Before the experience of the hardy homesteader becomes merely a thing of Alaskan legend, Chuck Baird of Tampa Bay, Florida will arrive this week on Latouche Island and attempt to replicate their experience before a TV camera. Baird is a film producer who has just released his first feature film called "Cold Wood" starring Carly Jones and Les Mahoney which premiered in Anchorage last month. Baird has been interviewed on CNN, MSNBC and other major networks regarding his new adventure. Unlike the original Alaskan homesteaders who came to prove up on their land to earn a title, Baird bought an acre and a half on the island that has been pretty much abandoned since the copper mine located there closed in 1930. The earthquake that hit Alaska in 1964 caused massive changes to the landscape. Latouche Island was raised an average of 9 feet and moved about 60 feet to the southeast, resulting in discoveries such as stumps from a forest that was submerged below sea level and buried in prehistoric times. At the former copper mine site, the tailings remain, but most of the derelict buildings were demolished in the late 1970s and the property has been subdivided for recreational lots says Baird.
"The sites are actually very inexpensive for obvious reasons and no property tax but it does provide an opportunity to get a piece of Alaska and I hope to replicate the experience of the pioneer homesteaders and show how one man can still live out that dream. I'll be alone on the island and will film it myself and then try to sell it to a TV production company," Baird told the Dispatch in an interview. He plans to live alone but feels there will be an occasional hunter come by to visit during his time on the island. Baird will arrive with all his supplies for next 12 months by boat and then hand-carry the materials for his cabin and supplies about a third of a mile to his site up about 150 feet. "It'll be quite a trek. I hope to have the basic cabin up in about a week to get out of the weather. I'll be using only hand tools and collecting a winter supply of wood for heat, I'm taking a pretty traditional approach to the experience," he said. While Baird intends to remain isolated from all communication he will be broadcasting short updates from and emergency locator beacon and plans to send out short updates to Facebook, "I'm hoping for the best and preparing for the worst," concluded Baird. Follow the new pioneer at facebook.com/Alaskan Pioneer.