Living in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge poses a unique challenge for the last Alaskans. With no roads or facilities, finding a suitable place for a bathroom break becomes a fascinating topic. So, where do these resilient individuals go to answer nature’s call? Let’s discover their resourceful ways of dealing with this basic human necessity.
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The Call of the Wild
In the vast wilderness of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, finding a proper bathroom is not as simple as stepping into a cozy restroom. The last Alaskans must venture into nature to satisfy their needs. They seek out spots that won’t disrupt the delicate balance of their surroundings. These spots can be anything from a clump of trees to a rocky outcropping or even a snowbank. Privacy is a luxury not easily found, so sometimes a bit of cover is all they can rely on.
Living as one of the last Alaskans means foregoing the comforts of running water and flush toilets. Instead, they have a few options for dealing with human waste. Digging a hole in the ground and using it as a personal outhouse is a common practice. Others may have access to basic wooden sheds with holes in the ground, serving as improvised outhouses. In fortunate cases, some may use RVs equipped with holding tanks. Regardless of the method, handling human waste is far from glamorous; it’s an essential part of life in Alaska’s untamed wilderness.
The Seldens and Their Arctic Refuge Home
For the Selden family, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is not just a vast and empty landscape. It’s their cherished home. Having resided in the refuge for over 30 years, this fourth-generation Alaskan family has built a cabin, raised reindeer, and thrived off the land. However, their way of life now faces an uncertain future.
Threatened by the Trump administration’s push to open up the Arctic Refuge for oil drilling, the Seldens may be forced to abandon their beloved home. Originally homesteading in Alaska’s Brooks Range, their land became part of an environmental study area following the discovery of oil in Prudhoe Bay. In 1980, Congress designated the area as wilderness, affording it protection from development. Unfortunately, this protection may soon be lifted. With strong support from Congressional Republicans, the Trump administration seeks to open the Arctic Refuge to oil and gas development.
Such drilling would have profound implications for the Seldens’ lifestyle. Their cabin sits a mere six miles away from the proposed drilling site. They rely on nearby ponds and streams for drinking and cooking water, which could be tainted by oil spills or industrial activity. The disruptive noise and light pollution from drilling would disturb the wildlife, including caribou, which are vital to the Seldens’ subsistence living.
Exploring Life in the Arctic Wilderness
“The Last Alaskans” is a captivating reality television series chronicling the lives of four families dwelling in remote areas of Alaska. These families heavily rely on traditional hunting and fishing techniques to sustain themselves. Their day-to-day existence is an extraordinary balance between coping with harsh weather conditions and coexisting with dangerous wildlife.
The show offers viewers a unique, close-up perspective on how these families thrive in such a challenging environment. It provides rare insights into their customs, showcasing their resilience and resourcefulness amidst the remote wilderness.
From Alaska’s Wilderness to Heimo Korth
Among the notable personalities associated with Alaska’s wilderness is Heimo Korth. Born in Wisconsin in 1942, Korth grew up trapping and hunting alongside his father. After serving in Vietnam, he moved to Alaska and embarked on a career as a commercial fisherman. Seeking a more adventurous and self-sufficient life, he settled in the remote Yukon-Koyukuk region in 1986.
Heimo Korth gained wider recognition through his appearances on the National Geographic Channel’s show, “Life Below Zero.” The program chronicled the lives of individuals, including Korth, who inhabited isolated regions of Alaska. After 11 seasons, the show concluded in 2020. Retired from television, Korth continues to reside in the Yukon-Koyukuk region with his wife, Edna, embracing the ruggedness of the Alaskan wilderness.
Life in the Arctic Wilderness
The last Alaskans are an extraordinary group of individuals who lead lives disconnected from the bustling modern world. Completely self-reliant, they forge their existence in the remote Alaska wilderness. While finding a suitable bathroom may seem like a trivial matter, it showcases their ingenuity. Outhouses, holes in the ground, or even a tree serve as their makeshift restrooms. However, preserving the purity of their water sources remains paramount.
These hardy individuals epitomize survival in one of the harshest environments on Earth. While they face numerous challenges, the last Alaskans have adapted to this untamed paradise. In their quest for self-sufficiency, they have become true masters of resilience.
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