Red Barn - Musk Ox Farm - Palmer, AK, USA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NorStar
N 61° 38.088 W 149° 07.802
6V E 387115 N 6835344
Quick Description: This red barn, located within the musk ox farm north of Palmer, Alaska, is still used in the raising of 'domesticated' musk ox for the purpose of collecting their fine wool to make into articles of clothing.
Location: Alaska, United States
Date Posted: 4/4/2011 8:46:10 PM
Waymark Code: WMB4MC
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Team Farkle 7
Views: 3

Long Description:
North of Palmer, Alaska, there is a musk ox farm, which is the only farm in the world that has 'domesticated' musk oxen. The musk oxen are kept to collect their fine wool, which has several sought after properties. On this farm are several agricultural structures, including this barn, which is in the pastures for the musk ox.

The Matanuska Valley is a fertile area that is Alaska's farming district. Though the growing season is short compared to the lower 48 states, it is able to grow some crops to supplement the imported food. According to the Musk Ox Farm web site, the farm buildings on the property date back to the 1930s, which was when Alaska was still a territory. Thus, it is a reasonable guess that this barn was built around this time.

The Musk Ox Farm began in the 1960s. While the web site states that the effort began in Alaska, the tour guide that we had stated that the project actually began and briefly operated in Vermont before they moved to Alaska. At any rate, the project continues as a non-profit corporation, raising musk oxen for their fine wool.

The wool has several desirable properties. One, it is very fine, and has a silky feel to it. Two, pound for pound, it has the most thermal insulation properties of any wool in the world, meaning that less wool is required for the equivalent amount of thermal insulation that sheep's wool would provide. Third, it is pretty strong compared to other wools. However, there isn't a lot of wool available, so the products end up being very expensive. This wool provides a material that Native Alaskan tribes can use to make product and, thus, provide an income that sustains them.

This barn has both wood and metal components to it. I do not know the specific use, though, since it is in the middle of the pastures, I believe that this is where the oxen are housed in rough weather.

The farm is available for tours. The fees are posted on their web site. From the parking lot, you do go through a building that is very 'barn-like' however, since its use seems to be more for education, I decided not to waymark this structure. It may be difficult to see this barn from the parking lot. So, I recommend paying the fee and going on the tour. I found the tour to be worth every dollar, and I know the money helps keep the farm going.

Web Site: (visit link)
Construction: Combination

Is this a 'working' barn?: Stable (used to house farm animals)

Distinctive Features: Other (describe below)

Other Distinctive Features:
This barn has a 'well-worn' appearance as it is a working barn, on a unique farm (no other farm exists for musk ox).


Rating - Please Rate this Barn:

Other: Not listed

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Recent Visits/Logs:
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southeastalaska visited Red Barn - Musk Ox Farm - Palmer, AK, USA 2/1/2014 southeastalaska visited it
Queens Blessing visited Red Barn - Musk Ox Farm - Palmer, AK, USA 7/30/2010 Queens Blessing visited it

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