2017 Winners of the National Outdoor Book Awards have been Announced.

 Outdoor Literature

Fly Rod of Your OwnWinner.  A Fly Rod of Your Own.  By John Gierach.  Simon and Schuster, New York.
ISBN 9781451618341

There’s no better way to bring back memories of your own fishing trips than to read of some by John Gierach.  He has a warm, inviting quality to his writing that makes him such a pleasure to read.  In honoring this book, the judges also wanted to recognize Gierach’s body of work which now totals more than 20 previous books.  His themes are simple: a favorite stream near home, a missed cast just when everything is perfect, a culinary misadventure on a trip.  With a wave of his writer’s wand, simple stories become utterly absorbing, and you find yourself captured by his magic, reading well into the night.

On TrailsWinner.  On Trails: An Exploration.  By Robert Moor.  Simon and Schuster, New York.
ISBN 9781476739236

Author Robert Moor has a thing with trails.  It’s a fascination of sorts that began on a five-month, 2,200-mile hike of the Appalachian Trail.  Those miles and miles of trail passing beneath his feet gave him plenty of time to think, and upon finishing the hike Moor set off on another journey, this one of the intellectual kind, researching the concept of trails.  His investigations quickly move him beyond the realm of hiking to the use of trails by insects, mammals and ancient humans.  Through it all, Moor’s observations on trails are fresh, thought provoking, erudite, and full of delightful surprises.


No BarriersHonorable Mention.  No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon.  By Erik Weihenmayer and Buddy Levy.  Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press.  New York.
ISBN 9781250088789

Imagine paddling a kayak into the biggest rapid in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado.  The sound is deafening.  Mammoth waves toss your kayak about like it’s a toy.  Then imagine paddling into those waves completely blind, not knowing when the next wave is coming or from where.  Born with a rare eye disease which left him blind at the age of 13, Erik Weihenmayer takes on the rapids of the Colorado—and other adventures—in this stirring and inspiring book.  It may be a cliché, but not for Weihenmayer.  He turns the notion of impossible upside down and reveals that all is possible.




Art of FreedomWinner. Art of Freedom: The Life and Climbs of Voytek Kurtyka.  By Bernadette McDonald.  Rocky Mountain Books, Vancouver, BC.
ISBN  9781771602129

In this masterpiece of a biography, Bernadette McDonald chronicles the life of Voytek Kurtyka who pushed the boundaries of mountaineering to its very limits.  He grew up in Poland and lived during a time of upheaval:  of communist domination and its eventual downfall.  Kurtyka is a reflection of those turbulent times, buying and selling on the black market to make a living, and scheming ways to outwit party bureaucrats to undertake climbing expeditions.  Known for his bold and lightning-fast ascents of big, unclimbed walls in the Himalaya, Kurtyka is a thoughtful and private individual and has largely shunned the limelight.  Fortunately, McDonald was able to conduct interviews with Kurtyka as well as undertake exhaustive research.  The result of her efforts is a work of outstanding artistry and a powerful and moving portrait of Kurtyka’s life.


 Natural History Literature

TidesWinner. Tides:  The Science and Spirit of the Ocean.  By Jonathan White.  Trinity University Press, San Antonio.  ISBN  9781595348050

The regular ebb and flow of the ocean’s tide is not easily explained—unless it is Jonathan White who’s doing the explaining.  In fact, White makes the science of tides an adventure. He takes you along as he travels the globe, seeking out the unusual and dangerous.  In Alaska’s Kalinin Bay, he struggles to save his 65-foot wooden schooner which the tides have left laying on its side in the mud.  With an Inuit hunter in northern Canada, he squeezes through a small hole into a cavity under the sea ice to gather mussels, nervously counting the minutes as the cavity begins filling with the incoming tide.  And in China, he sprints to high ground to avoid a 25-foot tidal bore barreling up a river.  White does what an excellent writer can do, lure you into an unfamiliar world, take you on adventures, change you with intriguing images and ideas.


 Nature and the Environment

Monarchs and MilkweedWinner. Monarchs and Milkweed.  By Anurag Agrawal.  Princeton University Press, Princeton.  ISBN 9780691166353

Who can’t admit being captivated by the monarch?  We are attracted by its beauty, of course, and by its amazing migration that can exceed 3,000 miles.  But there is something else that makes the monarch fascinating, and that is its perilous relationship with its main food source, the milkweed.  As it turns out, milkweed is toxic, and while monarchs have adapted to its toxicity, the plant is still able to marshall its defenses, killing off monarch larvae by various means.  In this colorfully illustrated work, Agrawal covers the scientific work behind this combative relationship, among which includes some of his own pioneering studies.  Monarchs and Milkweed is not only about a butterfly, but it also gives us a peek into the mind of an inventive scientist, one who clearly admires his subject and who guides us to a better understanding of this most remarkable creature.


