I’ve been getting the question of why homestead in Alaska a lot recently, so I thought I’d lay out some of the thoughts behind why we decided to homestead here over anywhere else. As I mentioned in my very first post, part of our decision to move to Alaska came from Alaskan off-grid reality TV. Kyle and I both knew that those programs showed an overly romanticized version of homesteading in Alaska, but the fact that so many people were doing it here made us hopeful that we could make it too. We did a lot of research before buying our little piece of land, and there were just way to many pros in moving to Alaska for us to try and homestead in Washington.
Having lived my whole life in the desert side of Washington, I was rather used to using a lot of water because of my garden. But in looking for land to homestead, in order to get anything we could afford we’d need to buy raw land without a well. No well, no water; no water, no garden in the desert. This meant moving somewhere that wasn’t so hot. Yes, there is a whole section of Washington that is rainy, but there were problems with moving there too. Which brings me to my next point…
Cost of Land
Land in Washington is not cheap. Even raw land was prohibitively expensive for us. Especially anywhere that would get enough rain to water a garden until we could put in a well. What we spent on our 5.5 acres in Alaska would not have purchased us an acre anywhere we’d have wanted to live in Washington. This was a huge factor in our decision to homestead in Alaska.
When we first started talking about our plans to move off grid and homestead in Alaska, people thought we were crazy. Homesteads exist in Washington, but they seem to be more of a community to themselves. Alaska such a huge, remote place that everyone just congratulates us on our adventure, and tells us about the people they know that have or are currently homesteading here. The fact that we continued with our plans even after finding out that I was pregnant doesn’t phase anyone here either. We got a glimpse of this when Kyle and I visited this area during our honeymoon, and so far its extended to nearly everyone we’ve met in Alaska.
While I believe that self-sufficiency can be accomplished nearly anywhere, it just seemed easier to arrive at in Alaska. The area that we chose to move to is a rain forest, and there are all kinds of edible wild plants to forage for in addition to having a garden. When we added that to the hunting and fishing regulations here, it seemed like it would be impossible to starve no matter how little we went to town to go shopping.
There were just some laws, rules and regulations that made this area of Alaska so much more feasible to us than anywhere in Washington. Like the fact that due to where our property is located there are no permits required for us to build a cabin. We are considered remote (access by boat, plane or quad, but not emergency vehicles), and are not in a flood plain or near enough to the creek to need a permit. Even though we will be attempting to make everything to code for safety, hand building a cabin will no doubt come with challenges that require creative thinking to solve.
One of the things we really wanted for ourselves here was to be able to look around and not see metal and concrete everywhere. Not having road access to our property means we achieved that. Whenever I looked at land in Washington, there was always road access, which raised the price and meant the view was full of man made structures like power lines.
Besides all of the above, we get to live in a beautiful area just a hop, skip and jump away from the ocean, a creek and a lake, all within miles of forest! Even though we miss our families, coming to Alaska to homestead gave us everything we were looking for on this adventure.