The Kilcher family is well known for their reality TV show “Alaska: The Last Frontier”. Their show depicts their home – but how much land do the Kilcher's own?
The show depicts the Kilcher's family life in Alaska, but its tough to know between showing the drama of their every day life, how much land is actually theirs in Alaska.
The Kilcher family started with 160 acres of land near Kachemak Bay. Since the family took roots there, they have expanded their ownership to about 600 acres of land, including some improved territories. All of the 8 siblings share some level of responsibility and ownership as well.
We'll explain a bit of history regarding how the Kilchers acquired their land, as well as what they do with it. They have made improvements over the years, though much of their land is considered undeveloped and wild.
We've done research on the reality show as well as the family, so we'll be separating a little truth from fiction while explaining just how much the Kilcher family owns.
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How did the Kilchers acquire their land?
The grandfather of the modern Kilcher family, Yule, was offered 160 acres near Kachemack Bay, Alaska after he fled his home in Switzerland during the Second World War. The land had no running water or electricity, so it was certainly frontier territory at the time. Yule and his wife Ruth would raise 8 kids on the land. Yule became fairly well known well before the TV show, as he helped write the Alaskan constitution, served in the state senate, and made one of the first filmed documentaries about life on the frontier of Alaska.
Over the years, the Kilcher family has acquired more land and now own most of the coast in their area. The homestead is the largest piece of property then own – and the most valuable. While their total land holdings are valued at around $3.6 million dollars, the homestead land itself is worth nearly $1 million.
What's at their homestead?
The homestead is both a public and private place. Their home is also a living museum with artifacts and activities dating back to the early days of the family. The Kilchers are also known for folk music and art, so activities are available for those skills too. A tour and other activities include learning about making jams and jellies as well as building fences. The whole homestead is a cattle farm, so visitors can experience some animals too.
Where is their homestead?
Since few people know Alaskan geography, Kachemack Bay is in south central Alaska. While their reality show presents the Kilchers as living in a remote place, a relatively large by Alaska standards city of Homer is actually just a few miles away. If the family ever needed anything from groceries to medical care, they could just go to the city. A road is also built from the homestead area to Homer for convenient travel. You could still definitely call the area the Kilchers live in “wild” though as most of the land is either farm or undeveloped.
Who owns the Kilchers land?
All 8 of the kids are part of a conservation easement that protects the land and the structures on it. The land is currently technically dedicated as a non profit farm and museum though visitors who come to visit the homestead can make a donation.
How have the Kilchers contributed to Alaska?
We mentioned earlier that the Kilchers had a documentary film made, featuring their family, homestead, and the pioneer way as much of the United States as transitioning to having electric power available in the cities.
Yule and Ruth traveled to Europe in the 1950s to show their documentary and make people aware of the nature and opportunities available in the 49th state. The homestead became well known across the world, and especially in Europe and the United States as a result of their film.
Why did the Kilchers want to homestead?
Yule was an educated man, scholar, and a bit of a philosopher. He rightfully left Europe before the second World War started. Through readings and observations, Yule believed that once cities become urbanized, it would lead to the gradual crumble of civilization – and war over resources. In an effort to become more self reliant, the family received their initial homestead land and would add more to it as the family grew.
The Kilcher kids were also provided 5 acres each for their own homes, which offers them far more land than the average American.
Is the reality show for the Kilchers exaggerated?
Reality TV needs some false drama to fuel the fires of viewership. On the show, the Kilchers are shown facing life or death situations on a near daily basis, ranging from bear attacks to fears they could freeze to death. The reality is more simple: The Kilchers live not too far away from a city, and have dealt with and actually appreciate the presence of wild life. American TV audiences don't have much of the same experience, so they are readily led to believe that a near every day occurrence in Alaska would be a threat to the family.
It's also worth saying that all reality TV shows are exaggerated a bit and offer what amount to false conflict.
Can you rent rooms in the homestead?
Atz Kilcher made a 3200 square foot cabin on the homestead, overlooking some of the most pristine views in Alaska. The house is not a cheap rental at over $400 per night most nights, but if you want to replicate the beautiful scenery from the show, it is worth your money to rent for a night.
How much do the Kilchers get paid for their show?
They don't make as much as other reality TV show hosts, and usually rake in around $7,000 to $10,000 per episode – each. The more prominent members of the family are paid more – though the show itself doesn't feature much of the rather large family of 20 or more cousins. Some members of the family, including well known musician Jewel, have moved onto to other dreams and careers.
The show has earned the Discovery Channel high ratings for years and is still happening as of 2022, with the show recently showing how the parents and grandparents are getting through the pandemic.
About THE AUTHOR
Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.Read More About Brittany Melling