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Small Alaska communities are the state's backbone. Economically, if they're strong, then so, too, is Alaska.

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Shane Raymond Sooter, 59, died Oct. 24, 2014, in Ketchikan.
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Mary C. Smith, 93, died Oct. 19, 2014, in Ketchikan.
9/25/2013
The Alaskan dream

Get it while it lasts.

That's a chunk of Alaska; the state Department of Natural Resources will be opening a sale at 10 a.m. today for parcels of the Last Frontier.

The state's annual over-the-counter auction recorded the highest gross sales since 2003 at nearly $800,000 this year. That brings the total Land Sales Program to $3.5 million for 2013 — so far.

DNR annually holds an auction for Alaskans to buy settlement lands. After the auction, whatever hasn't sold is made available to Alaskans as well as nonresidents at the auction's minimum bid price. People can pay the price, and if more than one person wants the same piece of property, then all names are put into a "hat" and a drawing takes place. Whoever's name is drawn has the option of buying the land.

During the auction this year, the state offered more than 2,600 acres divided into 378 parcels statewide, according to DNR. Prices for the parcels ranged from $2,600 to $72,800. The smallest parcel measured .92 acres and the largest 36.31 acres.

Over six weeks, 47 properties had interested buyers.

Which means there is still opportunity to get a piece of Alaska property. It's now on a first-come-first-served basis. More than 6,000 acres are available. Alaska veterans are eligible for discounts.

DNR can provide additional information. The land-sale website is: http://landsales.alaska.gov.

Owning a piece of land is many an Alaskan's dream. Through the Land Sales Program, the state is making dreams come true.