Going on a Land Hunt

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Published on The Doomstead Diner July 2, 2017


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This is Part 4, the final installment of the Alaska Sustainability series.

Read Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3 at the Links.

In our last episode of this 4 part series on the Survivability and Sustainability of Alaska once TSHTF here in Collapse, I took a Road Trip up to Talkeetna in my new Stealth Van (now Christened with the name SaVannah) to have a look at a possible piece of property for the first SUN☼stead.  Prior to that in Part 2, I looked at the property through the lens of Google Earth, which without actually going there and for FREE, you can get a pretty good fly over view of just about any patch of land on earth.  It's a great tool, and these days you wonder how anyone could search down a real good property without it?

As good as it is though, it's still no substitute for Boots on the Ground investigation of a property you might want to fork over your hard won FRNs for.  There's a lot more to consider than just the general geography and lay of the land you can discern from Googe Earth satellite views, they're not detailed enough to give you the actual terrain features, particularly not when obscured by tree cover.  In the .xml file you can find out more information on this, but it is still not that detailed.   Besides the terrain features which affect your ability to build on the land and the expense that will entail, you have issues of how deep the water table is for digging a well, and what the water quality is in the location.  Here in Alaska, there are many places where the ground water has high levels of Arsenic in it, occuring naturally even not from mining.  Not a good location to dig a well.

Then there is the brush and tree cover, how thick is it and what would it take to clear land either for domiciles or for some type of farming or ranching?  What is the topsoil like, could you directly grow Alaska Carrots & Potatoes in the soil, or will you need to build Raised Beds or do hydroponics or aquaculture to grow produce effectively?  Can you raise domesticated animals like pigs or chickens on this plot of land, and what are the needs of those animals for them to survive a frigid Alaska winter?  How big a barn will you need for them, and will you need to insulate and/or heat it through the coldest months?  Where will you get feed from if you can't grow it all yourself?

The biggest hurdle of all currently though and not available for review on Google Earth is PROPERTY LAW!  What does the deed actually state, how "unrestricted" is this land really?  What kind of domiciles will the county allow you to put up?  Can they be temporary and movable like Tiny Homes?  Is it OK to live in an RV-Bugout Machine on the property?  Is septic required or can you just use an outhouse or Humanure Composing system?  Could you drop down as far as Tents or Teepees to dwell on the property?

All these questions and more were in my mind as I headed up the Parks Highway in SaVannah, my recently purchased 1999 Ford V-8 conversion van to have a Boots on the Ground view of the property I had Googled up the prior week.  I passed the turn off onto the spur that leads to Talkeetna and continued up the Parks Highway, in the general direction of Denali National Park and then Fairbanks, another major piece down the road.  I crossed the Susitna river at one of its more narrow points where they dropped in a bridge, continuing up the road until I saw the signs for Trapper Creek.  As towns go, this one is even smaller with less to do even in summer than Talkeetna, which is right across the Susitna river on the other side, but "you can't get there from here", at least not with going back 15 miles to get to the bridge.  The river is too wide at this point for anything but a pretty expensive trestle bridge or suspension bridge, and there isn't traffic to justify that.  It's also far too deep and fast flowing to cross in a 4-wheeler also.

http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/frontiersman.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/b5/5b5ea550-4a46-11e1-82dc-001871e3ce6c/4f24ed980b95e.preview-300.jpg As I arrive at the general neighborhood of the property, I see that Trapper Creek is a runoff stream from the Susitna River, and as such will always have water flowing, at least until all the glaciers finally melt off which is going to take quite some time.  That is all the water you could ask for on a property, fresh and flowing rapidly and many sorts of micro hydro experiments could be done on it.  You could even dam it up, although that would be a big job on a stream of this size.   Not as big as the job of damming up the Susitna River herself of course, which would take the Army Corps of Bozos to pull off.  In fact there is a proposal to do just that upriver a ways, but it probably will not get built for a number of reasons.  First off, the financing of it is close to impossible, because it would cost $5B even on estimates, and you gotta know it would have cost overruns that would double that before it was finished.  The total population it would serve could never pay it off, and that is obvious even to the Magical Accounting people on Wall Street.  Then there are the Environmental and Tourista concerns.  It would play havoc with the salmon run on the Susitna, whether they build fish stairs or not for the fishies to keep swimming upstream past the dam.  It also would reduce flow downriver during the periods the reservoir was filling, mainly in the Spring and early Summer as the runoff comes down from Denali and the rest of the mountain range from the melt off of the winter snows.  Besides messing with salmon migrations, this also fucks with a main Tourista Draw for people who like to Canoe or Kayak during this time of year, when if you are going downstream you don't have to do much beyond steer your boat, the river current does all the real work.  You "float" the river, you don't really paddle it.  The Susitna isn't a full on Whitewater experience except if there is an exceptional rainfall so it is not good for rafting except in a few short stretches, but the water does move quite rapidly downstream and you'll easily cover 5 miles/hour floating it.  You'll be down in the Gulf of Alaska before you know it.

