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Heimo's Arctic Refuge
February 25, 2010 9:31 AM   Subscribe

"In 1980, when Jimmy Carter created the 19 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, only six families of white settlers were allowed to keep cabins there. Heimo Korth and his wife, Edna, are the only ones left."

Raised in Wisconsin, Heimo moved to Alaska when he was 19 to become a trapper. He met his wife Edna in a Yupik whaling village on St Lawrence Island. They've lived in the ANWR for 30 years, raising a family 150 miles above the Arctic Circle and 250 miles from the nearest road, in an area the size of South Carolina.

The Korths have already had a book written about them, and now VBS.tv has produced a five part series about the couple, flying in by bush plane and staying in the Korths' small cabin for 10 days of fishing, hunting, trapping, movie watching, bear skinning*, and moose-taco eating.

Or as the crew puts it, "the Korths show us everything you need to know about fur-trapping, caribou-hunting, caribou-eating, river-crossing, boredom-staving, bear-avoidance, and bear-defense to live happily over 100 miles from the nearest neighbors."

Episode 5 will be released on the 26th.

Episodes: 1, 2, 3, 4*, & 5. (via Cold Splinters)
*Note that episode 4 contains graphic scenes of a bear being skinned.
posted by CitrusFreak12 (22 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
It would be kinda cool to live in a place where "bear-avoidance" is a necessary skill.
posted by contessa at 9:45 AM on February 25, 2010


Until you had to use that skill. I've seen Alaskan grizzlies at a distance, and that was close enough.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:50 AM on February 25, 2010


[this is good]
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:54 AM on February 25, 2010


'Heimo' is a Finnish name and it means 'Tribe'. I can think of few better names for someone living in an Arctic Wildlife Refuge.

Living in the wilderness like the Korths and like the guy who spends his winters in Yellowstone to clear out the snow from the roofs of buildings (featured in the BBC doc) seem like a wonderfully romantic ideas but the reality of that kind of life would kill me. Probably literally.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:59 AM on February 25, 2010


He talks about noticing after 9/11 that there were no planes, at the same time they pan to a jet overhead. Why are there planes flying over ANWR? I can't really seem to connect ANWR to any sort of corridor that would make sense.
posted by geoff. at 10:09 AM on February 25, 2010


Anyone else think Heimo is a dead ringer for Bill Murray a la Life Aquatic?
posted by i less than three nsima at 10:11 AM on February 25, 2010


"any sort of corridor that would make sense" = great circle route.
posted by wadefranklin at 10:15 AM on February 25, 2010


Why are there planes flying over ANWR?
Shortest path between two points on a globe. Check out the fight path for New York-Tokyo.
posted by fings at 10:22 AM on February 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Boy I bet that Christopher McCandless could've used this post.
posted by symbioid at 10:34 AM on February 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am so envious of their radio setup.
posted by JanetLand at 10:38 AM on February 25, 2010


Ah yes, I heard there was a sequel to The Wicker Man in the pipes, but I didn't realize it was going to be a documentary.
posted by hermitosis at 11:01 AM on February 25, 2010


Episode 4 gets pretty hard core (sort of Bear Witch Project filming) then a grisly (or grizzly) denouement.

(I don't know why I'm suddenly making puns here!)

Fascinating post. Thanks very much.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:07 AM on February 25, 2010


Furless, headless bears aren't a good thing to watch while eating lunch.

I like this. I wonder if they talk more with Edna in the next episode, seems like she would have a lot to say.
posted by shinyshiny at 11:20 AM on February 25, 2010


Watched episodes 1 through 4, but can't seem to get 5. Is 5 up yet?
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 11:44 AM on February 25, 2010


Ooops. Saw that the FPP states that episode 5 is up on the 26th.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 11:47 AM on February 25, 2010


In 1980, when Jimmy Carter created the 19 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

I figured it was The Creator (TM) who created ANWR, what do I know? Who knew Presidents even had that sort of power!?!
posted by Pollomacho at 11:57 AM on February 25, 2010


Who knew Presidents even had that sort of power!?!

Only St.Jimmy did, and Republicans have envied his creation and tried to destroy it ever since.
posted by charred husk at 12:55 PM on February 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


charred husk: Teddy Roosevelt would beg to differ.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:02 PM on February 25, 2010


Teddy Roosevelt would beg to differ.

I'm talking about the power of Divine Providence here, not some measly governmental action.
Of course, TR could probably awesome whole tracts of land into existence...
posted by charred husk at 1:57 PM on February 25, 2010


I do love the transitive verb "to awesome". American is becoming a new language, and some of it should definitely make the trip back to the old country.
posted by imperium at 4:37 PM on February 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Episode 5 is up now -- like episode 4 it also has some killing and skinning, except this time it's a rabbit (which oddly bothered me more than the bear).
posted by JanetLand at 7:36 AM on February 26, 2010


They've got all the episodes together in a full length episode here.
52 minutes long.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 4:25 PM on March 1, 2010


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