There are a lot of illegal cabins built outside of Fairbanks. Some of these cabins are built by residents of Fairbanks who want a place to stay while they're out fishing or hunting. Other cabins are built by people who have gone out into the wilderness in search of solitude.

These cabins always made me a little nervous because we never knew who owned them. Fairbanks has a reputation for attracting "end of the road" types who have come there to get away from the government, law enforcement officials or civilization. Some of these people are insane and seemed to know that they were not quite fit for living with other people. About once a year, some crazy guy (usually a schizophrenic) would get a few guns and shut down one of the roads near Fairbanks.

We accidently ran into several illegal cabins while conducting bird research. Most of them were not as fancy as the one pictured here. The doors of these cabins usually had two sets of simple, latch- style locks. One of the locks was on the inside and one was on the outside. The lock on the inside was to be used while the owner was at home. The lock on the outside was to keep bears out while the owner was gone.

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Text and all photographs Copyright © 1999 Matthew Gerbrandt
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Revised -- October 17th, 2001