Pipestone WolvesHonorable Mention.  The Pipestone Wolves:  The Rise and Fall of a Wolf Family.  By Günther Bloch.  Photography by John E. Marriott.  Rocky Mountain Books, Vancouver, BC.  ISBN  9781771601603

Some 20 years ago, a new wolf family moved into the Bow Valley of Banff National Park and ended up dominating the area for the next five years.  This book is about the investigations of two dedicated field researchers into that wolf family, and thanks to their efforts we know a great deal more about the dynamics of wolf packs and wolf families.  Later chapters deal with the eventual collapse of the Pipestone wolves and how human activity contributed to it.  Researcher and writer, Günther Bloch pulls no punches when he discusses the management of wolves and other wildlife in Banff.  It is the old dilemma of how to maintain a healthy environment for animals in the face of a growing human population.  It is hoped that, at the least, key aspects of his research will lead to management improvements.


 Classic Category

KingBird HighwayWinner.  Kingbird Highway:  The Biggest Year in the Life of an Extreme Birder.  By Kenn Kaufman. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.  ISBN 9780618709403

In January of 1972, a month shy of his 18th birthday, Kenn Kaufman left his home in Kansas and hitched a ride to Texas.  He was a high school dropout with little money and few prospects for the future.  Nevertheless, driven and single-minded, Kaufman was embarking on a quest, a quest far removed from that of a typical 18-year old.  He was out to establish the record for the most birds identified in the US in one year.  This is the story of that year-long quest:  of living on pennies a day, of hitch hiking from one end of the country to the other, and of sleeping under bridges—and yet slowly, he filled his lists with birds.  And what of his uncertain future?  He didn’t do too badly.  Have you heard of the Kaufman guides, that popular series of bird, mammal and insect guides which have sold in the thousands?  Oh yes, that’s the same Kaufman.



 Design & Artistic Merit

Wild EncountersWinner. Wild Encounters: Iconic Photographs of the World’s Vanishing Animals and Cultures.   Photography and Commentary by David Yarrow.  Rizzoli, New York. 
ISBN 9780847858323

David Yarrow is one of the virtuosos of black and white wildlife photography.  His art has graced galleries from Europe to North America.  In this large format, portfolio-sized book, you’ll be treated to some of his finest work.  Arranged by the latitude of locale, his dramatic monochromatic photographs of wild and endangered animals appear to leap from the page.  Some of the most powerful images are tightly framed close-ups in which almost every hair of the animal can be seen.  The emphasis of the book is on wildlife, but he also features people who live in close proximity with the creatures he photographs, and included among those are stunning portrayals of the Inuit in northern Canada and the stately Dinka people of the South Sudan.  You won’t be disappointed.  This is truly the work of an artist at the height of his powers.


 Children’s Category

Pup the Sea OtterWinner.  Pup the Sea Otter.  By Jonathan London.  Illustrated by Sean London.  WestWinds Press/Graphic Arts Books, Portland.
ISBN 978194332887

This delightful book, the work of a father and son team, is about a ball of fur called Pup.  Jonathan London tells the story of a newly born sea otter, while his son Sean, a gifted illustrator, provides color and form to the story with his tender and eye-catching paintings.   Pup grows and learns how to forage for food, all under the watchful eye of his mom.  Children will love the dialog:  slurp, slurp, slurp; munch, crunch, munch.  There’s even some danger and excitement when a shark appears, but it all turns out fine when—you guessed it—mom comes to the rescue.  For ages 4-8.


TreecologyHonorable Mention.  Treecology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Trees and Forests.  By Monica Russo.  Photographs by Kevin Byron.  Chicago Review Press, Chicago.  ISBN 9871613733967 

This wonderful learning book about trees is for budding naturalists age seven and older.  Chapters typically start with a discussion of some aspect of tree biology which, in turn, is followed by one or more hands-on activities related to the discussion.  The activities are fun and designed to help children develop their own writing, drawing and literacy skills.  It is colorful, nicely designed, and perfect for a learning adventure in a nearby woods.



