The Guiding Force of Survival

It’s you.

You are our guiding force of survival.

#Stand4theManinBlack is a fundraiser to raise the funds needed to replace the crucial airplane needed for survival.

The fundraiser is a matter of survival and it needs you to be successful.  You. We need you. We need for you to care and we need for you to be committed. Committed to saving a way of life that has gone away with the passage of time all over the world.

Pioneer Outfitters remains always the guiding force in the Wrangell Mountains, sharing all we know, all we find with anyone who wishes the experience all that the Alaska wilderness has to offer.


You are our guiding force of survival.

(it bares repeating)

This fundraiser is a matter of survival.

  • Survival of a way of life.
  • Survival of anyone who find themselves in need, here in the wilderness.
  • Survival of the range horses.
  • Survival of a near-century old business.
  • Survival of a community.
  • The very real survival of the spiritual place humanity needs to know is available to them.


■ Survival of a way of life.

Life in Chisana is a lifestyle lost to progress, population and technology.

Hauling water from the water hole that runs even when it is -50℉ in 5-gallon water jugs or the 100-gallon tank (to fill the big tanks used for laundry). Rejoicing on the day the black water lines thaw in late May, as the guys get the gravity flow running and there is water running to each cabin.

Firewood is cut all year-round and most of it is hauled during the wintertime. Firewood keeps all the cabins and the Lodge roasty-toasty as well as serving for another cooking fuel.

All meals are served and taken family style. Not only when guests and clients are with us, but always. Team members either share or have their own cabins, but we always sit down together for meals. When we are alone together, when there are no guests or clients, we all take turns cooking dinner and the team always takes turns cleaning up.

Our lives are spent taking care; taking care of each other, taking care of the horses and dogs, taking care of our elderly neighbors, our guests and clients, the grounds and buildings.


■ Survival of anyone who find themselves in need, here in the wilderness.

It can happen to any one of us. It can happen to a visitor, or an experienced adventurer. It can happen to any pilot, any one, at any time. It can happen to a beloved pet or to one of the range horses. It can happen and has happened. The worst. Someone is hurt, lost, trapped, afraid or in danger.

What happens when the worst happens in the middle of the wilderness? When there is no cell service and the icy rivers, treacherous terrain, rugged mountains and fickle weather all turn against you.

What happens when you become terribly sick in the middle of the night? Or your child falls and gets too hurt fro you to kiss and make it better? Or, what happens when you run out of the medication that keeps your heart beating the good life rhythm?

Terry happens. The Man in Black happens. That black bird in the sky comes sweeping down and pinpoints exactly where you are and what it will take to bring you home or fly you into town to the doctor.


■ Survival of the range horses.

(and other precious critters!) The survival of the range horses that are a vital part of our lives and business depend not only upon Terry being able to fly feed, hay and supplies into Chisana, but being able to locate from the air these animals who run wild in the wilderness.

Many times a message has come to us that a neighbor or a visitor has lost or lost track of their pet dog while hiking or adventuring. There have been times when one of our own dogs has decided to take a “walk in the park” and worries us to tears too. Terry is always willing to spend every bit as much time and his own expertise to find them with the aircraft.

I have no idea, really, how he does it. I have personally accompanied him many times in his airplane as he searches. Sometimes we find the missing horse or dog, sometimes Terry has to finally return me to solid ground and search again and always finding what is lost.

The thing is, Terry doesn’t stop. When fuel runs low, he returns home, refuels and goes again. “What is lost can be found.”  We love our horses. We love caring for them and we love that they are wild and strong, both physically and willed. The dogs that live in Chisana are part of our families. They are loyal and trustworthy, both with us and our guests. Even a stranger, a visitor to the Park, a hiker or an adventurer might bring their dog along on their expedition, as many do, and if that treasured pet and companion becomes separated or lost, those around Chisana know to call Terry.


■ Survival of a near-century old business.

Pioneer Outfitters has been located in Chisana since it’s birth in 1924. Dog teams were the familiar and commonly used mode of transportation for many years, with rare and infrequent aircraft support many years later.

Pioneer Outfitters was not built using an airplane. Times were different. I would like to say, “We will survive, with or without an airplane.” with complete confidence, but I cannot. Not after saying it after watching Cubby burn on September 16, 2013.

