The yearning for self-sufficiency — away from bureaucratic rules, social constraints, and government legislation that seems to favor everyone but the average tax payer (never forget the time citizens banded together to beat hedge funds and financial institutions with their own schemes, only for the federal government to immediately swoop in and put a stop to it during the whole GameStop fiasco) — and it's enough to get a person to ask themselves: Do I really need all this?
Which is probably why shows like National Geographic's Port Protection are so popular: It gives viewers at home the chance to vicariously live out their off-the-grid wilderness lifestyle fantasies all from the comfort of their own couch, a bowl of snacks at their side that they purchased with money from their job that probably adheres to a regimented schedule.
While Port Protection hasn't been renewed yet for a ninth season, it's hard to imagine that it won't be, given the series' popularity.
And while they wait for news about any additional episodes, fans of the series are probably wondering, what are some of the cast members of Port Protection up to now?
Where is the cast of 'Port Protection' now? First up: Gary Muehlberger
If there ever was a poster child for the real-life Jeremiah Johnson/man of the wilderness/I'll-tough-it-out-in-nature type of individual, it's Gary Muehlberger.
For 39 years he thrived in the Alaskan wilderness, which made him a point of fascination for viewers who enjoyed watching him display his wealth of knowledge on the series from 2015–2020.
Muehlberger tragically passed away in his home after it caught fire on March 17, 2021, shocking fans of the show. He was 75 years old.
He wasn't officially announced dead until eight days later when authorities could confirm that the remains on the scene were indeed his. Due to the "extreme weather conditions" at the time of the fire, emergency personnel had a difficult time quelling the flames.
Sam Carlson has resided in Port Protection for over 50 years and it appears he's still living there until this very day. In January of 2023 it was reported that he suffered a health scare in the form of a heart attack, but it looks like he made a full recovery which was confirmed months later after the incident.
Lauded for his ingenuity and hunting prowess, Carlson is often referred to as "The Engineer" by residents of the area. He eschews technology and even though he clearly saw some benefit to having a reality TV series based on his life, he doesn't appear to want to get his family involved as his wife never appeared on the program.
David Squibb was reportedly last seen appreciating the wilderness in Point Baker, Alaska, and it looks like he has stayed true to being a mountain man. He describes himself in his Facebook profile: "Citizen of humanity thriving in the wilds of South East Alaska."
According to his social media he's currently in a relationship, and he has his beloved black dog plastered on his cover photo. His pup is gazing out into a mountain range, maybe appreciating the view as much as Squibb has and probably always will.
Word is that Mary Miller's still a crack shot, taking down game and living the pared-down, minimalist, self-sustaining lifestyle in Port Protection. As she's originally from Oakland, Calif., Mary was often referred to as a "City Girl" by other members of the cast, but it's a moniker she shrugged off on the show with a sense of humor that fans adored.
Matt Carlson grew up under the tutelage of his father, the "Engineer" himself Sam, in Port Protection, but moved away from the insular community where he was living with his then-fiancé Kaylee Burk and his daughter Shipley in Ketchikan, Alaska. He worked as a Captain of Baranof Fishing Excursions during his time there; however, the pair ultimately split.
This seems to have prompted Matt to head back to Port Protection, where he reunited with his father. The duo are purportedly seen in the wilderness together, tracking game, and fishing. Despite going to the mainland and living outside the nature-dwelling realm, Matt apparently hasn't lost a step at all. Looks like Sam not only taught him well but Matt learned well, too.
Timothy "Curly" Leach
Fans of the show were enamored with Curly and Mary's friendship in the series, and like many cast members, Curly Leach seems to have stuck to his guns when it comes to roughing it out in the wild — he's still in Port Protection and he still outright refuses to use money to get by, instead relying on trading, bartering, and exchanging services for his way of life.
On Facebook, Curly calls himself a "fun-loving, hard-working bush man," and he appears to post a bit more regularly than some of his other Port Protection counterparts, like this picture of him and his dog enjoying a boat ride on a lake that was snapped in September of 2023, or this post showing off the octopus he caught which he intended to turn into fritters.
Who are some of your favorite Port ProtectIon cast members that weren't featured in this article? A number of personalities have made appearances on the series who are all about self-sustaining living. And if you're thinking about getting in on this way of life, there are plenty of guides out there that'll teach you how to do it, along with social media users who will show you some of the tips and tricks that they've learned as a self-sufficient individual.