Long TrailsWinner. Backpacker Long Trails:  Mastering the Art of the Thru-hike.  By Liz Thomas.  Falcon Guides, Lanham, MD.  ISBN 9871493028726

Every so often a book comes along, finds broad acceptance, and becomes the bible of a sport.  This book is destined to rise to that position among long-trail hiking guides.  Authored by Liz Thomas who has hiked the big three—Appalachian, Continental Divide and Pacific Crest—this comprehensive work is literally brimming full of practical advice for backpackers planning to spend weeks on the trail.  In addition to Thomas’s fine writing, sidebars written by other experienced hikers offer alternative ideas and strategies.  If you have a hankering to go on a long hike, there’s no question about it.  This is the one book that you’ll want to read before you go.


Big Walls, Swift WatersWinner.  Big Walls, Swift Waters:  Epic Stories from Yosemite Search and Rescue.  By Charles R. “Butch” Farabee.  Yosemite Conservancy, Yosemite National Park, CA.  ISBN 9781930238749

Big Walls, Swift Waters is a little bit of everything.  It’s a history, a compilation of case studies, and an instructional guide about rescue equipment and techniques.  Well illustrated with photographs from past rescues, author Charles “Butch” Farabee documents many of the classic search and rescues that have occurred in Yosemite National Park.  It’s a fascinating, insider’s view of rescue, and you’ll find yourself rappelling out of helicopters, hanging on granite walls, and plunging into icy waters.



 Nature Guidebooks

Scout's Guide to Wild EdiblesWinner.  The Scout’s Guide to Wild Edibles.  By Mike Krebill.  St. Lynn’s Press, Pittsburg.
ISBN  9781943366064

Sometimes good guidebooks come in small packages.  The Scout’s Guide to Wild Edibles almost fits in a back pocket, and yet, for its relatively small size, it packs in a lot of information.  Author Mike Krebill knows his wild edibles, and he knows how to make a guidebook fun for young people.  A wild food expert and a Scout leader, he divides the book into two parts:  the first is the identification guide profiling 40 widely found edible wild plants and mushrooms.  The second half consists of recipes and ways of cooking wild foods.  In this last half boys and girls are pictured preparing and cooking plants that they have gathered on their outdoor forays.  It’s oriented to the younger set, of course, but adults just might want to sneak one along on the next outing.  They’ll find it pretty handy too.


Butterflies of PennsylvaniaWinner.  Butterflies of Pennsylvania:  A Field Guide.  By James L. Monroe and David M. Wright.  University of Pittsburg Press, Pittsburg. 
ISBN 9780822964551

Butterflies of Pennsylvania is one of those guidebooks that sets out with a purpose and ends up doing it well.  What appealed to the judges is that all of the information on a butterfly species is covered on a single page or a two-page spread.  There’s no need to look elsewhere for maps and other information.  The photos are crisp.  The text is clear, and the maps and charts easy to use.  If you live in Pennsylvania or in surrounding states, this fine guidebook is a must-have.



 Outdoor Adventure Guidebooks

Outdoor Adventures Acadia National ParkWinner.  Outdoor Adventures, Acadia National Park: Your Guide to the Best Hiking, Biking and Paddling.  By Jerry and Marcy Monkman.  Appalachian Mountain Club, Boston. 
ISBN 9781628420579

Situated along the rugged coastline of Maine, Acadia National Park is truly a Northeast treasure.  It’s the oldest designated national park area east of the Mississippi River and has a little of everything:  125 miles of hiking trails, 45 miles of historic carriage roads, rocky mountains, ponds, islands and dense evergreen forests.  One of the best ways to enjoy it is with this guidebook by Jerry and Marcy Monkman.  The Monkman’s are accomplished Eastern writers and photographers, and in this guide, they have detailed 50 choice hiking, biking and paddling trips.  There’s even a two-sided 20” x 25” full color map which can be removed from the back cover and which shows all of the routes covered in the book.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 National Outdoor book Awards



Outdoor Literature



Winner. Fast Into the Night:  A Woman, Her Dogs, and Their Journey North on the Iditarod Trail.  By Debbie Clarke Moderow.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston.  ISBN 978054448412

In this beautifully written and moving account, Debbie Moderow whisks you away on a dogsled across Alaska.  Her interest in dogs began quite innocently when a friend gave their family a “retired” sled dog by the name of Salt.  Salt came just at a perfect time, helping Moderow recover from the depression following a second miscarriage.  The family took in more dogs, and in a roundabout way, Moderow ended up entering Alaska’s famous Iditarod race.  There’s adventure, of course, and plenty of it on the thousand-mile Iditarod trail, but what makes this book so appealing is the connection between Moderow and her dogs.  We come to learn their names, their personality quirks, and the warmth and love that she shares with each of them. 



