Parker Schnabel, an American reality TV star born on 22 July 1994, is arguably the best-known cast member of “Gold Rush.” He’s appeared in over 260 episodes since the gold mining show, filmed in Canada’s Yukon territory and Alaska, the nearby USA state, aired in early December 2010. That’s a feat; Parker shared the screen with his grandfather, John Schnabel, a legend in the industry who founded several mining companies. However, his mining ‘the Schnabel Crew’, was best known for mining at the family’s Big Nugget Mine in Porcupine Creek, Alaska. Moreover, the show featured renowned gold miners such as Tony Beets, Chris Doumitt and Rick Ness. Parker’s popularity led Discovery Channel to give him a spin-off series, “Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail,” which aired in March 2017, and was doing well during its most recent season.
Additionally, Parker has received the executive producer credit for his spin-off, and has also featured in some episodes of two other spin-offs, “Gold Rush: The Dirt” and “Gold Rush: South America.” Besides regular payments from the production giant, Parker earns a lot from his position as the Big Nugget Mine leader, and investments in other businesses. Moreover, he isn’t splurging on anything unless it makes him a profit or his work easier; he has no luxurious vehicles, a pool, or a large private property, and he even openly jokes about being homeless.
Parker is a multi-millionaire in 2023
Parker is undoubtedly worth several million US dollars; estimates range between eight and 12 million dollars US in 2023. However, the numbers are rough assessments, and only Parker and those who handle his personal and business finances know the exact amount. Furthermore, because of his career, the estimates increase and decrease based on whether Parker ‘hits the motherlode,’ as he puts it, during the gold mining season.
Therefore, Parker’s net worth is connected to his business. He openly put gold mining above his personal life, and began looking for gold nuggets as a child. He made his first significant business endeavor at 18, wisely handled his education, and has been earning money for appearing in hundreds of “Gold Rush” episodes and its spin-offs on Discovery Channel since 2011. Parker also inherited a sizable portion of his grandfather’s fortune, and invested in unrelated businesses. Most importantly, his profits grow yearly thanks to his insatiable ambition. Parker’s wealth could soon increase by up to $100 million if he finds the South American gold reserves that he’s looking for.
He started mining gold early
Discovery Channel’s biography page reveals that Parker began gold mining when he was five years old, and unofficially worked for his grandfather, John, in his hometown of Haines, Alaska. After over a decade of learning the ropes, making successful digs, and leading a gold mining team at 16, Parker had his eye on bigger challenges. When he was 18, Parker moved to Dawson City, the Klondike in Canada, known for the gold rush that attracted over 100,000 people within about three years after gold was discovered in 1896.
Parker did it wisely; he leased ground from Tony Beets, a gold mining legend who not only struck gold in locations such as Indian River Claim and Paradise Hills, but is a “Gold Rush” regular. It’s important to note that Parker skipped attending college after he matriculated from high school, and invested his college fund into his gold mining endeavor. Based on several claims, he dug up 1,029oz or 29,2kgs of gold in his first season, then worth about $1.4 million. Furthermore, according to Discovery, Parker mined more than US$13 million worth of gold in the next six years. That only covers about eight seasons of “Gold Rush” and the first two seasons of his spin-off, “Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail,” so he’s undoubtedly a multi-millionaire by now.
Parker’s wealth increased from spin-offs
Parker never disclosed how big his cut of the $13 million was, but that’s unimportant. After all, the rest of the money went to his family’s gold-digging company and associates, and he likely put his portion into the business anyway. Thus, Parker, who took more control in the second season after his grandfather stepped down, and started leading the company after John passed away in 2016, could get a loan at any point, making his net worth flexible.
Furthermore, he has been on TV since 2010, and has participated in more than 260 episodes, reportedly netting $10,000 to $25,000 each in the last few years, although likely earning much less initially. Moreover, Parker was one of the leading cast members in TV shows “Gold Rush: Winter’s Fortune,” “Gold Rush: Pay Dirt,” “Gold Rush: The Dirt,” and in TV movies such as “Gold Rush: The Rise of Rick Ness” and “Gold Rush: The Legend of Porcupine Creek.” All these somewhat boosted his wealth and promoted his brand, allowing him to ask for a bigger salary from Discovery Channel.
He expanded his investment portfolio
Parker only works on finding gold four to six months out of the year, leaving him with enough time to rest, but probably make even more money. There were rumors that he bought a mansion around 2018, but Parker denied them, and quipped that he was homeless. However, he has a cabin on the 240-acre or 0,97km2 family property.
