This Fall marks another win for Discovery Channel’s hit show “Gold Rush”, which takes the lead as the #1 rated program on Friday nights among male viewers. It appears 20-year-old Parker Schnabel’s successful $1.4 million rookie season has audiences back to see if he can double it. Was this beginner’s luck or is he destined for mining history?
MiLLENNiAL caught up with Parker on Halloween during his visit to New York City. This was the first time the native Alaskan was in the Big Apple, and it was apparent he was much more eager to explore the city than sit through a lengthy interview. But while New York may have been foreign, traveling is nothing new to Parker. After spending seven to eight months in the Klondike, he takes his winters to see the world, spending three weeks in London last year. But as important as travel is in Parker’s life, it’s the pursuit of gold that drives him most.
Doubling his Take by the End of Season 5
This may be Parker’s second season as a captain, but his years of being exposed to the business go back to the age of 8. His grandfather, John, a legendary Alaskan gold miner from Porcupine Creek, has been teaching Parker the ways of the mine for the last 12 years. Over that time, the two formed an incredibly tight bond. It is this cross-generational relationship that has contributed to the show’s hooking factor.
With 75 years between them, their relationship proves that age knows no boundaries for friendship and admiration. Parker genuinely wants to learn from his grandpa’s experiences and John genuinely wants to leave a legacy for his grandson to grow. As a result, John has given Parker the chance to live out that claim by handing the reigns over to his mine. Parker tells us, “My grandpa went through the school of hard knocks and if I take his advice I won’t have to.” He chalks it up to “cutting years of failure out of the equation.”
A young man in an old man’s world
Now, young Parker faces something his grandpa never had to: managing an older crew. As someone who only recently turned 20, Parker confesses it’s not easy to be taken seriously by those who have years of experience in the field. “Any time you get that dynamic it’s tough. You have to tread lightly and I’m not very good at treading lightly.” To counter this judgment, he works as hard as he can and if his crew doesn’t trust him he has no problem letting them go.
Parker is the first to admit he doesn’t have any particular strengths as a foreman but rather a lot of weaknesses to improve as he matures. “I’m pretty short tempered. A lot of time I don’t show people the respect they deserve. I’m not very patient.” While it may appear Parker’s temper is out of the ordinary, this erratic behavior is not unusual for the job. The rigorous activity and heavy equipment liability has these men under a lot of pressure to deliver the goods.
And the amount of resources consumed to produce these commodities has the tree-huggers of the world riled. Some eco-advocates suggest the chemicals from mining equipment pollute community groundwater and the manmade erosions corrupt natural habitats. Parker rejects these claims saying that on his personal land they “don’t use chemicals.”
Caring About Causes Along the Way
Although environmentalists look at any particular dig site as a catastrophic disaster to its surrounding biodiversity, Parker assures us he takes reclamation very seriously. He explains, “Reclamation is putting the areas that we’ve mined back to its natural state…we take a lot of the cuts and turn them into ponds. Birds and wildlife love that.” In true millennial fashion, Parker adds, “I do care about the environment…we try to show the most amount of respect for what we do.”
Just as Parker shows respect for the land in which he mines, he also tries to show his support for his friend’s company, Ugly Kid. He wears this distinguishable t-shirt on the show as an endorsement for the brand, which aims to fight school bullying.
“A lot of kids have a hard time getting through junior high. I couldn’t image going through it without a good support system. I have a really close-knit family. A lot of kids don’t have that.” It is this family unit that has created a turnkey operation for Parker.
Parker Schnabel & the Family Legacy
While most millennials are struggling to pay back their loans, Parker has opted to try his luck with gold mining. After all, it’s in his blood. Parker reminds us that as a gold miner it’s one thing to make $1.4 million gross profit, it’s another to see that amount in your bank account.
“I’m having fun with what I’m doing and I’m making money so I’m not thinking about [the future].” Instead, he says he is staying present and focusing on becoming financially stable.
To follow Parker Schnabel’s journey, tune into Discovery Channel Fridays at 9pm.