Alaska Homestead: Living in a Cabin up North

A homesteader shares their story of creating an Alaska homestead in a hand-built cabin, includes crops to grow, information on public domain subsistence homesteading and foraging opportunities when living off the land in Alaska.

| May/June 1978

  • Find out how one reader built a cabin and created their own Alaska homestead.
    Find out how one reader built a cabin and created their own Alaska homestead.

  • Find out how one reader built a cabin and created their own Alaska homestead.

Learn about a reader who moves to an Alaska homestead to start a new life in a hand-built cabin.

Homesteading in Alaska, the pamphlets will tell you, is finished. Gone. And it's true, in the sense that the government will no longer "give" you a tract of wilderness for an Alaskan homestead under the old Homestead Act. But the older, more traditional way of getting back to the land (i.e., subsistence farming on public domain acreage) is still very much alive and well here in the 49th state and I guess we ought to know. We know, because we're creating an Alaska homestead of our own.

Don't get me wrong, a homesteading in Alaska isn't an easy — or a particularly romantic — way of life. To make it up here the way we're making it, you have to work hard and forgo a good many "frills" (such as electricity and forced-air heating). But public domain subsistence homesteading is as viable in Alaska today as it was even before the Russians owned this land. In fact, it's probably easier now to make it here (thanks to some of the less obtrusive tools of technology) than ever before in history.

The typical subsistence setup is very basic. Ours centers around a compact one-room cabin made of squared-on-three-sides logs that we simply stacked and spiked together. Construction of the dwelling was uncomplicated and took minimal planning. Because of its low ceiling, our cabin requires comparatively little wood to heat it during severe winter weather. For light, we use a gas lantern.

Our inside furnishings can best be described as "simple". The cupboards, for instance, are neatly disguised as discarded gasoline boxes. Bunk beds are built right into the lodge's walls and our "closets" consist of nails driven into those same log walls. (Anything extra is stored in cardboard boxes under the beds or put outside in the cache.) The cabin's windows are plastic film attached loosely so that — in cold weather, when the "panes" shrink — the plastic won't crack. (For storm windows, we merely add another layer of the film.)

We pack our water in from nearby Kuskokwim River, which — so far, at least — is still pure enough to drink. (All told, there are probably less than 100 people living on the 100 miles of river above us.)

3/22/2019 9:36:02 PM

(Retired Ranger older gentleman!) I'm a 53 yeah old male looking for good had working lady that would live to live n Alaska homesteading with me my name is Mr. Richard, but I have grown up on over two thousand acrea dairy farm as child, and also spent many years in USA Army special forces so have what it needs to ouve there but just need a oertner, companionship,and a woman that would like to ouve out the golden years with ine the last few gentleman that would spoil and give here the world too it at least try too!....we could build a great life and enjoy the last few years having fun,peace from big cities, Harmony,and enjoyment with each ithers company too as we enjoy the joys of honesteading and the golden years too in the last freedom if Alaska too!.. Email (

1/17/2019 6:26:08 PM

hi Anne! wow that's so coincidental that you're looking for the exact same thing as me in Alaska, I wonder if there might not be any homesteaders looking for help or partners left in Alaska for me with all the other people who came there and make posts like yours as a way to saturate the situation so that I cannot do what I need to do up there. Good luck!

Anne Morgan
8/24/2018 5:47:51 AM

Hello my name is Beth Morgan, I'm 49yrs old. I'm a mother of two adult children a son 25yrs old, a daughter 22yrs old she has my grandson 20mths old they are my heart. I'm a retired 20+ year Paramedic, and a retired 10yr deputy sheriff. I grow my own garden for fresh inexpensive vegetables and fruits and I also fish, and hunt for meat for myself and family. I have always dreamed of living far out off grid in Alaska, and now with children grown and my careers over and done with and retired I am tired of the city life hustle, and bustle, evil, crime that comes with the city life and Society. I'm ready to give my all in making my dream life a reality. I'm a hard, dependable worker ready for any challenge that comes my way. I know this will not be easy, it will be a lot of hard work, sweat, blood, and maybe a exhausted tear or two. I am up to the challenge and ready to give my all to my new life. If any homesteaders that needs help with their homestead I will be grateful to help you so that I can gain knowledge and experience from you on how to homestead and learn skills for survival and homesteading off the grid in Alaska. No I'm not a law breaker my teenage nice made my email for me being funny cause I was in lawenforcment at the time lol

Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019


Next: April, 27-28 2019
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters

click me