Q. What are the chances of my homesteading a piece of land along the Yukon River? -Ralph
A. Oh, boy, do I have sad news for you, Ralph. In fact it has been sad news since 1971 when we came up. We came in ’71, with 5 eager kids and a big dog, intending to homestead, only to find there was a ‘land freeze’ on! Guess we didn’t do our homework very well. We stayed anyway, and have never been sorry. During those first years, you could still prove up on a 5 acre homesite, but most of it was in remote locations where you had to fly in, etc. We didn’t have the resources to do that.
There is no possibility anymore of homesteading. The state began the phase-out in 1976 with the State Land Public Management Act. By 1986, it was all over. That is the bad news.
The good news is that sometimes the state has land that they’ve gotten back, or is available for some other reason, at state auctions, usually held twice a year – both dates in the spring. Dates have not been set yet for 2006, but you can watch the following website for news of an upcoming auction www.dnr.state.ak.us Click on the first item in the 1st column – land sales. The auctions are run by lottery initially. When you see one is upcoming, you can order an application and send it in with your bid for a particular piece of land. Then if you get drawn, you can buy it for whatever your bid was. The pieces which are left, go on to ‘over the counter’ sales and can still be had. Most of the land is remote, or semi-remote, most in Fairbanks area, some in south central and a few in the south of Alaska.
Here is a phone number for you also. There is state public information available at (907) 269-8400. I hope this helps, Ralph.