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Randy Brown grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico and moved to Alaska when his father, Bill Brown, took a job as historian with the National Park Service. Eventually, in the mid-1970s, Randy chose to move out in the bush and settled on the Yukon River near Eagle, Alaska. Here he lived a subsistence lifestyle based upon hunting, trapping and fishing on the Yukon, Kandik, and Nation Rivers. After marrying his wife, Karen Kallen-Brown and having two sons, the family moved into "town," but continued to visit their fish camp every summer. In the 1990s, Randy became a fisheries biologist, focusing on the salmon of the Yukon River drainage, and works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service based in Fairbanks.