As a result of all these negative repurcussions, all the artsy Tourista biznesses in Talkeetna are dead set against it.  Just about every store or bar had a sign up or a flyer plastered on the wall of NO DAM!  Besides the probable destruction of their Tourist trade is the fact that Talkeetna is straight down river from the proposed site of the dam, and if/when it fails all of Talkeetna and anyone who lives within a mile or so of the current track of the Susitna river would be washed away in a nano-second.  The land around there is pretty flat, and if all that water came washing down at once it would spread out over quite a wide area before draining off.  I don't think the dam will be built though, so this is not a huge factor for me in calculating whether this land purchase for SUN☼ would be a good one.

Getting back to Trapper Creek and Talkeetna, the only way to connect them directly that might be in any way economical would be with some kind of ferry system.  You could cross the river with a powerboat of course, if it has a decent enough engine to buck the current.  Another way would be a raft attached to cables strung across the river, for a "Missouri Boat Ride". lol.  I don't expect either of those options to be taken though, so after TSHTF to get from one half of the combined town to the other, you're stuck with riding your Ewz or Horse down to where the current bridge actually is, then back up again on the other side, as long as that bridge is up.  If you want to go home the same day, you better get an early start in the morning.

Nevertheless, for the SUN☼stead I am not real concerned with being able to trek over to Talkeetna from Trapper Creek every day, maybe once a week during the summer for the Farmer's Market and some trading. The fact the property was right on Trapper Creek with 100' of frontage was enough to make my property acquisition juices start flowing though, despite the fact I am generally against the individual ownership of land property.  Philosophically speaking, since I was shopping for SUN☼ and not myself, I was avoiding this moral dilemma and didn't feel any hypocrisy.  OK, maybe a little. lol.

Approaching the property, the first thing I noted was that it was heavily treed and as of now completely undeveloped.  Looking at the land platte and how it was sub-divided up, the 5 acres I was looking at were the third in from the road.  There was no way I was getting back in there on the Ewz, even a healthy guy on foot would have a hard time making it through all that brush.  So walking the property itself was out of the question, although I could tell it was all basically flat land, and once you did clear some trees it wouldn't be hard to put any kind of building on it at all, permanent or temporary.  No major earth moving to do to level the ground for a pad to build on.

However, the lack of any kind of road or trail in currently, plus the density of the tree growth on this patch of land means that for the moment, until the total property is developed (which includes about 6 5 acre properties and 4 10 acre ones) really can't be used for anything, including camping.  I couldn't drive SaVannah up to Talkeetna and spend the night sleeping in her bunk for instance on the SUN☼ owned patch of the earth for instance.  I would have to park SaVannah on the roadside and hike my in on my crippled legs, set up a tent, etc.  If they would let you set up tents, but they won't do that.  The Deed Restrictions say you gotta plop a McMansion down on this property.  Will I buy this property for SUN☼?  Obviously not, it's idiotic.  It's no better than a stupid ass property in the middle of suburbia in Inman, SC.  Just colder in the winter. lol.  It is a good deal cheaper than the stupid property in Inman though.

However, the placement of the property on the Susitna River continued to intrigue me even though I couldn't get on the property itself, and I pondered on it while driving back over to Talkeetna on the other side of the river to grab some photos.  I gave the Real Estate Agent a call and had her send me more of the documents on the property.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-XebeG8Kg2Rc/Tx7xRVbWCuI/AAAAAAAAADM/hj2hkWt37VE/s1600/ranch+style+house+1.jpg As it turns out, the property is NOT in fact "unrestricted", the only type of dwellings you are allowed to erect on it are 1 family houses, which I am sure have to be up to the standards of the local McMansion building and fire codes.  Even worse than that though is the fact there isn't even a trail as of yet back into where the property actually is, and you couldn't really cut your own either since it would pass through the two other properties that are between it and the county maintained road.  You would need an easement of some kind to do this, but there are already plans in place for a subdivision road to go through, just it hasn't been built yet.  Nor have any of the McMansions on any of the other plots been started, nor has any sewer or electric been put in.  What is going on here?

