This video demonstrates the Linn Bandsaw Mill that comes with the property:

This page has been developed because of the numerous questions people have asked us about hunting and resources around the Homestead.
Good resources are vitally important on a remote homestead.
 
I have been very lucky to be situated in an area of the Chatanika valley that has naturally provided numerous sources for needed resources. As you can see from the photo above we are located in a White Spruce forest that in many locations qualifies as "Old Growth." My philosophy has always been to  go after broken, leaning or dead trees first. Only then do I begin thinning some of the dense stands of trees along this south slope. By staying true to these simple rules we have had and continue to have plentiful amounts of firewood and lumber trees.
 
In the fall of 2015 the Chatanika experienced a rare blizzard in September well before freezing temperatures have frozen the ground. With the 18 inches that came down in one night many shallow rooted large trees literally pulled out of the ground leaving dozens very large trees down near the saw mill site.  Several years worth of lumber now lie within close proximity to this endeavor.

Visit Linn Saw Mill site:
http://www.linnlumber.com/
 
 
 

Click on a picture to start slide show.
  1. Log hauling for Saw mill
    2014 Logging area off Lake Site
  2. Logs at Saw Mill
    Logs are hauled to Saw Mill
  3. Logs accumulate at Saw Mill
    Logs accumulate at Saw Mill
  4. Log placed on saw mill.
    Log placed on Mill
  5. Foundation Timbers- Saw Mill
    Foundation Timbers- Saw Mill
  6. Timbers on sleds
    Timbers on sleds
  7. Dry spruce for winter.
    Dry spruce for winter
  8. Generator building wood storage.
    Generator building wood storage.
  9. Second Woodshed at Main Cabin.
    Second Woodshed
  10. New Saw Mill foundation in 2015.
    Saw Mill Reconfigured
  11. New Saw Mill ramp- Chatanika Homestead
    Log ramp- Saw Mill
  12. Hauling Firewood off Chatanika River- 2016.
    Hauling Firewood off Chatanika River- 2016
  13. Hauling Firewood- 2016-1
    Hauling Firewood- 2016
Poplar/Aspen
Wood Species
Only three species of trees attain Saw Milll size here on the Homestead.
 
White Spruce- 95% of what we mill.
Birch and a Species of Poplar/Aspen- Used usually for furniture projects. Can have beautiful veins but harder to find any quantity because of core rotting. We always try to put up a signifcant store of dry Birch for it's superior Btu's during extreme cold weather. 
 
Other specie I have used
Diamond Willow (decorative carving), Felt Leaf Willow (leaves for Tea and canes for weaving) and Black Spruce (for poles and is very dense grained).  
Polar/Aspen
Diamond Willow
Birch species

Hunting Resources 

Diamond Willow
Birch
The Homestead is located in Game Management Unit 20.
Just south of the White Mountains on this map. Click map to download.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game web site is here:   http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=huntingmaps.gmumap&gmu=20
 
