• Parker Schnabel is a gold miner and TV reality star, featured in the popular Discovery series "Gold Rush"
• Parker became popular for his impressive 1029 ounces of gold in his first year, generating over $1.4 million
• He earns $25,000 per episode for his appearances in "Gold Rush" and has a net worth of $10 million
• The median wage for his team is between $28 and $34 per hour and the crew usually pulls 75 hours a week
• In the last season, Parker and his team recovered 8,309 ounces (235,000gms) of gold
Parker Schnabel is a TV reality star and gold miner, who gained popularity starring in “Gold Rush,” one of the Discovery Channel’s most popular series. The reality series follows several family-run operations/ teams as they engage in placer mining in the Klondike, Yukon, Canada, and in Alaska. The show premiered in 2010, and has run for 12 seasons – the finale of the first season was the most-watched Friday program in all of the US, which tells you exactly how trendy the show is. Twelve seasons later, the show still draws viewers and goes strongly, without indicating a cancelation. In the last season, Parker scooped a nice sum for his mining efforts, which tickled the fans’ interest, who started wondering how much exactly he earned, and how much he paid his crew.
Who is Parker Schnabel?
Parker Schnabel was born on 22 July 1994, in Haines, Alaska, USA, where he spent most of his childhood with his brother Payson, raised by parents Robert and Nancy Schnabel. Parker, who has been involved in mining since the age of five, got the gold bug from his father and grandfather, who were also known miners. During his childhood, Parker often spent time with his grandfather’s mining company Big Nugget, where he learned how to operate heavy machinery. Obviously, his career choice was influenced by his family background, and Parker quickly learned the trade, knowing that someday he would inherit the business. An avid explorer and outdoorsman, he was very successful in Haines High school, and even gained popularity playing for the varsity basketball team. Allegedly Parker wanted to enroll at college to study geology or mining, however, life had other plans for Parker, and he focused on his family company.
Even before he matriculated, Parker stepped into the industry on his own, leasing land from the mining tycoon Tony Beets. He found an impressive 1029 ounces of gold in his first year, generating over $1.4 million, which grabbed the attention of Discovery producers. After matriculating from high school in 2012, he began exploring his prospects, simultaneously working in his grandfather’s company, and appearing in the “Gold Rush.” Parker used his college fund to establish a mining operation in Yukon Territory; according to his statements, his grandfather was a significant influence on him, and his biggest support.
Parker joined the “Gold Rush” cast in the first season, but only made a few appearances, but quickly became the fan’s favorite, regardless of being a young miner and an underdog, surrounded by experienced and proficient miners. Initially, his grandfather John was one of the main focuses of the series, but in the second season John stepped away from the show, and let Parker take over his operations. In 2016, John, an active miner from 1984 to 2014, passed away at the age of 96, leaving Parker devastated. He took it to Instagram to thank his fans for the support, writing: ‘John lived a great life and was one of a kind. I am glad the world got to see an amazing man.’
Starring in the Discovery series catapulted him to stardom, and raised his business to a new level. Undeniably, Parker has an unusual knack of smelling out this highly precious metal – the talent that he has for extracting such high values of gold is one that many miners wish they possessed. Furthermore, Parker was considered a prodigy in mining, as he extracted over $13 million worth of gold by the age of 24.
Even though Parker has earned some serious cash from his mining efforts, in an interview, he said that most of his earnings go into funding new projects, and maintaining the expensive machinery: ‘We are buying new equipment to improve our operation. I don’t own a boat or any fancy cars or a fancy house. I have a big expensive sandbox instead.” He also addressed the perception of gold mining as a quick money grab, saying: ‘The toughest thing is that it’s seasonal work, and we have four months to make a year’s worth of money. Not only is it difficult, but it’s also dangerous, because everybody is working long hours, long days. From a safety standpoint, that’s risky. ‘
Thanks to the Discovery series, his mining projects rose to worldwide fame. Besides “Gold Rush,” the 28-year-old celebrity has appeared in several spin-off series, including “Gold Rush: Parker’s Take,” “Gold Rush: South America,” and “Gold Rush: Winter Fortune.” In an interview, he talked about running operations in other countries, disclosing: ‘At our mining site, we have automated all of that. You run big equipment and your object is to reduce manual labor to the least amount possible, but in South America and Guyana in particular, it’s all manual labor. Everything that happens is moved by hand, almost.’
Parker got into a beef with a “Gold Rush “Cameraman
Given that Parker quickly stole the spotlight in the show and was regarded as a breakout star, it seemed logical that he would be featured in other projects and spin-offs. The producers came up with the idea to branch him out, and have him venture into the Klondike Trail with Rick Ness, Karla Ann and James Levelle, the camera guy – the limited series was named “Gold Rush Parker’s Trail’. However, Parker wasn’t thrilled with the experience he had while working with the crew, particularly James. In an interview, he revealed that he and the cameraman didn’t see eye to eye, which resulted in a falling out. He said: ‘James and I got into it quite a bit. I just don’t really like the guy. I thought I did before this all really started. I haven’t spoken to him almost since it ended.’
The exact reason behind their beef remained undisclosed, but Parker revealed that they didn’t hit it off on a professional level, saying: ‘Our personalities just didn’t quite jive. It comes out a little bit on the show, but with something like this, it’s hard to get it on camera, and that’s not my priority. But James and I had quite a few issues. I had a real problem with some of the things that he did.”
Some of the fans noted that Parker comes across as someone with a short fuse, so it wasn’t unimaginable to think that he would get into a verbal altercation with some of the crew members or the filming crew.
How much does he pay his crew?