In all likelihood, maybe a decade or two back, some developer bought this whole tract of land which is probably 50-100 acres in size, with the intention of subdividing it into plots for Vacation Homes.  A couple of people bought plots but never built on them.  The original owner probably retains ownership the on plot that is right on the county road itself.  Even though there are currently no "Home Owners" here because there are no Homes, there IS a Home Owners Association! LOL.

Besides the only single home restriction (which is MAJOR), there don't appear to be any other major ones.  You can raise animals as long as they are properly penned in and you can have a garden or farm it if you can (which I doubt, the soil is piss poor).  Regardless, the single home restriction is a deal breaker.  At the beginning, the property would just be for me to camp on during the summers and do some experimenting with Hydroponics in a small dome, as well as holding convocations where everybody camps out in tents or RVs.  This is not going to fly with the HOA.

So here we are up on the Last Great Frontier in pretty much the middle of NOWHERE with nobody else around for at least a mile or so, and you can't do WTF you want with your own property, which you are paying fucking taxes on!  Do you think this is any better down in the Lower 48 in Suburbia?  Of course it's not, it's WORSE down there!  I am beginning to think there is NO SUCH THING as "unrestricted land", at least not any you can buy in small parcels.  This got me to thinking about how this whole system actually WORKS.

I can drive the length of the Glenn Highway (Hwy 1) or the Parks Highway (Hwy 3) and along both stretches of road there are MILES of completely unoccupied land, but NONE of it apparently for sale.  Who OWNS this land?  It's not National or State Park land.  Answer is it is mainly State or Federally owned and managed land, whatever "managing" means in this context.  They don't have people out there patrolling the property.

If you want to use or buy this land, you have to do it through Da Goobermint and they don't sell or lease it off in 10 acre parcels.  Probably not even in 100 acre parcels.  I bet that you need to be in the market for 1000 acres or more before you can negotiate for one of these tracts of land.  This completely takes out the Little Guy from land ownership at the origination level.  Only big ass Pigmen and Corporations can afford to buy such large tracts of land.

http://www.homeinvasionnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/HOA-Police.jpeg So the first Major Pigman buys a tract of land of say 10,000 acres with basically No Restrictions except maybe sticking to EPA rules on the environment (now being eviscerated by Trumpovetsky).  He sells off this land in 1000 acre parcels to some lesser Pigmen with only a few restrictions like where the roads and sewer pipes will go.  These guys sell off to various commercial and residential developers in 100 acre lots with a few more restrictions, like what that lot will be zoned for.  This lowest level Real Estate Pigman drops on the final set of restrictions on what can be built or done on J6Ps 5 or 10 acre plot, and establishes a Home Owners Association.

Based on this general analysis, I wonder if there is ANYWHERE in the FSoA SUN can buy the kind of truly unrestricted land we need to demonstrate Sustainable Living techniques?  Seems like you would need to be a Billionaire to pull it off.

Which brings me back around to the Talkeetna property.  If NOWHERE is going to have truly unrestricted property, then because the price is so good this might be a BUY anyhow, not to use now but on SHTF Day.  It's an "investment property".  The HOA can't do anything if we build nothing at all on it. After SHTF Day, HOA's will be meaningless.  Who will enforce the restrictions?

The only thing against this for me is the current lack of access of even a trail to get back there, and no clue whatsoever as to when they figure to cut an access road in.  I'll talk to the Real Estate agent about that next week.

Overall to date, the Landhunt for property for SUN☼ has been quite frustrating.  For myself at this point I prefer the idea of not owning any land at all and just living the Nomadic Existence of the OTR Trucker, which I am thoroughly familiar with.  Just it would be a lot better since I wouldn't have any asshole shippers, receivers, dispatchers, safety officers or lumpers to deal with.  Also with a Van rather than a fucking huge Freightliner tractor and 53' of trailer I wouldn't be relegated to Truckstops and Rest Areas every night.  National & State Parks, Private Campgrounds, Walmart Parking lots and Bates Motels without Truck Parking, all open season for SaVannah, my Stealth Van.  The World is my Oyster!  On SHTF Day, I take my last tank of gas and drive it hopefully to one of my Diner friend's Doomsteads with all my preps on board and see just how long I last.  Or I could punch my Ticket to the Great Beyond and drive SaVannah off a cliff.  We'll go out of the Age of Oil together, in a Blaze of Glory.

One Response to Going on a Land Hunt

  • Naked Environmentist says:

    New commentor here from NBL. Just goes to show, you can run but not hide from the capitalists who impose their rules us.

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