After wowing British audiences earlier this year when it aired on BBC One, Win the Wilderness: Alaska has been released worldwide on Netflix.

The unique competition series follows couples as they participate in a variety of challenges which proves they can fare well in the wild. And what are they competing for, we hear you ask? Well, unlike most reality competitions, which have huge cash prizes as the end goal, Win the Wilderness has a pretty incredible prize.

The winning couple will be given the keys and become the owners of Ose Mountain in Alaska; this breathtaking property is the brainchild of Duane and Rena Ose, who built it up from the ground.

But what’s the story behind Duane and Rena? Why did they build Ose Mountain, and where are they now that they’ve handed over the keys to the Win the Wilderness winners?

Screenshot: Rena Ose in Win the Wilderness: Alaska S1 E1 – BBC iPlayer

Who is Duane Ose?

Duane Ose grew up in the Echo area of Minnesota, not much is known about his life until the moment which brought him to his Alaskan journey.

After surviving a gunshot wound to the head, Duane decided to make himself a part of history. After extensively researching the Homestead Act of 1964 – which was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln – Duane found that he could still stake a piece of land in Alaska as his own.

In 1985, Duane Ose trekked for 15 days to Alaska, to find the patch of land that he wanted to call home.

Duane staked a claim in the Alaskan wilderness in 1985 and filed it in October 1986 making him the last homesteader in America.

  • UPDATEWhat happened next with the Win the Wilderness: Alaska winners?
Screenshot: Duane Ose in Win the Wilderness: Alaska S1 E1 – BBC iPlayer

Duane and Rena build Ose Mountain

Four years after Duane had found the location for Ose Mountain, he met his wife-to-be Rena in a grocery store. She signed up to the wild ride with him and the rest is history.

It took the couple nine years to build up their property. It is a three-storey log cabin that is 30′X40′ in size made out of 2,000 spruce trees.

They documented the whole process on video, meaning Win the Wilderness has access to the incredible footage of the couple building Ose Mountain from scratch.

Where are Duane and Rena from Win the Wilderness now?

At the end of Win the Wilderness, Duane and Rena handed over the keys to Ose Mountain to winners Emily and Mark, after three decades of managing it. This was back in May 2019.

The couple had decided, largely out of concerns for their health, that they needed to move back to more populated areas. Now, the couple live in Redwood Falls, Minnesota which has a population of over 5,000 – this may sound small, but for a couple who have been living alone in the wild for thirty years, it’s quite the shock.

Duane has written books before, and from Mark and Emily’s Instagram post below, we can see that Duane is writing again. You can find his 2013 publication ‘Alaskan Wilderness Adventure’ on Amazon.

What Win the Wilderness fans will be even happier to hear is that Duane and Rena have kept in contact with the Ose Mountain winners, Mark and Emily.



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