Gold mining has proved to be a very lucrative career for most of the “Gold Rush” cast members, such as Tony Beets and Parker, known for finding big nuggets of gold and making huge profits. If you ever watched an episode of the show, you’ve heard Parker and other miners talking about gold findings worth millions of dollars, which naturally sparked the fans’ curiosity, who wonder how much he earns, and pays his crew. Luckily for the fans, Parker went onto Reddit and revealed this highly sought-after information – the median wage for his team is between $28 and $34 per hour, and the crew usually pulls 75 hours a week, which is pretty intense.
As mentioned, gold mining is done seasonally, so the crew works non-stop for several months, and then takes a well-deserved break until the following season. When you factor in overtime, the crew’s pay comes to $2,590 a week; Parker explained: “We usually work about ~25 weeks, so gross earnings would be around 65K pre bonus for a starting employee. Which I think works out to around $40k net, which is what I probably meant by saying $40k to drive a rock truck for the season. So the median wage is probably more in the $34/hr range.”
In addition, as any good employer, Parker gives his workers opportunities to earn even more dough through bonuses. He didn’t reveal how much of a reward he was offering, but described it as ‘significant.’ The “Gold Rush” star disclosed other extenuating factors to the job – the crew members are paid for housing and food while on site.
Many fans shared their opinion about the wage and the crew’s salaries, claiming it wasn’t a bad living. However, gold mining does require physical readiness and the ability to work under pressure and in various working conditions. So naturally, not everyone is cut out for it.
How much did he earn in the last season?
The 12th season, which began airing in September 2021, carried numerous obstacles for Parker, who was forced to shut down one of his plants in order to focus on his big project – the mud mountain. Halfway through the mining season, he faced a doom or die moment, saying: ‘The mud mountain is a big project, much bigger than I thought it would be, and there is still a lot of dirt to move.’ Working on a short time frame, he had to strip the 60-foot mud mountain in less than a month before his lease ended. Facing the prospect of losing hundreds of thousands of dollars, Parker opted to shut down a wash plant to free up some people and machines, which had never happened before, especially at the season’s peak. In addition to this grave challenge, it seemed that the stars simply didn’t align for Parker during the season, as he and his crew experienced several machine malfunctions, forcing him to shut down a plant once again. However, despite his troubles, Parker came out victorious at the end of the season, with one of the biggest hauls ever. He and his team recovered 8,309 ounces (235,000gms), topping last year’s haul, which was 7,504 ounces (212,000gms).
— Parker Schnabel (@goldrush_parker) February 7, 2021
What is Paul Schnabel’s net worth?
Depending on sources, Parker’s net worth ranges up to $10 million, which he’s earned through his career as a gold miner. Furthermore, he reportedly earns $25,000 per episode for his appearances in “Gold Rush.” In addition, it’s known that he’s purchased a sprawling mansion, his dream house in Alaska, which is valued at approximately $1 million.
If you’re wondering who is the wealthiest cast member on the show, it’s not Parker, despite his enviable net worth. Instead, the wealthiest miner is Tony Beets, who has accumulated over $15 million during his decades-long career in the industry. Regardless, Parker does not fall that short, and is the second wealthiest cast member.
Scandals and Controversy
Although “Gold Rush” is mainly known as one of the most popular and watched Discovery series, this doesn’t mean it hasn’t had its share of scandals and controversy. Since it premiered, many fans noted numerous discrepancies between the show and the reality of being a gold miner, which was confirmed in 2016. One of the former members, Jimmy Dorsey, shared some attention-grabbing details about the show, and the ever-lasting question of whether it’s scripted saying: ‘It’s scripted from the beginning. They knew exactly what they wanted to see out of the program. Even my leaving was scripted. I was assaulted by Greg. That was very real, but it was also in the script for Episode 4, which ended up being Episode 6, that I would end up leaving the show’. He also said: ‘They said ‘What are you going to do if you don’t get gold?’ They push you towards saying I was going to leave if we didn’t find gold. It was never my intention to leave. My plan was staying the entire summer and seeing it out.’
"I don't trust Parker Schnabel."
— Gold Rush (@Gold_Rush) October 28, 2021
Polluting the Environment
Most things created by humans come at the cost of the environment. History shows that people would stop at almost nothing to reach their goal, even destroying the ecosystem and releasing various pollutants into streams and rivers. It’s a well-known fact that gold mining is one of the most destructive industries in the world, as it can disrupt communities, contaminate drinking water and land with cyanide and mercury, in addition to numerous other results. That being said, the show has been criticized for taking out some kind of wildlife in the process of obtaining gold.
According to a media outlet, in one of the episodes, the crew had to drive a 50-tone piece of machinery through a salmon habitat, and in the process, killed large numbers of salmon. On the other hand, according to the law, the miners are not prohibited from driving their equipment through the streams and rivers, regardless of the damage they cause in the process.
The show was also criticized for an episode that aired in 2010, which depicted a member killing a bear. When working in a remote and uninhabited area, it’s logical that one might come across a wild animal. However, how the crew reacted took many by surprise, and according to Fox News, the bear was needlessly killed. The curious bear came close to the area where the crew was residing, and found its way to some graham crackers, which was apparently a big deal. Believing that their safety was in question, one of the miners, Halstead, took a gun, tracked the bear and killed it. Naturally, it drew a lot of controversy and backlash, given that none of the crew was attacked, and the bear was shot miles away from the mining site.
With every season, Parker proves that his reputation as one of the most successful miners isn’t exaggerated. Running such an operation is a very serious matter, and for someone as young as Parker, it’s definitely praise-worthy. The only question that remains is what will transpire in the 13th season, and will he again come out victorious.