If you have been watching the reality show, The Last Alaskans, on either Animal Planet or Discovery Channel, then you certainly already know a lot about the Alaskan rustic Heimo Korth and his tough family who prefer to live his life in isolation and away from modern civilization. While activities like trapping, hunting, and fishing may be considered as occasional fun by many people, to Heimo and his family, it is their way of life as well as their source of joy and living.
Via the aforementioned TV series and other documentaries that have focused on this extraordinary American outdoorsman, the world has come to get a glimpse into a different world that exists right inside the United States. But despite him keeping away from all forms of modernity, Heimo and his family are well in the spotlight today as there is growing interest in their day to day activities among other things.
Heimo Korth Before the World Got to Know Him
Heimo Korth was born somewhere in Wisconsin on April 17, 1955, to his parents; Irene and Erich Korth. Information about his childhood and education is very scanty. There is also no detailed information available on how and when he moved to Alaska.
What has only been reported about Heimo’s early life is that he lived and worked in Wisconsin as a welder well into his teenage years and possibly into his early twenties. He then moved to the northwest of Canada in a bid to escape his abusive father. According to the story that is beginning to gain traction, it was from Canada that the adventurous man moved with his family to live around the Coleen River south of the Brooks Range in Alaska.
Heimo Korth survived with his family out there in the Alaskan Wild by no other means than through hunting, trapping, and fishing in the Coleen River located within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). He and his family are one of the few that ever resided there. He is also one of the few who have a license to engage in hunting activities within the ANWR.
His Rise to Fame
The earliest revelation of Heimo Korth’s extraordinary life to the world was in a 1992 documentary titled Braving Alaska. Written by Barbara Jampel and Nicholas Noxon and directed by Mark Stouffer, the project aired on PBS and focused on a number of families as they went through their lives among the wild environments and the extreme climates of The Last Frontier State. Heimo’s family was one of the families featured in the project.
Many years later, in 2004, Heimo Korth and his family again came to the attention of the American public when they became the main subject of James Campbell’s book; The Final Frontiersman: Heimo Korth and His Family, Alone in Alaska’s Arctic Wilderness. The book chronicles Korth’s hunting and trapping activities with the St. Lawrence Island Eskimos.
In 2012, Vice posted a video entitled Surviving Alone in Alaska on their YouTube Channel. The video portrayed Heimo and his family as the only ones that still perdured in the ANWR out of the six families that earlier lived there. It has since been reported that the video was shot by a certain VBS-TV way back in 2009.
In 2011, the Discovery Channel’s documentary series, Flying Wild Alaska, which focused on the Tweto family from Unalakleet, Alaska, made an oblique reference to Heimo Korth and his wife Edna. A few years later, the duo and their family were featured in the reality TV series, The Last Alaskans, which premiered on May 25, 2015 on Animal Planet. The show later started airing on the Discovery Channel from its second season in April 2016.
The series follows Heimo Korth’s family and three other families as they live their day-to-day lives in the ANWR. The eight-part documentary series gives an inimitable profile of Korth’s life in the uncharted terrains of the Arctic wilderness, the kind that matches well with the American award-winning biographical survival film, Into the Wild.
Breakdown of Heimo Korth’s Earnings
Abandoning his blue-collar job to live in the wilderness with his family was quite a weird thing to do but the outdoorsman seems to have achieved significantly from his decision. His family practically relied on fishing and hunting to make a living but their recent appearance in shows and documentaries has resulted in their rise to fame and increased earnings.
Korth’s net worth, according to various sources, is estimated at around $500,000. There is no doubt that he generated the bulk of this amount from his appearance in the Discovery channel documentary about his family. However, we have not been able to get the figures regarding how much exactly the Korths are paid per episode.
Again, it is possible that Heimo Korth has earned a sizable chunk of his net worth from the wildlife. After all, as earlier stated, he is among the seven trappers with a permit to live in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and earn their living from the very rich natural resource domiciled there.
Details of the Members of His Family
Heimo Korth is married to his wife Edna who he met while practicing how to hunt with the Yupik Eskimo, in St. Lawrence Island. Before their marriage, Edna had a daughter named Melinda (Millie) from a previous relationship.
Heimo and Edna as a couple have since started their own family. They welcomed their first child named Coleen Korth on May 29, 1982. Coleen was named after the Coleen River. Unfortunately, the little girl was involved in a canoeing river accident which took her life when she was just two years old. Worst of it all was that her body was never discovered even after a long search. The death of the young girl had a huge effect on the couple, however, it never affected their decision to remain in the wilderness despite the pressure from their children to leave some years later.
After Coleen’s passing, Edna and Heimo had two other beautiful daughters; Rhonda and Krin. Krin, the younger of the two, is a firefighter. She is married to a Marine named Scott. Millie is also married. She is married to her husband Don and they have three children together.