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My entire family and I are all planning to move to Alaska in early April, and I'm looking for areas where it is closer to be able to do subsistence hunting and fishing, with land we can buy to build on. But with jobs reasonably close.

I'm not sure if this is the right q&a area to ask but it seemed like the closest I was going to find. Looking for help finding a place to aim for any help would be appreciated.

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  • sustainable living has more to do with using a low carbon footprint and grow food on the land without using traditional farming equipment , more like JM Fortin's "The Market Gardener" type of bio intensive farming on small acreage. that sort of thing. – marc-andre benoit Jan 25 '20 at 1:46
  • Thats what we're planning. Full on off grid green housing and farming homesteading. But im more the hunter and fisher of the family. – Bradley Lindsey Jan 25 '20 at 1:48
  • Well for the farming part i'd suggest you look into that Fortin guy I wrote about earlier, if not for the making food for selling etc, at least for the self sustainable part, it's quite complete and is a great stepping stone. For the offgrid self building solar and everything, check out my favorite Wild wonderful offgrid youtube.com/channel/UCX49PVlb4bpvee5mZe1LIyA – marc-andre benoit Jan 25 '20 at 1:52
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. – marc-andre benoit Jan 25 '20 at 2:00
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I have a house design for the self-builder. A 304L channel with legs pointing North is set in a wet-pour concrete footing. Then a second 304L channel with legs pointing East is also set in the footing and is bolted to the first channel. The first channel is taller than the second channel so that a floor-joist can sit on the second channel and bolt to the first channel. Or double studs can sit on the second channel such that one stud can be cut to the elevation of a floor joist. Then the floor joist sits on one stud and bolts to the other stud. The stud not cut reaches up to the ceiling joist but with a fitted stud-piece bolted between floor joist and ceiling joist then the ceiling joist can sit on the fitted stud and bolt to the other stud.

Overall, the foundation is easy to build and the whole house bolts together. Well, a bolted blocking using brackets is needed up near the tops of the studs because there is no header. And the whole house is bolted together if the roof truss is bolted together. The 304L foundation channels can be cut with a bandsaw off long sections. The 304L channels need 304L plates where they sit in the footings and need 304L plates where lumber sits on them. But the 304L will never rust or corrode. In fact if a powered metal-brake is available then the channels could be bent from 430 sheet metal but 0.12" thickness is required. Now 430 is less expensive than 304L but difficult to weld. Only the foundation must have 304L or 430 along with 18-8 bolts, nuts, and washers. Galvanized bolts and brackets would be good enough above the foundation.

Basically, the remote location needs a small sawmill or a lumber delivery. A log cabin is not suggested because a log cabin would be a lot of weight on the foundation. Also, some log cabins have the first log just sitting on the ground.

For Alaska, a 1 1/2 to 2 story is worth considering. Waste heat from wood burning stoves on the first floor just reach the second story.

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  • For my house I'm actually planning a viking style long house. The rest of the family have there own ideas. – Bradley Lindsey Jan 27 '20 at 23:26
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    This looks like a good answer to a different question, but it doesn't really address this question -- where in Alaska to do subsistence hunting/fishing? – LShaver Jan 28 '20 at 1:46
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    Everyone that goes to Alaska, to somewhat live off the land, builds a cabin or a house. And the subject mentions building on land. Here is a link about locations: dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/landsales – S Spring Jan 28 '20 at 2:53
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You will not be able to sustainably hunt and fish on land you actually own. You can't buy enough land unless you are wealthy. Hunter gatherer bands typically have hundreds of square miles per band, and often had a seasonal migration route. E.g. Move to a particular prairie region to harvest camas bulbs; to a stream for the salmon catch; to a marsh for the duck and muskrat harvest.

That said, a plot of land and "Reasonable use of surrounding Crown Land" is the way some land leases here in Canada phrase it. In some cases that reasonable use included everything but mining and mass forestry operations for miles in every direction. This, in once case specifically allowed hunting, fishing, wild rice harvesting.

Yet this is in many cases not very sustainable. I knew one guy who owned a fly in fish camp. He had a big truck garden at his base. Grew most of the produce they used. When I met him they had just finished putting up a 120 foot tower for a 3 kW wind turbine to reduce the generator operating time.

The cabins were a mix of logs for the walls and roof beams, and plywood and 2x4's for things that had to be flat. The latter was flown in.

At a time when gas cost $2/gallon at Fort MacMurray, he figured it cost $7/gallon by the time he flew it in. And he owned and flew his own planes.

He lived there only from spring breakup to the end of bear hunting season. The rest the year, they had a house in Ft. Mac.

Sustainable? You tell me.

You need a place that has good enough contact with the world that your sustainability isn't tarnished with outrageous transport costs. This probably means in the neighbourhood of a settlement, on a road, or on one of the major transport rivers that has freight traffic.

You need a place that has reasonable soil, and that isn't on top of permafrost. Check the Yukon River between Dawson and Circle.

There's a guy in Fairbanks who grows apples. You can use apples as a major source of carbohydrates.

Gardening can be very good if you have decent soil. The growing season is short but the days are very long.

Read John McPhee's book, "Coming into the Country"

More info:
On reddit there is a good group /r/homestead.
Also see the forums on http://permies.com Motherearthnews has a CD with all of their back articles on it.

Get good at spreadsheets. You need to think in terms of having everything you need for at least a year at a time. How many jars will it take to do all the canning? How much sugar? How many feet of corn do you need to plant? None of the questions are difficult, but there are MANY of them. You likely won't have a hardware store nearby.

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  • Thank you that is actually very helpful. – Bradley Lindsey Jan 27 '20 at 3:21

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