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Exclusive: Heimo Korth gives us a nomadic education on The Last Alaskans

On tonight’s The Last Alaskans on Discovery, the origins of mankind and the behavior of human tribes that roamed and hunted are explored with the patriarch of the show, Heimo Korth.

Heimo is on our exclusive preview as he follows food sources and sets up camp. Korth is full of great anecdotes about the early peoples in this cold northern latitude who traveled and hunted in the same area as he and his family do today.

Our clip shows Heimo as he explains how ancient peoples would track prey and how they even left behind remnants of their early tools and weapons as they tracked animals to kill for food. Just watching how he traverses the rocks and the trails, you would never guess that Heimo is in his mid-sixties!

Heimo Korth is one of the main characters in The Last Alaskans. He is a legendary Alaska trapper who traps along the Coleen River in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, almost 250 air miles north of Fairbanks. He is a bonafide American outdoorsman with a survivalist’s skillset.

Heimo and his wife Edna are described as the “only permanent residents” of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. They live along that very Coleen River, just south of the Brooks Range, a mountain range in far northern North America that runs about 700 miles from west to east across northern Alaska into Canada’s Yukon Territory.

The highest mountain is Mount Chamberlin, and Heimo and Edna move between established cabins seasonally. This couple is solidly self-reliant, as they hunt and fish for their own food.

Heimo Korth is taking us on a nomadic walk as he explains that ancient people also hunted where he does now. Pic credit: Discovery
Heimo Korth is taking us on a nomadic walk as he explains that ancient people also hunted where he does now. Pic credit: Dicovery

Heimo’s backyard is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) which is located in the Northeast corner of Alaska, a 19 million acre wilderness protected land mass that goes from the Beaufort Sea nearly to the Yukon River.

The wildlife and the scenery make it Alaska’s most desired place to visit and hike. Designated as wilderness in 1960, these lands vary from tundra, boreal forests, rivers, the Brooks Range mountains, to the coastal plain and glaciers.

Native peoples such as the Inupiat Eskimo and Athabascan Indians live here. Over 45 mammals and birds from all points on the globe migrate there to breed in the refuge.

It is important to note that The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is split in two by the continental divide. North of the divide in the arctic watershed the land is defined by treeless tundra with the Kongakut and the Canning rivers forming glacier-carved peaks and flow from the Romanzof Mountains to the plains. Where the rivers join the arctic ocean is a bird lover’s delight.

On the south side of the Arctic Refuge, the boreal forest dot around the valleys of the Brooks Range which jut above the Sheenjek, Coleen, and Wind rivers which is where the Korths call home.

Also on tonight’s episode, Heimo’s daughter Krin and her husband Scott are tracking a caribou herd, and they are out to prove that they can make it in the refuge. Meanwhile, Tyler and Ashley are trying to accomplish a major feat, by getting running water installed via plumbing in their cabin.

The Last Alaskans airs Sundays at 10 pm ET/PT on Discovery Channel. Watch live or catch up on the Discovery Go app.

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
April Neale
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