Richard Louis Proenneke (1916-2003), known as Dick, has become an icon of wilderness living in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. Born in Iowa, he worked as a farmhand and rancher before joining the Navy the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
After receiving a medical discharge in 1945 (following a bout of rheumatic fever), he again took up ranching. In 1949, he made his first visit to Alaska at the invitation of a friend. He lived and worked in Alaska off and on for years, making his first visit to Twin Lakes in 1962. By 1967, he had begun work on a cabin there. It was completed in 1968.
His was not the first cabin on Twin Lakes, nor was it the biggest. Proenneke’s cabin, though, stands out for its remarkable craftsmanship, which 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…