Welcome to the Proenneke Cabin Virtual Tour. On this tour, you will step onto the beach of Upper Twin Lakes and see the spectacular view of the surrounding mountains and even enter the cabin to take a look around. Here, you'll be able to get an up close look at Proenneke's celebrated woodworkmanship and even the desk where he penned his journals, all nestled in a remote corner of Alaska where few ever get to visit.
To begin the tour, click on any of the cabin photos. Use your mouse to move left and right or up and down. There's a control panel at the bottom of the image where you can zoom in and out, enter full-screen mode, and even rotate the image automatically.
When you click on hotspots in the image you'll find more information about Proenneke's interesting and cozy home. Click on the hotspots a second time to disappear the text and image boxes. And, check back every few weeks for new hotspots!
Keep reading below to learn more about the cabin...
The Richard L. Proenneke cabin, the centerpiece of a National Register Historic Site, was constructed from 1967 to 1968.
Although Proenneke's was not the first or biggest cabin built at Twin Lakes it stands out for the remarkable craftsmanship that reflects his unshakeable wilderness ethic. The cabin was built using only hand tools, many of which Proenneke himself had fashioned. Throughout the thirty years he lived at the cabin Proenneke created homemade furniture and implements that reflect his woodworking genius.
Richard Proenneke had the foresight to film the construction of his cabin intending to leave step-by-step instructions for creating a hand-built structure. He also kept detailed journals recording everything from his daily activities to wildlife sightings and visits from friends and fans. His weather observations are one of the longest data sets available to park scientists.
Proenneke's wilderness ethic was simple: Twin Lakes and the wildlife therein should not suffer for his presence. He reused almost everything, even carefully crafting buckets and storage boxes from used gas cans. This off-the-grid lifestyle resonated with people around the world.
In 1973, Proenneke's friend Sam Keith, edited a volume of Richard's journal entries entitled One Man's Wilderness. A documentary film, Alone in the Wilderness, was produced in 2003 from Richard's own film footage, and is often shown on Public Broadcasting Stations. John Branson, Lake Clark National Park & Preserve historian and longtime friend of Proenneke's, edited a series of Richard's journals. More Readings From One Man's Wilderness: The Jounals of Richard L Proenneke, 1974-1980, covers an auspicious time when the area was being considered for designation as a National Park Unit. The Early Years: The Journals of Richard L. Proenneke, 1967-1973, relates the years in which he moves to Twin Lakes and builds his cabins. Find out more about these publications.
Do you have information about Richard Proenneke's missing gold pan or chinking tool?
This past summer, Dick's gold pan was taken from his cabin along with a chinking tool from his shed. The National Park Service and Dick's family would appreciate the objects' return. If anybody has information about the gold pan and tool that were taken from the Proenneke cabin this past summer, please contact the park at (907) 781-2218.
Popular movies shown on PBS feature Dick Proenneke panning for gold which has led some viewers to mistakenly think that there is gold in Hope Creek flowing near his cabin. Mr. Proenneke did pan for gold and find gold, but not at Hope Creek. He traveled to the Bonanaza Hills to find his gold, around 25 miles west of Twin Lakes, just outside of the park boundary. There have never been any reports of gold in Hope Creek.
Removal of artifacts from public lands is prohibited by law. We are hoping for the return of these items so that we may continue to use them to share Richard Proenneke's story.
A visit to Proenneke's cabin is a real wilderness treat. You can do your part to help us keep it in great shape and open to the public! The cabin is managed like an outdoor museum - it is not a public use cabin and overnight stays are not allowed. Please resist the temptation to take artifacts with you, and don't leave anything behind. With your help, Proenneke's cabin will stand open and ready to inspire generations to come.
A few hardened tent sites with an "outcan" and suspension system for food containers are available for overnight camping on a first come, first served basis. The tent sites are across Hope Creek from the Proenneke site. You must be prepared for a creek crossing to access the Proenneke cabin. Bear resistant food containers are required and may be borrowed from the Port Alsworth Visitor Center. Leave No Trace principles strongly recommended.
Lake Clark National Park & Preserve is dedicated to preserving history and passing along an appreciation for what was saved to the public and to the next generation. The park has responsibilities that include stewardship of historic buildings, museum collections, archaeological sites, cultural landscapes, oral and written histories, and ethnographic resources.
Archeologists, architects, curators, ethnographers, and historians work to preserve these resources because they are important components of our shared national and personal identity. We invite you to learn more about History & Culture and how Lake Clark National Park works to preserve it...
Did You Know?
Earthquakes are common in the tectonically active Lake Clark area. The Alaska Peninsula is located on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" and has one of the highest earthquake frequencies in the world.