Gary Zimmerman was born in Wisconsin, and moved from Illinois to Seward, Alaska in 1969 with his family when he was in the fourth grade. His father worked at the Bear Creek Saw Mill, as a hunting guide, and a commercial fisherman. In 1969/1970, Gary's father, Arley Zimmerman, operated a snowmachine tourism business on the Harding Icefield at the top of Exit Glacier. Gary has worked as a driller in the oil industry, and as a commercial fisherman. He is an avid snowmachiner with detailed knowledge of the Exit Glaicer area and countryside around Seward.