Big Lake, Alaska and The Susitna Valley News, Weather, Events, And More

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Saturday, November 18 2017 @ 08:45 AM AKST

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Deadline: Alaska residents - Stake your own parcel of state land

Home and GardenThe Department of Natural Resources is inviting Alaskans interested in owning a piece of the Last Frontier to participate in the 2017 Remote Recreational Cabin Sites staking program. This unique offering gives Alaskan residents the opportunity to stake their own parcel of state land within one of two areas. This year’s staking areas are Mount Ryan II, along the Steese Highway, and Granite Mountain, on the Kuskokwim River.

Alaska residents may submit applications in person, by mail, or online between 10 a.m. on August 21 and 5 p.m. on October 13. The drawing will be held on November 1. Free brochures describing this year’s Remote Recreational Cabin Sites offering will be available August 21st online at landsales.alaska.gov or in print from DNR’s Public Information Centers in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

Drawing winners will receive an authorization to stake their own parcel within the staking area. The Granite Mountain staking area is located along the Kuskokwim River approximately 45 miles southwest of McGrath and 40 miles northeast of Stony River. The Mount Ryan II area has relatively easy access via ATVs on existing trails, and is approximately 50 miles northeast of Fairbanks and south of the Steese Highway.

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Floodplain Development Rules Change

Home and GardenOn June 20, 2017, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly approved ordinance number 17-035. Beginning July 31, 2017, this ordinance requires structures built in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) to be built two-feet above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). All development in the SFHA requires a Floodplain Development Permit. The overall goal of this ordinance is to provide additional health, safety and reduced flood insurance rates for property owners in a Special Flood Hazard Area.

If you have questions please contact the Permit Center at (907) 861-7822 or email: permitcenter@matsugov.us

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Celebrate Arbor Day on May 15

Home and GardenFrom a Press Release

The Division of Forestry invites Alaskans to join Arbor Day celebrations throughout Alaska, starting tomorrow and continuing through next week.

Governor Walker has proclaimed Monday, May 15 as Arbor Day, and communities across the state are hosting local events to promote tree planting and community forestry. Trees create healthy cities by reducing air and water pollution, reducing runoff and flooding, absorbing emissions that cause climate change, and supporting retail activity. For a list of Arbor Day events in Alaska, visit the Division of Forestry Community Forestry Program’s website at http://forestry.alaska.gov/community/news.

The national Arbor Day Foundation recently recognized four Alaska communities, three military bases, three utilities and one university for their efforts to protect and enhance community forests.

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Free Classes on Sustainable Gardening and Agriculture

Home and GardenThe Palmer and Wasilla Soil and Water Conservation Districts will be offering free classes to the public. Class topics will focus on Sustainable Gardening and Agriculture. Volunteers from a variety of agencies as well as Master Gardeners come together in a united effort to bring Sustainable Agriculture Education to the Communities they serve. Please join us, together we can create a healthier and more sustainable life for you and your family.

Classes are limited to 30 per class to ensure that each person gets as much class time as possible. Be sure to reserve your spot today for this exciting opportunity. Call Cat Burlington at 907.414.7140 to get signed up. This would not be possible without the support of Wasilla Mat-Su College, The Big Lake Library, and the Willow Community Center.

Introducing Permaculture in The Northern Environment April 29th @ The Big Lake Library 1-3 pm.

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FREE Class! High Tunnels in Alaska

Home and GardenContributed by Cat Bullington

FREE Class!!!

HIGH TUNNELS IN ALASKA - Due to the large popularity of this class we are bringing it back to you. We have brought 3 speakers for this high impact class on High Tunnels. Has your high tunnel blown away, crumbled to the ground or just not doing what it is supposed to do. Our speakers will take you through building your own high tunnel to last years in our Alaska climate, share with you their years worth of experience and knowledge and you will learn how to obtain your very own high tunnel through the Quality Incentive Program offered through USDA cost share program. Learn how high tunnels can extend your season from planting to harvest by months even in our harsh Alaskan environment. If you are wanting a more sustainable life for you and your family... come join us. This is such an awesome class that I myself am taking it twice!

FREE CLASS - April 1, 2017 at the Willow Community Center in Willow, Alaska from 1:00 - 3:00 pm

To reserve your seat(s) today you can go to our home page and click on the "Class Registration" tab, message me privately or text/call Cat at 414-7140 and I will have your seats reserved.

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Tapping Birch Trees Class @ The Big Lake Library

Home and GardenContributed by Roma Scougal, Big Lake Public Library

The Big Lake Public Library Presents: Tapping Birch Trees. March 28th, 6-7 pm.

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Division of Agriculture accepting specialty crop grant applications

Home and GardenThe Division of Agriculture is accepting grant applications for projects to enhance the competitiveness of Alaska specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, horticulture and nursery crops. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service distributes funding for these grants on an annual basis to state agricultural programs which administer the grants .

Letters of intent from grant applicants are due by 5 p.m. on March 31. For more information and to get the application, please go http://dnr.alaska.gov/ag/Grants/2017_SCBG_RFP.pdf

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Plant Materials Center annual seed sale begins April 19

Home and GardenThe Plant Materials Center (PMC) will begin its annual sale of grass, grains and flower (forb) seeds on April 19 and continue selling seed through the end of the growing season. This sale is the annual opportunity for commercial seed growers to purchase foundation-level seed from the PMC, enabling growers to produce and sell certified seed to farmers, landscape companies, revegetation contractors, and construction companies.

A list of available species and their quantities will be posted to the PMC website (http://plants.alaska.gov/) on April 19. Those interested in purchasing seed may place orders by contacting Pete Johnson at the PMC at 745-8105 or peter.johnson@alaska.gov, or by faxing a seed order to 745-1568.