On the above State web site is a complete species list for Alaska. Below we have put together a slide show of species that are common or known to be in this area of the Chatanika. Trapping is probably not a good decision for income  as this area is already trapped steadily. It is covered by several longtime local trappers.
Click on a picture to start slide show.
  1. Black Bear
    Black Bear
    This species is under stress from over hunting. No penalty for killing a black bear. And this has lead to a very low population right now. We see a few tracks but have not sighted a bear in three years. This is very concerning.
  2. Red Fox
    Red Fox
    Very common around the Homestead. They sometimes like to sing and Yip. Very interesting. The population can rise and fall with its prey.
  3. Beaver
    Beaver
    Beaver were very common around the valley but over trapping has made the population plummet. Much of the Lake Site was sculpted by beaver.
  4. Muskrats
    Muskrats
    There is a population of these guys and have watched a mother moving her litter on the river. Little beavers.
  5. River Otter
    River Otter
    Have seen these guys only a few times. They are quite large and very fun to watch.
  6. Coyote
    Coyote
    Coyotes are a recent migrant into most of Alaska. I hear them on occaision but sighting them is difficult.
  7. Marmot
    Marmot
    Occasionally these guy take up residence around the Main Cabin. One hibernated inside the chicken house wall one year. Generally they like the rocky hillside.
  8. Red Squirel
    Red Squirel
    Many people treat these guys pretty badly. Me, I enjoy outwitting them and that is a challenge.
  9. Cow Moose- Chatanika Homestead
    Cow Moose
    This twosome hung out near the Lake Site over a period of days. Cow and her yearling calf.
  10. Flying Squirrel- Chatanika Homestead
    Flying Squirrel
    We have a small but hardy population of the nocturnal flying squirrels. Very cool looking animals. This guy is a little confused.
  11. Wolves
    Wolves
    We receive visit from The Wolf Pack but not as much last decade. Had Wolf Pack in January 2016... was a treat.
  12. Arctic Hare
    Arctic Hare
    This species has been depressed since the late 1970s due to disease. They are signs of a recovering population.
  13. Caribou
    Caribou
    Caribou have migrated through the valley a few times. But this animal along with buffalo requires a trip north or south.
These two bird species are common, and along with waterfowl there are numerous species spring to fall.
These are the most common species of fish in the Chatanika River. We also have salmon but like the Whitefish there is no season for salmon until the population recovers. They can be heavily utilized before they enter the Chatanika.
  1. Pike
    Pike
    Very common in the lakes, sloughs and river. Up to 25-30 inches.
  2. Grayling
    Grayling
    A healthy population and delicious eating. Our trout.
  3. Burbot
    Burbot
    A healthy population. Not to many people utilize them. Excellent eating.
  4. Whitefish
    Whitefish
    Currently this fish is not available as they are trying to increase the population after a disastrous decline in the Chatanika. Like Salmon they spawn into the river.
  1. Ptarmigan
    Ptarmigan
    Ptarmigan are common all along the alpine trail into the Chatanika River.
  2. Spruce Hen
    Spruce Hen
    Spruce Hens are very common in the valley and can be excellent eating when they are eating berries in the fall.
Click on a picture to start slide show.

Fruiting Plants

These are the most common species of fruiting plants in the valley, along with Rhubarb and Fiddle Leaf Ferns (asparagus like).
  1. Low Bush Cranberries
    Low Bush Cranberries
  2. High Bush Cranberries
    High Bush Cranberries
    Actually American Currants
  3. Blueberries
    Blueberries
  4. Chokecherry
    Chokecherry
    Great flowering shades trees and birds love them.
  5. Service Berry
    Service Berry
    Usually occur further south than here but do very nice here. I have been planting them for years.
  6. Crowberries
    Crowberries
    The Athabascan Indians pick this berry as a filler while picking alpine blueberries. It is common on the alpine slopes.
  7. Bearberry
    Bearberry
    Another alpine berry. Tasty.
  8. Raspberry
    Raspberry
    Raspberries love to grow around the house. A dose of wood ashes every few years makes them grow well.
Click on a picture to start slide show.

*Most  fruit photos courtesy of Mary Hopson :     http://www.turtlepuddle.org/alaskan/wild/berries.html

Sand and Rock

With clean sand you can prepare concrete and mortars. We have utilized this resource to a high degree while building this homestead. Sand is found in particular places along the river so we have had to keep searching for new sources every few years.
We actually have a flat rock quarry area going  also near the Main Cabin. Heavily used. 
  1. Decorative Rock Around Main Cabin- Chatanika Homestead
    Decorative Rock Around Main Cabin
  2. Caged Retaining Wall Front Yard- Chatanika Homestead 1
    Caged Retaining Wall Front Yard 1
  3. Caged Retaining Wall Front Yard- Chatanika Homestead 2
    Caged Retaining Wall Front Yard 2
  4. Caged Retaining Wall Front Yard- Chatanika Homestead 3
    Caged Retaining Wall Front Yard 3
  5. Concrete Column Main Cabin- Chatanika Homestead
    Concrete Column Main Cabin
  6. Concrete Column Shop- Chatanika Homestead
    Concrete Column Shop
  7. Decorative Rock Around Main Cabin-Chatanika Homestead
    Decorative Rock Around Main Cabin
  8. Concrete Septic- Chatanika Homestead
    Concrete Septic
  9. Concrete Caps & Column- Lake Site- Chatanika Homestead
    Concrete Caps & Column- Lake Site
* While I have no direct experience with locatinng Gold we have all the indications for it. We are located near Fort Knox Gold Mine and gold trends have been indicated deep below our area. Geology in our area is primarily Schist with Quartz overlaid with a deposit of wind blown silt.
Copyright Douglas Miller- 2018