Erik Salitan
Source: Facebook

Survivalist Erik Salitan Left 'Life Below Zero' and We Finally Know Why

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Mar. 3 2021, Published 3:17 p.m. ET

The National Geographic Channel has shown several harrowing documentaries of endurance and innovation, and Life Below Zero is no exception. Life Below Zero has been on television since 2013 and documents the lives of those living in remote areas of Alaska, dealing with the challenges of achieving self-sustainability in the cold. Fans of the show have wondered what happened to Erik Salitan, one of the youngest of the show's cast members. 

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So, what happened to Erik?

In case you didn't know, Erik didn't grow up in Alaska. Erik was a New Yorker once upon a time, and according to AffairPost.com, was enrolled at Finger Lakes Community College before deciding that he'd rather spend more of his life in the great outdoors. Shortly thereafter, Erik moved to Alaska. He enrolled at the University of Fairbanks and settled in Wiseman, 67 miles outside the Arctic Circle.

life below zero erik
Source: Twitter
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While Erik was learning to adjust to Alaskan rural living, he attained a degree in Natural Resources Conservation and became accustomed to living from the land. He also started his own business, Bushwhack Alaska Guiding and Outfitting, based around trophy hunting. There is a main lodge (known as Talarik Creek Lodge) and several spike camps meant to keep clients comfortable on hunts that require backpacking.

With his almost rags-to-riches story, fans were very fond of Erik, but it sounds like Erik himself was much happier being out of the public eye. AffairPost alleges that Erik was tired of producers and cameras everywhere prying into his personal life and business ventures, so he exited the show. This is understandable, especially for someone unaccustomed to the spotlight. Fans were just sad to see him go!

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life below zero erik
Source: Facebook

What has Erik been up to since the show?

Erik keeps his personal life under wraps (he does not have personal social media accounts), but he is married to Martha Mae Salitan, an Alaskan native and sport fishing operator. She is Erik's business partner as well, and they manage both Talarik Creek Lodge and Bushwhack Alaska Guiding and Outfitting. Their dedication to giving tourists an authentic Alaskan experience has kept them afloat so far.

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The couple also has a son named Lucas, who occasionally helps his father on hunting trips. With both parents dedicated to conservation and intimate knowledge of the land on which they live, maybe Lucas will be featured on Life Below Zero one day!

Source: Twitter
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If you were worried that the show wouldn't have enough of a youth appeal following Erik's exit, never fear! Life Below Zero has a spinoff titled Life Below Zero: Next Generation that documents a whole new cast of people rejecting contemporary life in favor of the great outdoors. Life Below Zero: Next Generation currently airs on National Geographic Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET.

Life Below Zero may have lost a good cast member, but the fun isn't over yet. Currently, Life Below Zero is on Season 16, which started airing on Nov. 11, 2020. If you missed a few episodes here and there, never fear! Seasons 1 through 14 are now available to stream on Disney Plus. 

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