The PMC produces foundation-level seed for commercial seed growers and encourages all others seeking seed suitable for Alaska’s growing conditions to purchase from local retailers and distributors targeting the consumer market.

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Revised Flood Insurance Rate Maps

Home and GardenThe Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has revised flood hazard zones in the Mat-Su Borough. These revisions utilize a combination of high resolution topographic data and detailed fieldwork that was not available in the 1980's when our floodplains were last studied.

Property owners are encouraged to review the revised flood maps. They are available on the front page of the Mat-Su Borough’s website www.matsugov.us or directly access the online viewer at: https://goo.gl/Uk9VSZ.

QUESTIONS?

Talk with FEMA and Borough officials at an open house.

Join us:

March 15, 2017 – Wednesday

10:30 am – 12:30 pm

Willow Elementary School, Library

31706 George Parks Hwy.

Willow, AK 99688

or

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Meadow Lakes Elementary School, Library

1741 Pittman Rd.

Wasilla, AK 99623

March 16, 2017 – Thursday

11:30 am – 1:30 pm

Iditarod Elementary School, Library

801 Wasilla-Fishhook Rd.

Wasilla, AK 99654

or

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Butte Elementary School, Library

4006 Butte Rd.

Palmer, AK 99645

More information is available by calling the Mat-Su Borough Development Services Permit Center at (907) 861-7822 or email permitcenter@matsugov.us

Questions for FEMA can be directed to:

FEMA Map Information eXchange (877) 336-2627, or visit FEMA’s Map Service Center webpage at https://msc.fema.gov/portal

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Directory of Alaska Native Plant Sources

Home and GardenAbout the Directory of Alaska Native Plant Sources: Seventh Edition

The Plant Materials Center (PMC) publishes the "Directory of Alaska Native Plant Sources" in response to numerous requests from the public, industry, and agencies for sources of native plant materials from Alaska. This Directory depends on the response of suppliers, and does not claim to include all producers or sellers of native Alaskan plants.

The PMC is not responsible for changes from the growers as to what plants they may have available. If you are aware of an omission or error, please email Kim Allen or contact the Plant Materials Center, at 907-745-4469.

Native plants from Alaska are needed for small and large scale revegetation projects, mine site rehabilitation, landscaping on public and private lands, stream bank restoration and habitat enhancement.

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Septic System Installation Classes

Home and GardenDid you know only a certified installer, registered engineer, or approved homeowners may install a septic system in the State of Alaska?

To help you become certified or approved, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is providing training this spring.

Scheduled one day courses will begin in March for Kenai, Fairbanks, Wasilla, and Anchorage. You must register in advance. Courses are $100 for certified installers and $120 for homeowners. For days, locations, and more information, call 907-451-2109.

This message brought to you by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

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How to harvest an Alaska-grown Christmas tree

Home and GardenTis the season for harvesting Christmas trees on state and other public lands in Alaska.

DNR offers multi-agency maps and information for harvesting Christmas trees in Southcentral and Interior Alaska at http://dnr.alaska.gov/commis/pic/christmastree.htm.

Here are some guidelines for safe, legal cutting of Christmas trees on public lands:

•The Alaska Division of Forestry allows Alaska residents to cut Christmas trees on state lands that are open for cutting. The maximum tree height is 15 feet and the limit is one tree per household. Cut trees as low to the ground as possible.

•Properly identify land ownership where you intend to cut your tree. If you have any questions regarding land ownership, consult your Division of Forestry area office.

•Cutting trees in all state parks and experimental forests is prohibited.

•The Division of Forestry does not maintain forest roads and individuals should be prepared to travel on rough, snow-covered roads. Anyone traveling on forest roads should have appropriate gear and equipment in the event they become stuck. This includes tire chains, a shovel, tow strap and warm clothing.

•Christmas trees cut on state land are for personal use only and may not be sold.

•Do not litter and be courteous to other tree cutters and/or residents who live in the area.

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The Great Alaskan Top Bar Beehive for Backyard Beekeeping

Home and GardenThe Great Alaskan Top Bar Beehive

by Dennis Garrett

Are you thinking about raising bees in Alaska, for honey and other products, or to pollinate the trees and plants? This article is written for those interested in first-time beekeeping, or in the Top Bar style of beehive, or in Alaskan beekeeping tips.

Before you think to yourself it’s too early to think about bees, I will tell you that you need to order your bees in January for delivery in areas from Fairbanks south in April. This only gives you a few months to get everything ready for your bees, but is a great winter project.

Image of an Alaskan Top Bar Comb, Photo by Dennis Garrett Comb hanger designed and produced by My Alaskan Creations.

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Cultivation of Shiitake, Oyster and other Mushrooms in Alaska

Home and GardenIntroduction: This brief article will provide tips on small-scale cultivation of mushrooms in Alaska.

Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) and oyster (Pleurotus spp.) mushrooms are specialty mushrooms that are well-suited for small-scale production in Alaska. Unlike Agaricus types (common button mushroom, portabellas, and criminis), which require large, highly mechanized facilities with environmental controls, shiitake and oyster mushrooms can be log-cultivated. These and many other mushrooms may, of course, be cultivated indoors in Alaskan homes using bags of sawdust, straw, and other media.

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Fire Prevention Month

Home and GardenWHEREAS, fire is a serious public safety concern, and people are at greatest risk from fire in their or others’ homes, as fires cause devastating personal injury and property loss throughout Alaska each year; and

WHEREAS, in 2015, there were 963 residential structure fires reported in Alaska, resulting in 16 civilian deaths, 50 civilian injuries, 27 firefighter injuries and $31,915,878 in property loss; and

WHEREAS, the three most common causes of home fires in Alaska in 2015 were unattended cooking, unsafe heating methods, and equipment malfunction, and notably, approximately 36 percent of home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms; and
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