How To Homestead in Alaska: 5 Steps

It was the year 1862 when congress passed the Homestead Act, and thousands of Americans moved to the west to get free land and start a new life there. 

This act allowed anyone aged 21 or over to stake out 160 acres of land for less than $20. Alaska was a state that welcomed agricultural farmers to miners and wilderness pioneers. 

Alaska provided them a wide variety of climate, wildlife, and landscape. Unlike other states, homesteaders in Alaska did not have to face the scarcity of natural resources. 

However, as simple as it sounds, homesteading comes with many challenges as well. 

Here we have compiled a list of valuable tips on how to begin your journey as a homesteader in Alaska. It is a step-by-step process, and we will walk you through it.

How To Homestead in Alaska

1: Make a Plan

Before you begin your journey towards homesteading in Alaska, the first and most crucial step is to have a plan. Having a plan prepares you for unforeseen circumstances. 

Moving to Alaska means you will enjoy the green lands and face the brutal winters. That is why having a plan will save you from getting in trouble during harsh weather. 

Sit down and give some time to think about how you want everything to come into fruition. Note down every single thing that you or your family would need to survive. 

Moreover, when planning to build a household, you need to know the cost, expertise, and equipment required. Think with a clear mind and make a proper plan that is doable.

I’d highly suggest talking to other homesteaders on how they made their plan. Ask them what aspects they included and what ended up helping them the most within their plan. 

2: Natural Resources

Whenever you think of moving to a homestead, always look for natural resources. Try to find a place that is rich in natural resources. 

Having the natural resources around you can save many of your expenses and help you sustain life in a completely new place. 

For instance: Hunting can be legal in a few places that will make the meat readily available. However, in a few areas, it might not be legal to hunt certain animals. 

Because of this, explore the land and look around at everything the land has to offer. The property should at least have one of each; water, food, and sun. 

If the area has plenty of water streams, you may not have to rely on rainfall as much. If you can hunt plenty of wildlife, worrying about food storage won’t be as big of an issue. 

3: Electricity

As with the advancement of science and the invention of modern devices, we have started relying upon them for our day-to-day tasks. 

Modern devices such as microwaves, laptops, and electric ovens require electricity.

It has grown impracticable to live without them, so electricity is another important aspect that you should keep in mind before planning any further. 

Solar panels are one of the options if you move to a land with no electricity. But it is also essential to note that the state of Alaska is known for heavy snowfall. 

Making solar panels less helpful during harsh winters. Another option is to keep electricity generators operated on propane gas to keep you and your family warm.

4: Water

Water is a necessity, so make sure whichever property you opt for has plenty of it. Fortunately, water is everywhere in Alaska. 

Be it that it’s in the class of rain, snow, creeks, streams, lakes, or rivers, you can find an abundant supply of water everywhere in Alaska. 

The challenge is to find ways to store the water to utilize it. For instance, in some areas, residents take advantage of heavy rains and store water in tanks to utilize them later. 

Similarly, a few use stream water to fulfill their daily needs. They do so by placing a hose upstream that is elevated and allow the water to flow down and into the storage tank. 

Pumps can also be used and are best for creeks and lakes. In the worst-case scenarios, snow can be used.

5: Finding Proper Land

The beauty of Alaska is it is rich in a variety of scenery. You will witness land that is surrounded by huge mountains; on the other end, you will see some incredibly flat areas. 

The experience offered at mountainous areas provides an entirely different experience from flat land. 

For instance, regarding gardening, the mountains-covered areas will be more prone to being too wet, which is not favorable for gardening. 

On the other hand, a flat area will provide a more reliable gardening experience. 

If we look at this from another perspective, flat land is not as rich in natural resources as  mountainous land, so finding a suitable property that fulfills your needs is a crucial step. 


Frequently Asked Questions

When is Hunting Season in Alaska?

Alaska takes the first position among all other states in offering a vast opportunity of hunting animals like black bears, moose, caribou, and mountain goats. 

The hunting season varies greatly depending on the animals or zones of Alaska. For instance, you can hunt deer from august to December and moose from September to November.

Try to hunt more in the seasons that allow for hunting large animals like deer or elk. This will make your property more worth it, as you’ll bring more meat home!

How Can I Find Free Land in Alaska?

If you are looking for free land, mind that it is not entirely free. You must pay around $20 to get the land and are required to contact the Bureau of Land Management.

They will further guide you about finding suitable land and all the documentation process. Free land doesn’t always mean a win, though. 

You need to look at why the land is free. Is the land in an unfavorable area? Make sure to analyze why, before you build on property that ends up causing huge headaches. 

Which Areas in Alaska is Best for Off-Grid Living?

Everyone dreams of living free and wildlife, but only a few hold the courage to change. It’s not reality. Alaska is the best place to give it a try. 

There are many beautiful and resource-rich places in Alaska where you can live off the grid-like Talkeetna. Take your time to find which kind of region fits you best. 

Homesteading is long-term, so making sure you love virtually every aspect of the property is very important. You don’t need to end up disliking the land later due to poor land conditions.

Verdict

The idea of homestead developed in 1862 when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act. 

The most chosen place to do was Alaska, as it provided the opportunity to connect with nature, rich in resources, and safe to live. 

This opportunity proved beneficial in developing the stats and allowing thousands of Americans to own their private land. 

Alaska is a very large, secluded state. And while it has a very cold climate, especially during winter, it has a lot to offer when it comes to homesteading. 

I invite you to visit the state at least once before moving there, You may also find it helpful to talk to homesteaders who live in the snowy state to hear their perspective as well.



Written by Brian Rucker

Brian Rucker has spent his entire life participating in essentially all things homestead. He grew up on a homestead and helped his parents do the day-to-day. Read more of Brian's articles.