Oh, I believe we would survive, barring any medical emergency… but not the business, not the community, certainly not the horses and most likely anyone lost or hurt in the wilderness that surrounds us would suffer longer and harder waiting for rescue, if it came at all.

We would survive, to a point. As our hearts broke and souls withered from lack of doing what we were born to do, we may yet live and breathe. What would be the point, really? Knowing that you are capable and willing to do a job, to lend a hand and being unable to fulfill that call to help.


■ Survival of a community.

Chisana was home to the Native Athabaskin clans long before the prospectors arrived in 1913, after the discovery of gold in Chisana (pronounced Shoo-shana) that began the last great gold rush in Alaska. It was a short-lived boom and in a blink of time, not even ten years, the only remaining trace of the tens of thousands that came, were the cabins and equipment of the settlement left behind.

In 1997 after decades of working towards this goal, AT&T agreed to install an earth station in Chisana and Master Guide Terry Overly agreed to house the equipment, 16’ (diameter) satellite dish and supply the power for the Community’s phone and communication system.

The entire community of Chisana is connected to this system and it is the sole responsibility of Terry’s to bring in the fuel that runs the generators that supply the power to the Phone CO. and Communications systems. The same generators supply power for Pioneer Outfitters and all the buildings and homes used by the families of Pioneer Outfitters as well as for guests and clients of Pioneer Outfitters.

With no aircraft, we now rely on the charter service that delivers the twice weekly mail to Chisana to freight in fuel completely depending on space availability and at .40 cents per pound.

  • A 55 gallon barrel of diesel $242.00 (depending on current prices
  • Freight $74.80 per barrel
  • NOW! The charter service will not allow a full barrel on the plane- so the actual facts are: only 53 gallons is permitted at a cost of $233.20 and freight is the same at $74.80 per barrel.

The freight and undependability of delivery is not only draining all reserve funds but also allowing AT&T and AP&T to consider pulling out their equipment from Chisana, leaving us again, unable to connect with the outside world.


■ The very real survival of the spiritual place humanity needs to know is available to them.

Without a community and without Pioneer Outfitters in Chisana to welcome and protect those who wish to experience all the Alaska wilderness has to offer, the entire world will loose a great treasure to them. Very few, if any of the people who ever come to Chisana would disagree with me when I say that this is a truly spiritual place and area.

Aside from the incredible and pure rugged beauty of the land and area, Chisana is and by all historical accounts, always has been a very spiritual place. A place of insight and healing for the Medicine Man or Woman of the Native clans that were here long before the white man arrived.

Alaska Chick’s Blog is the online voice of Pioneer Outfitters. Reaching out across the world through technology and the wonderful and powerful magic of the Internet to give you a bird’s eye view into our lives. The blog is meant to be an open window, inviting you to come closer, to know us, as people, as individuals and as a team. To share with you Chisana, to invite you to come and experience the adventure you dream of, crave or wish for.

The Guiding Force of Survival is you. 

We need you to help us all to survive. To read these posts, to ask questions if you have them so that I may answer them for you and everyone else, to share #Stand4theManinBlack with others, to contribute to not only our own future, but for others to survive as well as they experience the adventure that calls and to stand with us as we serve others.

More from other people standing with us as we #Stand4theManinBlack :

  • Using Indiegogo To Achieve Business Goals (post by Jayme Soulati supporting #Stand4theManinBlack)
  • Help Pioneer Outfitters Alaska (Written by Mike Henry, Sr. for the Lead Change Group)
  • Your Chance to Make a Difference – #Stand4theManinBlack by Marjorie Clayman
  • HRockstars LOVE with @AlaskaChick (on YouTube)
  • Pioneer Outfitters Launches Airplane Expedition, #Stand4theManinBlack by Jane Anderson

For more information about Stand for the Man in Black:

Fundraiser: Stand for the Man in Black

Standing for Survival, Stand for the Man in Black

Stand for the Man in Black FAQs






Related posts:

Snow White and the 7 Dorks, IHA
The Answers (FAQs) to Stand for the Man in Black
On the Clock and Off the Grid

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