesitated letting my pre-teen daughters walk the trails to the small general store. Everyone has guns, particularly in the rural areas, and I think this keeps people in check. So IMO, yes Alaska has crime, but I really feel the statistics don't really give a true indication of what really goes on here. In general we all look out for each other.
     
  10. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

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    I'm enjoying the information...keep it coming. I grew up in Fairbanks, and plan to take the family back there withen the next 3-5 years. Going a little farther north this time. :)
     
  11. Grandmotherbear

    Grandmotherbear Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The guy who wrote A Walk Across America also wrote a book about his year in Alaska. Forget the name- It is currently in the bookstores in paperback. He interviews survivors of grazzly attacks, fishermen, outback people, the states lone surfer, etc. I strongly suggest you read some recent books about life in Alaska - also worth considering - what are your feelings about being a Do Not Rescusitate? If you go into bad CHF or a diabetic coma and theres a blizzard or some other condition preventing you from being air evaced, you will probably die. Are you all right with this scenario?
     
  12. Kenneth in NC

    Kenneth in NC Well-Known Member

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    Medical does concern me But on the otherhand I'm having mixed concerns with complying with the Real-ID act. So it may be a moot point regardless of where I am in the world.

    CHF and Diabetes may kill me yet. But as often advised on this forum "Live till you Die" do the best that you can.

    Kenneth in NC
     
  13. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    I've heard that Criminals that are wanted down here in the states move to Alaska to escape the Law.(remote country)

    If I was to move to Alaska, should this worry me?
     
  14. Kenneth in NC

    Kenneth in NC Well-Known Member

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    My wifes Aunt and Step daughter are about 95% sure that Alaska is where they want to go. They have since making that decision been trying to convince me, my wife and daughter to go with them.

    This discussion has given me some things to consider that I might have overlooked.

    I copied it and mailed her a hard copy of this discussion. She still plans to go Alaska.


    Kenneth in NC
     
  15. akmtman2

    akmtman2 Member

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    Can you fish and hunt enough to provide meat for a family of 3-10?

    Kenneth, you can catch more fish than you and your family could (or would want to) eat. Hunting here in Southeast is not the same as else where. The brush is extremely dense in a rainforest, so to be successful one usually hikes above tree-line. But the deer are the best I have ever tasted. Lots and lots of bear. It tastes a lot better than I expected. So, yes you can provide all the meat for your family.

    So if the barge doesn't come people starve?

    Yes, people will if they haven't planned accordingly. You should walk through the store on Saturday night. Most of the food (necessities) shelves are empty or almost so. I keep warning people, but like most, they believe nothing bad will ever happen.

    What type of employment opportunities are available in towns? Outskirts?

    Most good paying/full-time jobs are now government related. Still some jobs in fishing and logging but they are getting far and few between.

    akmtman2 and freeinalaska how are the weather patterns in your areas?

    Rain, rain, rain. We get approximately 130 inches or rain a year here in SE. Winters, under all that cloud cover are dark. Actual light in winter is approx 7 hrs here in SE. But when the clouds clear this is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. (Even with the clouds it can be wonderful.) I love SE, but the rain does get to my wife on occasion. The average temp is 40 or so. We do get a spell of freezing/snow for a couple of weeks in the winter, but mostly just rain. I haven't been to a 4th of July fireworks show where we haven't been in our coats and snuggling up to a loved one to stay warm. We do have a few weeks of 80+ weather, but that is the exception rather than the rule. Rain and lack of sunshine are big factors on whither you would like SE or not.

    With the rain/clouds your gardening is different from other places. Squash, corn, and tomatoes etc. are out unless you want to build a greenhouse. Peas, carrots, cabbages, beats, (cool loving plants) do wonderful. We get peas all summer long off one planting.

    I've heard that Criminals that are wanted down here in the states move to Alaska to escape the Law.(remote country) If I was to move to Alaska, should this worry me?

    Unfortunately this is true. Some criminals do come to remote places to get lost. But they come to get lost and work to stay that way if they have come this far. From what I see it is more family/friends committing crimes to each other than strangers doing it to them. So, I don't worry much about this aspect. Just have to keep on eye on that wife! :D

    I think Alaska is the place to be if you like independence and can handle the remoteness.
     
  16. Valduare

    Valduare Well-Known Member

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    what is your nearest town in SE and what do you do for work
     
  17. akmtman2

    akmtman2 Member

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    what is your nearest town in SE and what do you do for work

    Nearest town - Craig

    Work - whatever I can find.
     
  18. Valduare

    Valduare Well-Known Member

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    ah u know wadleigh island then? i almost owned an acre on it once
     
  19. RLMS

    RLMS Well-Known Member

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    We have operations in Alaska--Gold. It is a great place to be and a great place to work. In all of the years I have been running in and out of Alaska I have NEVER had any run-ins with unsocial people. For that matter I have never had a run-in with any unsocial wildlife. A lot of our work is very remote. And I have heard the "be careful of that area or don't go in to that valley" because. . . . . . . !!!! But have yet to have any problems. But a lot of that has to do with respecting people and animals alike. I'm not implying there never are problems but we just have never run into any.

    But I always have a .45 and a 45/70 with me.

    We do quite well in Alaska, although I only spend a short time up there every year.

    The best bet for making a living up there from what I can see is hiring on with the fishing fleet. Rough work, hard people, very good money. I have a good friend running out of Kodiak Island that works four months a year and spends the rest of the time on the Big Island--Hawaii.

    Everything is very expensive because of the relative remoteness of the state. But in the bush no one will bother you for "harvesting game". In fact it is part of the law that says survival takes precedence over game laws. But that isn't something to blatantly throw around. It is just accepted.

    Do some homework and consider "squatting" in the vicinity of a hot springs. They offer a lot of benefits such as heat and a better localized climate.

    Most of the land up there is owned Federal and State. Mining claims take up a lot of ground but many mining claims are for mineral exploitation only, meaning that it is legal to camp there. A good example would be along Willow Creek, the stream that flows SW down from Hatcher Pass and crosses the Parks Highway. Most of that stream is claimed, we have several claims there ourselves, but campers use them all the time. But it is illegal for a camper to remove gold or other minerals from those claims.

    Alaska is a great place.

    Just some input.

    If I can answer any specific questions you can PM me.

    Good luck.
     
  20. Kenneth in NC

    Kenneth in NC Well-Known Member

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    This thread is helping to deter my wife's aunt from going to Alaska. UNless I win the lotto I can't afford to move to Alaska.

    I would like to visit it before the grim reaper makes his rounds. :eek: