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Old 03-15-2016, 03:12 AM
 
Location: Skyrim
6 posts, read 5,666 times
Reputation: 11

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First off...this post meandered way more than I meant it to. I apologize in advance for the excessive length and realize most people will likely simply skip it wholesale and just move on to the next thread. That's perfectly understandable.

Ty to anyone willing to read the following and help me out.

I'm curious about this town.

I've been researching it to, I guess, the furthest extent that I can. I can't really find much...but what I can is:

Town founded by people who assumed it was on the arctic circle. That proved incorrect as the town is/was actually (its @ 65.5 latitude...the arctic circle is at 66.33 lat. For reference: difference between each degree of latitude is ~70miles) ~50 irrevocable miles south of the circle proper.

The town is accessed by a 156 mile long road from Fairbanks.

There is basically a population of ~100 people...and according to the demographics, the median household income is $11,000 a year. And there is my question:

How is this so? How are these people making a living on such a small income? Is it possible for the average person to up and move there? How expensive would that be?

Also - what sorts of employment...if there is any (I know theres some...or at least there was in the 90's. Dunno about now) can a person find?

From here my question expands a little. If you have a very decent amount of savings, enough to effectively live off of monthly, what would be the path to find a place to live in the more isolated, rural (but with road access, whatever the condition) parts of Alaska? I guess my definition of such places would be: Bettles, Chandalar, Cold Foot, Tok, Galena, Ruby, Chicken, Eagle, etc.

More to the point --> What towns are essentially shut off to outsiders...and what towns are open insofar as you are willing to put in the effort, adapt, respect, and just not be an annoyance?

My wife and I are moving to Alaska next spring (2017.) We are very much ready insofar as money and supplies are concerned (and are coming from a location in the lesser 48 with an avg january high temperature of 17...and a yearly average of 130" inches of snow a year. I've dealt with -45 degrees multiple times...even sleeping in it. Also have dealt with a snowcover that measured over 70" on the ground [over my head] 3 times...my point being that I'm not an utter noob to extreme winter weather. I actually love and adore it.)

We tentatively plan to start out in Fairbanks.

While Fairbanks (yes, I have visited) is a very comfortable place I'd love to live in - I'm also very much interested in moving out from Fairbanks towards Tok, Central/Circle, Bettles, Coldfoot, Chandalar, Nenana, Galena, Manley Hot Springs & Tanana. While in Fairbanks I actually got a slight feeling of overwhelm due to how busy it was. I currently live in a town of 3,000 people. The nearest town with 10,000 ppl is 70 miles away...and the nearest town that is the size of Fairbanks is 170 miles...and even that town is isolated...being a 6 hour drive to the next large city. So I am just used to quiet, endless forests, moose, bears, coyotes, etc.

TL;DR --> Is that dream possible? Or should I just forget about it? Yes I love Fairbanks - but, and I apologize for being redundant, I still would like to move towards these more isolated towns.

I've already had to sacrifice some of my dreams before...namely living in Barrow (yes, I've visited and the feel of the place latched on to me and I am utterly in love with the feel of an arctic town...especially the community) or Kotzebue...Nome, Point Hope, etc. I realize that the housing shortage effectively precludes my efforts to move to any of those towns.

But I still hope there are places on the northern half of Alaska where a person can reasonably move to and make a home at. (
Bettles, Chandalar, Cold Foot, Tok, Galena, Ruby, Chicken, Eagle, etc...maybe Barrow? Kotzebue? Nome? what about Bethel?)

Thanks for any advice, info, anything at all.


PS--> just some random thoughts that amused me. Figured I'd share for others. I'm not sure they're all '100% factual'...but they're amusing nonetheless.

It's kinda neat the way so many town names in Alaska truly betray the character, sense of humour and relatively wonky personality of the inhabitants.

Example: Chicken, Alaska --founders wanted to name it after a prevalent bird/food source in the area, the 'ptarmigan.' Unfortunately they couldn't figure out how to spell 'ptarmigan' so they decided on 'Chicken' bc it kinda looked like one. Awesome.

Nome - Named Nome because of a miscommunication between cartographers, etc. The actual name of the town was blanked out due to the cartographer not knowing it. To this end he refrained from filling the blank on the map...leaving it for later...the word 'name' left as the de facto place holder. Eventually someone else sought out the name of the town - saw it labeled as 'Name'...but misread it and assumed the name was 'Nome.' Bang - Nome came into existence.

