The Chilkat Inlet near Haines. ( Stock Photo)

Land auction opens today

Alaskans interested in owning land in the Last Frontier can stake their claims a little cheaper today and through June as bidding in the Department of Natural Resources’ 2018 land auction is now open.

One of the state’s missions, DNR auction sales team lead Terry Hess said in a phone interview, is to provide an opportunity for residents to settle the state. Hence the land auction.

“In Alaska, it’s actually part of our mission to make land available for settlement for Alaska residents, so that’s kind of our purpose,” Hess said.

Bidders looking for a slice of rural life compete with one another in a sealed-bid auction open only to Alaska residents. All parcels are appraised and assigned a minimum value at which they can be sold, so land can’t be low-balled.

The auction begins today at 10 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. June 29. Bids will be opened July 11 at 10 a.m. in the order of the parcels that receive the most bids.

This year’s offerings include road-accessible and remote parcels from Southeast Alaska to the Interior’s river corridors, according to the auction brochure, which has detailed maps of each parcel and is available through DNR’s website.

Two hundred parcels are available. Eighty of them are new to the auction this year. Twenty four parcels are available in Southeast, where less land is open to the auction due to federally-managed 22-million-acres Tongass National Forest, Hess said.

Southeast parcels range from $25,000 for 1.55 acres in Coffman Cove to $167,000 for 5.92 acres of Sitka Sound waterfront property.

Bidders can bid on as many parcels as they want but can only purchase two parcels in any given year, Hess said. Many would-be settlers decide not to bid on more than one or two, Hess added, as that could leave bids for their most favored sites vulnerable to be passed over.

Parcels not sold in the auction or which have lapsed in payment roll over to an Over the Counter (OTC) sale program open to both Alaska residents and those from elsewhere. Prices in the OTC program are initially set at 30 percent higher than they are at auction but go down to 20 and 10 percent in the months after the auction.

The state also offers financing for the land auction and doesn’t do a credit check, Hess said.

Some tips for would-be settlers? Visit the site.

“We encourage people to go out and look at things,” Hess said.

• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 and Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.

Locations of the 24 Southeast Alaska parcels available at the 2018 Alaska State Land Offering. (Courtesy Photo | Department of Natural Resources)

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