Family cabins are part of the classic Alaskan dream. Built by the users or purchased from others, these family cabins can range from pallet-board boxes off the grid to full blown homes complete with hot tubs and wi-fi just an hour North of town. Whether new or old, dingy or decadent, cabins hold a special place in the hearts of Alaskans.
The family cabin is an extension of the home; allowing ourselves to be immersed into Alaska’s beauty while still feeling “at home.” Many cabins are situated on lakes or near rivers to allow easy access to fishing and other recreational activities, where some were built for pure relaxation.
My family’s cabin on the Kenai Peninsula is situated on the pristine Kenai Lake. Glacially-fed Kenai Lake flows into the Kenai river, a popular fishing spot. The lake is large and L-shaped and is over 600 feet deep in some areas. On a nice day one can find kayaks, motor boats and even sail boats on the lake.
The log cabin was built in 1953 by my great-grandparents and many of their friends. In the coming years, amenities such as indoor plumbing and electricity were added to the cabin.
The cabin was used by my great-grandparents, their children, their children, and now my generation. The cabin has allowed our family to have a beautiful place to grow up close to nature while having the comfort of running water and late 90s VHS tapes.
We all have different uses for the cabin. With uses ranging from having abase for day-long blueberry picking trips in Seward to a place to do absolutely nothing, but decompress from the concrete jungle of Anchorage.
Cabins help Alaskans channel our inner-John Muir and pay homage to Alaska’s intense homestead history. The Homestead Act of 1862 allowed Americans with dreams of Manifest Destiny to move West, claim land and build a life for themselves in newly explored territories. In 1898 the territory of Alaska was included into the Act, and in the next ninety years people came from all over the world to brave the uncertain and utterly beautiful conditions of the Last Frontier. Although the Homestead Act was repealed in 1976, Alaska was granted a special provision to continue homesteading until 1986. In the years of the Homestead Act in Alaska, nearly 360,000 acres were granted, equal to less than 1% of the states total land acreage (424.5 million acres).
Many people today still have cabins that are only accessible by plane. Alaska is famous for its remoteness and there’s no better place to establish a spot for yourself to get outside and be “one with nature.”
Whether a shack in the woods or a mansion on the mountain, cabins are a part of the quintessential Alaskan profile, always highlighting our overall passion for the outdoors.