Outside magazine, May 1996
A trip into the Alaska wilderness doesn't have to mean flattening yourself in a storm-battered alpine tent or lying awake as the tide rises toward the suspiciously aquatic-looking beach plants where you pitched camp. These days it's possible to bunk in one of a growing number of cabins throughout Alaska's wild public lands.
KENAI FJORDS NATIONAL PARK
Access: Fox Island Charters (907-224-5271) charges $230 per person for a round-trip boat ride between Seward, 125 miles south of Anchorage, and Aialik Bay. Sea kayaks can be rented in Seward at Adventures & Delights ($120 per week for a single, $325 per week for a double; 800-288-3134).
Information: For reservations, taken after the first of the year, write the Alaska Public Lands Information Center, 605 W. Fourth Ave., Suite 105, Anchorage, AK 99501; 907-271-2737. Cabins cost $30 a night, and there's a maximum three-night stay.
CHUGACH NATIONAL FOREST
Access: Drive to Cooper Landing, about 105 miles south of Anchorage; the south trailhead of the popular, well-marked Resurrection Pass Trail starts just after the second bridge across the Kenai River. From there it's 9.5 mostly uphill miles to the cabin.
Information: Chugach cabins cost $25 a night. The Juneau Lake cabin has a maximum stay of three nights from May 15 to August 15, and seven nights during the off-season. Reservations may be made up to 179 days in advance, through the Alaska Public Lands Information Center, 605 W. Fourth Ave., Suite 105, Anchorage, AK 99501; 907-271-2737.
SHUYAK ISLAND STATE PARK
Access: Several air services, including Uyak Air (800-303-3407), fly from Kodiak for $1,180 round-trip for a group of six. The Tustumena, a state ferry, departs Homer three times a week ($96 round-trip; 800-642-0066) for Kodiak.
Information: The cedar-log cabins cost $50 per night, with a maximum stay of seven nights, and can be reserved six months in advance. Call park headquarters in Kodiak (907-486-6339).
DENALI NATIONAL PARK
Access: Book flights with air charter services out of Talkeetna. Try Doug Geeting Aviation (800-770-2366), which charges $160-$190 per person round-trip, depending on the size of the party.
Information: The cabin rents for $85-$100 per day, and the season runs from mid-March to mid-July, after which snow conditions deteriorate, making glacier landings difficult. The cabin is usually booked a year in advance, but the standby list may get you in. Contact Roberta Sheldon at Alaska Retreat, Box 292, Talkeetna, AK 99676; 907-733-2414.