Keeping Alaska's Pioneering Spirit Alive: The Remote Recreational Cabin Sites program helps residents build their dreams.

Author:Davenport, Sam

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provides Alaskans with an opportunity to get of the beaten path with the Remote Recreational Cabin Sites (RRCS) program, which offers state land for private ownership in remote areas of the state.

But before Alaskans can begin building the cabin of their dreams, a lot needs to happen.

The Process

DNR Resource Specialist Justin Wholey says the first step requires DNR staff to research and identify potential staking areas, after which the public is given a chance to comment on the chosen areas. Once the public comment period closes, the director's office chooses which staking areas to approve.

When a decision has been made, the staking brochure announces the areas that are being offered, and the drawing application period is opened. For 2019 the application period was open from August 19 through October 11.

After the application period closes, names are drawn for staking authorizations, including winners and alternates. Those authorized stakers receive instructional documents and are given access to staking workshops, which help them better understand the required fieldwork. At that point winners are allowed to stake and turn in their lease applications in the first staking period.

Wholey says alternates may be allowed to stake and turn in lease applications during the second staking period if staking authorizations were not all used by the winners. Successful stakers sign a three-year lease and start making quarterly payments. During this time, the land is surveyed and appraised by DNR. At the end of the lease, the lessee can either enter into a sale contract or receive patent--or enter into an optional five-year lease extension prior to purchasing.

To be eligible to stake a parcel in the RRCS program, applicants must be current Alaska residents and eighteen years of age or older. Corporations, businesses, and non-Alaska residents are not eligible to apply for the program.

DNR's Natural Resource Manager II Timothy Shilling says it is the pioneering and Alaskan spirit that drives people to apply for the program.

"It is a means by which we can allow people to select a piece of land that works best for their needs," Shilling says. "And it really gives a recreational opportunity to a lot of folks who haven't had that."

Roughly 30 percent of those who win staking authorization make it through the entire process and purchase their parcel. Rachel Longacre, Chief of Land Sales Section for DNR, says...

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