Heimo Korth is an American trapper, outdoorsman and TV personality, born on 17 April 1955 in Appleton, Wisconsin USA. He’s known for appearing in the reality TV series “The Last Alaskans”.
Although Heimo’s parents’ names are undisclosed, it’s known they weren’t interested in spending time outdoors. Heimo’s father’s was raised on a farm, but never developed skills in hunting, trapping or fishing.
This didn’t stop Heimo though, as he grew more attracted to the peaceful outdoors than living in a city: ‘We lived at the edge of town, and I could walk a block away and be in a farmer’s field with dairy cows around. So instead of going into town I always went out of town.
There weren’t any cars there, but there were woods to play in. Probably 60 percent of the time I’d go by myself. I loved it, but I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to go out with me.’
There’s no information about Heimo’s education and possible siblings.
Feeling out of place in his hometown, in 1973 Heimo left small Appleton to start his own adventure at 18 years old in Northwestern Canada, finding his first job away from home as a hunter guide’s assistant, but barely earning enough money to rent a room and buy food.
It was then he started looking out for job opportunities as a trapper, and his boss offered to fly him to his abandoned trapping cabin in Alaska. However, Korth’s lack of experience made his stay more difficult than he initially thought: ‘I was a cheechako (rookie/newcomer outdoorsman). I had a difficult time, lost a bunch of my food, and fell through the ice’.
Not knowing what to do, Korth wrote a letter to his former boss, explaining his predicament. Help came to him unexpectedly though, when the man replied with a $500 check. Korth could provide himself with more equipment to sustain his trapping adventure, or go back to work with the guide in Lawrence Island, to where he had recently moved.
For Heimo the answer was easy, therefore he travelled to the Bering Sea’s island, settling in Savoonga town. It was in this place that he met Edna Rose, who would become his wife years later.
Sometime later, Heimo moved to Brooke Range, settling along Coleen River, where he built the house he would live in for years. In his words, in the small cabin he ‘couldn’t even stand up straight in because the roof was so low’.
In the late 1970s Edna visited Heimo in his mountain cabin, and he was encouraged to put the house together for her: ‘And Edna got out there and told me later, in her mind, ‘What am I doing out here? This is crazy.’ But she gave me direct orders to raise the roof.
A week before winter I worked like a crazy man to raise the house up. I just got it up before the snow’.
Marriage and Family
Edna and Heimo married in the early 1980s, around six years after their first meeting. At the time Edna had a daughter named Millie from a previous relationship.
Heimo and now Mrs Korth welcomed their first daughter together Coleen Ann Korth on 29 May 1982. Unfortunately, on 3 June 1984 the young child died in an accident when the boat her family was travelling in was overturned by Coleen River’s current – she was swept away by the water and her body was never found.
Despite this tragic event, Heimo and Edna didn’t renounce to their self-sustainable lifestyle away from civilization.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there!
Posted by The Heimo Korth Fan Club on Sunday, June 18, 2017
The couple had two other daughters named Krin and Rhonda, and set a family tradition to visit the top of a hill where they planted a cross in memory of their late child: ‘to this day, many times when I’m walking by myself or me and Edna will be walking somewhere, and even though it was 30 years ago, tears will fall from our eyes out the blue when thinking about it. And it’s hard.’
Despite facing many hardships along the way, Heimo Korth is proud of how his life turned to be living off the land in the mountains, feeling he’s preserving a tradition thousands of years old: ‘it was an adventure, but now it turned into a way of life’.
His Family Nowadays
Despite Korth’s three daughters growing up in the Alaskan wilderness, the girls moved to Fairbanks city once they became adults.
It’s unknown if new generations are going to follow Heimo’s tradition to live in the mountains, but their youngest child Krin plans to move in close to her parents with her husband and son Colby.
Debut in TV
Heimo Korth’s first appearance in TV was in 1992 when he was cast in “Braving Alaska”, the reality movie premiered on National Geographic. Initially he wasn’t sure about appearing in it, thinking producers were going to portray his lifestyle in the mountain in a negative way. He later changed his mind though, liking how the movie resulted.
In 2003 Heimo’s cousin and writer James Campbell contacted him through letter, asking to write a book based on his life. Initially Heimo answered with a negative, but was soon convinced to give Campbell an opportunity.
It was then that James travelled from Wisconsin, staying with Korth’s family for an entire season experiencing their daily life and the harsh Alaskan weather. In 2004 Campbell’s book entitled “The Final Frontiersman: Heimo Korth and His Family, Alone in Alaska’s Arctic Wilderness” was published, receiving positive reviews.
In 2009 short-TV network VBS produced a clip centered on Korth’s family. Then in 2012, Heimo appeared in the series “Flying Wild Alaska”, when he inadvertently contacted the show’s star as a pilot to fly to Fairbanks.
The Last Alaskans
Korth and his family became stars of the reality TV series “The Last Alaskans” in 2015. The show is centered on various families living in isolation in Alaska’s wilderness.
Not only are these families’ remote living conditions interesting for viewers, the fact they live in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is attractive to audiences as well.
In 1980 families living there –including Korth’s – were granted permits by government to remain in this protected area, however, in an attempt to protect this natural refuge, Government banned human occupations in it. Only permit holders are allowed to live there though, as Korth explained to Seat42f: ‘A newcomer cannot come in there and do what we are doing now, it is in the law. The people that were there prior to it being a refuge, there were seven of us, the federal government allowed us to stay and to live this lifestyle.’
He continued, explaining permits will last until the death of his younger child, but will not extend to his grandchildren.“The Last Alaskans” aired for four seasons in total.
— Elena Koch (@MoonRivrShifter) May 21, 2017
Heimo Korth’s estimated net worth is $150.000, largely as a result of his various appearances on TV.
Heimo Korth is a man of white ethnicity, who sports a bushy beard and bald head. There’s no information about his weight and height.
Heimo’s wife Edna is Native Alaskan.
Heimo’s longtime friend and fellow star of “The Last Alaskan People”, Bob Harte, died in 2017 after battling with cancer for years. His last request to Korth was to take care of his cabin.
Although Bob Harte’s death was painful for his family and friends, it helped Korth to reflect on it: ‘I realize death is part of life. Part of this place is gone. Something’s missing and Bob’s gone. I’m sure in spirit he’s still here. Someday I gotta go too.’
Korth plans on living in Alaska’s mountains until his death.