Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Haines may be out of TV gold mining


For the first time since 2010, the Discovery Channel’s “Gold Rush” apparently won’t be filming gold mining operations here this summer, according to residents who’ve worked for the program.

A Discovery Channel spokesman this week would not provide details about the company’s Haines plans, but suggested that cameras would return here at least to film one of the show’s main characters, Parker Schnabel of Haines, who will be mining in Dawson, Y.T. this summer.

“Haines will be featured in the next season of ‘Gold Rush’… Unless Parker’s family isn’t in Haines, I can’t see Haines not being part of the show,” said Paul Schur, vice president of publicity for the Discovery Channel. But Schur said it was “far too soon” to say anything about the upcoming season.

Resident Scott Gala has worked full-time the last two years as the Haines location manager for Raw TV, the production company that films the show. Gala said he was told by an executive producer of Raw TV that Discovery was dropping from the show “Dakota” Fred Hurt and son Dustin, the only mining outfit filmed in Haines last year.

That means visiting film crews of up to 16 employees that have spent previous summers won’t be camped out here. Also, Gala and a half-dozen or more residents will be out of summertime jobs, he said.

“Raw TV will continue to produce ‘Gold Rush’ and follow Parker (Schnabel) and Todd (Hoffman). Everything would remain the same, but the Haines location would be dropped,” Gala said. News of the shift came as a surprise, Gala said. “We anticipated this would be a ‘go’ up until three weeks ago.”

Resident Mary Miles, who has rented accomodations to the film crew in the upper valley, said this week she was also told by Raw TV that Discovery is not planning on filming in Haines this season.

Miner Hurt declined to discuss whether he would be filmed this summer, but said he and son Dustin would be mining here.

Local mechanic and welder Kenny Waldo, who has worked for the show as a mechanic and also been featured as a character, said he heard a “rumor” that the show wouldn’t be returning, but, like some others, Waldo cited a confidentiality agreement he said prohibited him from saying more. “None of us can really say anything.”

Gala said besides local jobs, spending associated with filming included local grocery stores, bars, auto parts and hardware stores. Shooting started in May and sometimes went into November. “The amount of money we contributed to the town was notable. Mary Miles would fill up her RV with food from town for breakfast, lunch and dinner” for film crews, he said.

Gala said he plans to go into the mining business here, but was hoping for a few more seasons with the film crew to build up savings.