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Archive for May, 2009

Minnesota – Cashing in on the Cabin

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By Courtney Blanchard

Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes and more than 100,000 cabins. Not all of the cabins are on a lakeshore, but there are about 115,200 “seasonal recreational” properties in the state, according to the Department of Revenue. Whether it’s a cabin, summer home or hunting shack, the owner is not eligible for a property tax refund from the state. That would change with HF2348, sponsored by Rep. Ron Erhardt (R-Edina).

The bill was laid over Feb. 29 by the House Property Tax Relief and Local Sales Tax Division for possible inclusion in its omnibus bill. There is no Senate companion.

To be eligible for a refund, the owner’s annual income couldn’t exceed $96,300. The maximum refund would be about $1,800, at an annual cost of about $9 million to the state.

About 25 percent of homeowners claim a refund on their property taxes, and if given the option, about 20 percent of cabin owners would claim a refund, according to the department.

“A house is a house,” said Jeff Forester, executive director of the Minnesota Seasonal Recreational Property Owners Coalition, who added that most cabin owners are not rich, and oftentimes split expenses among a large extended family.

According to the group, the average annual income for a cabin owner is under $60,000, and most have owned their cabin for more than 25 years. He said increasing land values are making it too expensive for people to hold onto their cabins. Oftentimes, owners are pressured into selling to developers who split parcels, resulting in cleared woodlands and crowded lakeshores, Forester said.

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May 21st, 2009 at 2:38 am

Posted in CabinQuest

National Park Service Public Use Cabins

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Did you know that the National Park Service rented cabins. Yes, and lots of them. A quick Google of NPS and cabins will lead you to a number of NPS sites listing the cabins for various parks.

If you want to get away to a wilderness cabin, state and federal agencies in Alaska give you more than 200 opportunities. Cabins are located throughout Alaska on trails, lakes, streams, ocean shorelines and in alpine areas. They are managed by different public agencies, each with its own guidelines for rental.Cabins have “rugged” accommodations: usually a heating stove, bunks/sleeping platforms, table and chairs, and an outhouse. You are responsible for providing your own food, cook stove and cooking utensils, water, and bedding.
Access to cabins is by plane, boat, trail or a combination of these. You are on your own for arranging transportation to and from the cabins. Usually a list of operators permitted to provide services within the public land unit can be obtained from the managing agency. Most cabins are used year round although usage may be strongly discouraged during certain times of the year.

Kenai Fjords

Three rustic public use cabins, Aialik, Holgate, and North Arm, are available on the Kenai Fjords Coast during the summer months (from late May through mid-September).

Coastal cabins are equipped with heating stove (propane fuel is provided), pit toilets, table and chairs, and wooden bunks. The Aialik Bay Cabin sleeps up to four people and Holgate and North Arm sleep six. Cabins do not have electricity or running water. Fresh water is available nearby but must be treated. There are no mooring buoys at any of the Public Use Cabin beaches in Kenai Fjords.

Be sure to bring:

  • Bedding and sleeping pads
  • Cook stove and utensils
  • Means to treat drinking water
  • Food, clothing, gear and emergency supplies for backcountry travel – see What to Bring for suggested supplies for backcountry stays.

Most of the public use cabins in Wrangell-St. Elias are accessible only by aircraft.

All cabins have a woodstove and bunks. You must bring all personal belongings that you will require, including sleeping and dining equipment. Please leave cabins set up for emergency use and cleaner than when you arrived. Replenish any firewood stored in the cabins for the next user. Although you may not plan on staying in a cabin, it is good to know where they are located in case of emergencies. Generally, these cabins are located near an airstrip, old road, or trail. Please do not remove or relocate any artifacts or deface these historic buildings.

Wrangell-St. Elias

Currently, there are 13 public-use cabins located within Wrangell-St. Elias. Most of these cabins were old mining, trapping, or hunting cabins that are located on public land and have been restored by the National Park Service. All of these public use cabins are available to everyone on a first-come, first-served basis, and with the exception of the Esker Stream Cabin near Yakutat, and Viking Lodge Cabin along the Nabesna Road, presently do NOT require reservations and are not reserve-able. These are remote locations and require hikers/campers to make appropriate plans. Most of these cabins are accessible only by aircraft. One cabin, located at Peavine Bar, is wheelchair accessible.

As you can see the National Park Service is a great source when looking for the extrordinary vacation. The perfect chance to get away from it all.

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May 21st, 2009 at 2:23 am

Posted in CabinQuest