After reading Adam Welz’s take down, “Bloodthirsty “factual” TV shows demonize wildlife,” of the Discovery Planet’s animal killing TV show, Yukon Men, I did a little bit of research. The City of Tanana, where the show is filmed, is absolutely not the secluded, dangerous place as the Discovery Channel advertizes. The town has never been “attacked” by bears, wolves, wolverines, lynx, etc., as the show will have you believe. Still, each type of these animals is gunned down for your viewing pleasure.
The City of Tanana (above) is small, no doubt. But it is not a remote outback full of danger.
Above, a TV show character uses an AK-15 semi-automatic (rather than a hunting rifle) to kill a wolf.
Local Alaskans posting in various wilderness and hunting forums are calling Discovery’s ‘Yukon Men’ a joke, full of lies and exploitation. They even make fun of the choices of guns that the characters in the show use (no local hunter, they say, uses an AK-15 to shoot animals in Alaska).
One man wrote that, unlike actual remote villages, the City of Tanana has a burger joint, functioning utilities, and cell phone, internet, and satellite services, making it far from “remote” and hardly dangerous.
I dug around and found other interesting facts that belie the Discovery Channel’s claim that the town is a dangerous remote outback. Tanana has schools, an agricultural extension of the University of Fairbanks, annual foot and dog-sled races, and even family and emergency services provided by the Tanana Chiefs Council (this is in addition to services provided by the State of Alaska).
Indeed, Tanana even has its own airport, with over 3,000 flights per year (see #516). The airport has a webcam, radio towers, and weather stations. This is not remote. Nor are provisions hard to obtain - twice daily a plane lands with food, fuel, mail, visitors, and materials.
Learning from and enjoying the wilderness is one of the greatest privileges we Americans enjoy. Creating a false myth that nature is scary is not what we need, especially now with so many people unhealthy from increasingly sedentary lifestyles. In my opinion, Discovery needs to set the record straight. They need to refocus on educating viewers of the deep importance of our dwindling natural resources. They need to do this rather than exploiting animals and creating fear all for a quick buck.