Changing seasons

The changing of the season in Denali State Park.

As a way to protect family cabins on state land, the Alaska Senate recently passed the Personal Use Cabin Act, which allows Alaskans to transfer or add names to cabin permits. The bill, Senate Bill 219, seeks to fix issues that have arisen since the original act was repealed in 1997.

Senate Bill 219 allows permit holders to transfer cabin permits and add additional members of the immediate family to the permits. The permit, which can be transferred only once, would be valid for the family member’s lifetime. If a permit holder died prematurely after 2020, a surviving family member can take over the permit, which will then be valid for his or her life.

The Personal Use Cabin Act allows families to keep their recreational cabins “until a permanent solution” can be determined by the legislature and the Division of Mining, Land and Water, reads a press release from Senate President Peter Micciche, who sponsored the bill.

“Recreational cabins have provided a healthy recreational lifestyle for many Alaska families. This bill secures the permitted site and cabin until permanent solutions are passed into statute,” said Micciche.

The program was repealed about 25 years ago in order to find a more sustainable solution that would involve long-term leases and outright land sales. However, little progress has been made since the repeal in 1997.

In the over two decades since the repeal, there have been numerous problems–both administrative and technical — which have led to families having to remove their cabins. The issues, according to Micciche, include premature deaths, renewal problems or departmental mistakes, all of which cause the permit to lapse forever. “The lack of solution threatens family cabins around the state,” said Micciche.

Contact reporter Maisie Thomas at 907-459-7544 or

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