Moreover, Parker has reportedly invested in other businesses, though he avoids bragging about it; his investment in a hotel has been mentioned. He has also started John Schnabel Foundation, to honor his grandfather’s legacy. Finally, Parker sells clothing, earrings, soy candles, and golden nuggets collections through his online store on the AlaskaCreations.net website.
https://alaskacreations.net/collections/parker-schnabel-x-alaska-creationsThere is a pretty limited run, but each candle has a piece of gold in it, straight from the minesite. Check it out.
Posted by Parker Schnabel on Sunday, March 19, 2023
Parker doesn’t live lavishly
Parker’s Instagram profile, @goldrushparker, reveals that he’s humble, family-oriented, and a dog lover, although his dog, Dozer, passed away in April 2023 from a heart attack or aneurysm. He prefers to spend time with his presumed girlfriend, the show’s talent manager Sheena Cowell, friends, and brother Payson, and ride his dirtbike whenever he needs a break instead of other entertaining but costly activities, saving him a lot of money.
Moreover, his spin-off shows that he isn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and get to work, despite his wealth. For instance, he had to adjust to insects and spiders while looking for gold in Guyana, deliberate on taking anti-malaria medicine, and stay on high alert in the jungle environment.
Most importantly, Parker adjusted to grueling digs without complaints. He stated that back in Alaska, the company wanted to do as little manual labor as possible; hence, they automated everything they could. In contrast, nearly all work in the South American country had to be done by hand, and the cast members called it ‘akin to being in the Dawson City gold rush between 1896 and 1899.’ That also implied that Parker could have filmed the show in Alaska or Canada, and showed that he wasn’t in it for the steady paycheck from Discovery Channel.
His business costs him a lot
Sources such as MoneyWeek interviewed Parker in late 2019, and claimed that he’d dug up $20 million worth of gold by that point. Whether that applies to the Canadian or US dollar is unclear, but it still made him one of Klondike’s most successful gold mining bosses. Parker explained that terrible logistics contributed to his decision to reinvest all his earnings into the business. He claimed that, despite the profitable bull market in Canada, Parker needed to ‘fill about half of an Olympic-size swimming pool’ to dig up an ounce or 28,5 grams of gold worth $1,500.
This young boss also explained that he spends $2 million on fuel for the equipment alone, and that every wrong decision makes a huge dent in the budget. Therefore, besides mining projects, which he does only to keep chasing the feeling of discovery, and TV shows, Parker also considered getting into unrelated businesses, such as starting a weed farm. He also swears that he may settle down and ‘start flipping hamburgers for a living’ once his passion disappears.
Five of the biggest gold nuggets in the world were discovered in Australia including the biggest ever found – called The Welcome Stranger weighing 72kg.
— Discovery (@Discovery) March 13, 2020
Parker’s income is growing
According to unverified sources, Parker’s net worth is approximately $10 million in 2023, an increase of close to $2 million from last year. However, the actual number is vastly different because much of his wealth is not in his bank accounts. Parker doesn’t own cars, boats, or a lavish house; nearly all his money is in the ‘expensive sandbox’ that he owns and uses.
Moreover, his future TV projects will likely net him an even bigger per-episode payout, especially since both “Gold Rush” and “Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail” have a loyal fanbase and keep reaching more viewers. Even better, according to Nielsen TV ratings, the premiere of the sixth season of his spin-off had a 27% increase in viewership compared to the finale of the fifth. Moreover, based on the reports from USTVDB, a US-based database of TV and streaming shows, his spin-off was the second most popular series on Discovery Channel in 2023.
He may get a cut from up to $100 million
Ultimately, Parker’s job’s unpredictability may drastically change his net worth, even daily. Viewers got proof in the sixth season of his spin-off show, when he abandoned the mine in Alaska and announced that he wanted to expand his golden empire elsewhere, digging gold in South America, particularly the unwelcoming terrain of the jungles in Peru. Cast members Danny Etheridge, Dr. Diego Lizarzaburu, and Tyler Mahoney joined him on the adventure. Parker wanted to ‘find world-class ground and go where nobody else goes’ and justified the risk with calculations that there is $100 million worth of gold in Peruvian ground.
His generous estimate applies to a large area and encourages people to tune in. However, Parker’s team knew where to start; they joined the indigenous Harakmbut tribe digging gold in the Madre Di Dios district of the Amazon jungle for a long time. Moreover, they visited a well-known gold mine, La Rinconada, located about 5200 meters or 17,000ft above sea level. Best of all, their search will continue this year and be broadcast in the seventh season which, if renewed, will air between April and June 2024.