Well I’d like to say one thing about the Homestead Act… itself. As it applies to Alaska. I think it does not apply to Alaska. I don’t think there many areas in the state that were ever really viable. Growing up in southern California I wanted to leave there and go to Alaska and homestead. I’d always wanted to live the life that I could be outdoors whenever I wanted in a completely natural environment. Once the planes left and I was through commiserating with myself about being by myself I came up into the woods here and I setup a little nylon two man tent. There’s not much heat you’re gonna hold into a tent that has no heat other than your body heat. This was the location the first month. Everyone else was 50 or 60 miles west of here on a different river. I didn’t have other people right up next to me, where my stakes ended someone else’s began. Through that process, I narrowed where I wanted to be and decided that this was the spot that I
was looking for. I started it May of 1978, and I finished it in late September of that same year. We got some of the logs right here in this
open area in front of the house, and some of them further up river. And pulled them on up to the walls with a
come-along. When we were getting up to the higher levels we might be able to do one log a day. And this right here is the sight of the first cabin that burned. This is the one that started with a static spark of eclectic that ignited the gasoline cans, and caught the grass and the building on fire. The main concern was to keep it from getting the to the other cabin. And so we just continued to try to create some sort of a fire break in the dead grass. It was, I’d accumulated tools and building materials and traps and extra supplies and fuels and things like that. And dynamite that I’d used for clearing stumps and we lost it all in a matter of several hours. It had taken years to accumulate. So it certainly made it harder to live, but I wouldn’t say that it was part of the reason that I left. Might be an easier way out of here too. On day in 1988, the title just appeared in the mail. And when I saw the return address from BLM It sorta disgruntled me at first because I thought, “oh what do these guys want now?” I had a degree. I knew I could go to work for USGS or someone like that. But I don’t think I would have really learned anything doing that. Living here, you learn a lot of things that are different, but important. I’ve had a vehicle stuck in a ditch and pulled it out with 5 dogs. Trapped fox, and beaver, and wolverine. I’ve lost a house here to fire, and all it’s contents. It was not worth it in a monetary sense. But in the sense of personal satisfaction and achievement, it was. And would I do it any differently? Probably not.