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Life in Alaska

BLM Replaces Cabin in White Mountains Recreation Area

Fairbanks, AK - Hikers and bikers are taking advantage of a new cabin in the White Mountains Recreation Area.  The Bureau of Land Management built a replacement for the popular Moose Creek Cabin this summer.  Craig McCaa is the BLM’s Public Affairs Specialist in Fairbanks.  He says the old cabin was built nearly 30 years ago.

“The old location of the cabin had a couple problems," says McCaa. "There was permafrost issues there and that’s why the old cabin and the outhouse and cabin were sinking in. Also it’s a little close to a busy trail junction and we thought it would be nice to move the cabin off a little spur trail where it would be more quiet, you’d have some more solitude plus a nice view.”

The new Moose Creek Cabin is located roughly a mile up the hill from the old location. The original cabin is still standing in a meadow roughly 17 miles from the White Mountains Wickersham Dome Trailhead. McCaa says the BLM plans to remove it later this winter.

The BLM maintains 12 cabins and two trail shelters for public use throughout the White Mountains. They are mostly used in the winter months. McCaa says the newest cabin is modeled after Crowberry cabin, which sets on a hill 11 miles north.  That cabin was rebuilt after a wildfire destroyed it in 2005.

"The new cabin is very similar to the Crowberry cabin,"McCaa explains. "It’s a single story without a loft and it’s a design that people have given positive feedback as being an efficient use of space and easy to heat up and we don’t have some of the issues we’ve had with lofts designing them for emergency egress and whatnot.”

McCaa says the BLM is also reviewing the rules and regulations for the one-million a crew recreation area, which were drafted in 1997.

“Since then, we’ve seen increased use of the cabins and trail system, especially during popular times of the year like spring break and holidays," he says. "That’s tested our cabin reservation system among other things. We’ve also added some cabins and trails to the system since 1997, so this winter seemed like a good time to take a look at those rules.  We’ll be having some public meetings in the next few months to hear people’s opinions to see what’s working well or what could use some improvement," says McCaa.

The agency will also welcome a second artist in residence to the White Mountains this winter as part of a program that began last year.