More about Nome: the town had a mayor at one point who was offended at the city rules preventing him from selling or purchasing fireworks. To troll the city big wigs he went to the very edge of Nome's city perimeter...and just across the line opened his fireworks stand. This is even funnier when you realize that there was a pretty good reason the town banned fireworks - it had nearly burnt to the ground on more than one occasion.

Last edited by William81; 03-15-2016 at 03:31 AM..
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Old 03-15-2016, 03:33 AM
 
19,000 posts, read 24,525,851 times
Reputation: 10421
There aren't any jobs in Circle.

There probably won't be any jobs in Fairbanks in 2017.
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Old 03-15-2016, 03:51 AM
 
Location: Skyrim
6 posts, read 5,666 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlakatla View Post
There aren't any jobs in Circle.

There probably won't be any jobs in Fairbanks in 2017.
I figured as much. I tend to be very negative and expect only the worst...so I always prepare for that nightmare scenario. Been saving for years and years and years now to make this happen.

I'm still going to put in the work to make it happen on some level.
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Old 03-15-2016, 12:38 PM
 
Location: interior Alaska
3,051 posts, read 2,372,730 times
Reputation: 7948
Circle is in most cases for most people not a realistic place to move to. Same with several others on your list. Chicken, for example, only has a couple residents that actually overwinter there.

There are lots of towns in Fairbanks' general sphere that an outsider could fairly readily move to. Tok and Delta Junction both come readily to mind. I wouldn't move either place without a job already lined up, (or, like, a generous pension already going) but they're big enough communities to have at least some variety of jobs (school district, natural resources, local shops, etc.) and to be accustomed to assimilating non-locals.
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Old 03-15-2016, 01:11 PM
 
4,718 posts, read 8,232,767 times
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Start out in the Fairbanks. You know where the economy is headed here so plan ahead. Check things out. You can only get so much from the internet and a blog. The history here is whatever someone who lives there says, the person asking doesn't believe it or thinks they are being mean. I moved to Anchorage as I still have young kids and I don't want to isolate them, especially when they are used to being in a large metro area. We have been to Fairbanks, Tok, and Chicken numerous times. I even drove from the L48 up through Dawson City so I could take the Top of the World Highway.

I did a similar drive in the winter and it's much much different with most things shuttered and closed down and roads that I took no longer passable.

I do like you plan - start around Fairbanks and look to go from there. Just have enough in a separate bank account so you can leave if you have to. Hopefully you won't, but for every happy story there are several more unhappy ones.
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Old 03-15-2016, 02:29 PM
 
19,000 posts, read 24,525,851 times
Reputation: 10421
Maybe look into something like this:

Alaska State Parks Volunteer Program Volunteer and Volunteer Internship Positions, Winter Park Caretaker

You get a dry cabin with Internet and power for six months. Might be a good chance to experience your desired lifestyle without making a major commitment.
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Old 03-15-2016, 06:46 PM
 
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
6,286 posts, read 10,890,181 times
Reputation: 4804
Not much in Central or Circle. I've spent time in both and unless you already have a source of income it's gonna be tough. There is still a bit of mining going on in Central but most are small family operations. Good luck.
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Old 03-15-2016, 08:40 PM
 
Location: Interior Alaska
1,790 posts, read 1,400,806 times
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Yeah, I would definitely look at the areas surrounding Fairbanks. Not much out Circle way or down in Chicken and you would definitely need to learn the ropes before moving to either place. There are lots of nice little areas outside of Fairbanks. I know a great place for sale up on Haystack. It's about a pain in the ass and a half to get up there!
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Old 03-15-2016, 09:54 PM
 
4,718 posts, read 8,232,767 times
Reputation: 2138
Met - I like that idea. I can see myself doing something like that once my kids are in College.
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Old 03-16-2016, 12:24 PM
 
Location: Back and Beyond
2,217 posts, read 1,857,047 times
Reputation: 4830
Quote:
Originally Posted by riceme View Post
Yeah, I would definitely look at the areas surrounding Fairbanks. Not much out Circle way or down in Chicken and you would definitely need to learn the ropes before moving to either place. There are lots of nice little areas outside of Fairbanks. I know a great place for sale up on Haystack. It's about a pain in the ass and a half to get up there!
I think I may have seen the place you're talking about on craigslist ... I rented a cabin near haystack last year and had to chain up a dozen times or so to access it. The last 1/4 mile of "driveway" became pretty much impassible during break up. Beautiful views though. Here's part of the driveway last year during breakup. After this experience I made sure my piece of land I bought was completely flat.

There are lots of areas around fairbanks where you can have a little cabin in the woods without having to travel all the way to circle.
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