Honorable Mention.  Portage: A Family, a Canoe and the Search for the Good Life. By Sue Leaf.  University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.  ISBN 9780816698547

Sue Leaf knows her way around a canoe, but what’s even better from our standpoint is that she is a gifted story teller.  In this collection of writings spanning 35 years, Leaf takes ordinary canoe trips and brings them alive.  Weaving the stories around family life, and natural and cultural history, her trips range from her home state of Minnesota to Canada to the bayous of Louisiana.  Yes, it is all about the good life, and one that Leaf has captured so well.




Natural History Literature



Winner. A Sea of Glass:  Searching for the Blaschkas’ Fragile Legacy in an Ocean at Risk.  By Drew Harvell.  University of California Press, Oakland, CA.  ISBN 9780520285682

They were very old, created in the mid 1800’s, but they were absolutely exquisite.  Stored away in a Cornell University warehouse for years, they were glass replicas of marine invertebrates, the spineless creatures of the sea.  They had been created by the great glass flower artists Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka of central Europe.  The delicate replicas were so life-like that upon first seeing them author Drew Harvell was mesmerized by their beauty.  As a professor of evolutionary biology, Harvell was well acquainted with the invertebrates, and she began to wonder if man’s activities in connection with the ocean have had any effect on the populations of animals represented by Blaschkas’ replicas.  That sets Harvell off on a journey of discovery, one in which you become an eyewitness, as she dives into the mysterious depths of the seas.






Winner. The Ghosts of K2: The Epic Saga of the First Ascent.  By Mick Conefrey.  Oneworld Publications, London.  ISBN 9781780745954

Of all the highest mountains in the world, K2 ranks among the most difficult and dangerous.  It’s not only the peak’s rarified air and exposed flanks that are responsible for its reputation, but violent storms can suddenly materialize, trapping climbers for days on end.  Using newly available source materials and interviews with surviving team members of past expeditions, author Mick Conefrey skillfully re-constructs a vivid and gripping history of the mountain.




Honorable Mention.  Continental Divide: A History of American Mountaineering.  By Maurice Isserman.  W. W. Norton, New York.  ISBN 9780393068504

There are several comprehensive historic works on American mountaineering and climbing, but Maurice Isserman ups the ante with this book.  Part of the book’s appeal is the way he approaches the subject, deftly blending notable achievements in the climbing world with social and cultural history.  Works such as this can easily drag after the first couple of chapters, but not this one.  Isserman has a lively and engaging writing style which holds one’s attention and keeps the pages turning.



Honorable Mention.  Valley Walls: A Memoir of Climbing & Living in Yosemite.  By Glen Denny.  Yosemite Conservancy. Yosemite National Park.  ISBN 9781930238633

They were an unkempt bunch.  Some of them went days on end without bathing.  They were the denizens of that notorious campground in Yosemite called Camp 4 who pioneered the techniques and equipment of modern day big wall climbing.  In the 1960’s, author Glen Denny was there, taking many of the era’s iconic photographs and making some of his own notable first ascents.  Valley Walls is his engrossing and memorable story of those raucous days.



Design and Artistic Merit



Winner. The Living Bird: 100 Years of Listening to Nature.  Photography by Gerrit Vyn.  Design by Jane Jeszeck. Essays by Scott Weidensaul, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, John W. Fitzpatrick, and Jared Diamond.  Mountaineers Books (Seattle) in conjunction with The Cornell Lab of Ornithology (New York).  ISBN 9781594859656

From one of the leading ornithology labs comes a book with extraordinary design and breathtaking imagery.  Within the pages of this elegant book, master photographer Gerrit Vyn and leading naturalists, explore the fascinating world of birds.   It’s not just Vyn’s accomplished photography — though the book could stand alone on Vyn’s art alone — it is also filled with up-to-date facts, and insightful and satisfying writing.  This is a superior production in every respect.  If you have just one book on birds in your library, you can’t make a better choice than this one.



Winner.  Yosemite in the Fifties: The Iron Age.  Design by Tom Adler and Evan Backes.  Photo Editing by Dean Fidelman.  Edited by John Long.  Patagonia Books, Ventura, CA.  ISBN 9781938340482

Two words come to mind in describing this handsomely done, large format book: visual celebration.  What it celebrates are the highly inventive years of the 1950’s when climbers in Yosemite pushed the boundaries of what was possible, all the while experimenting and creating new tools of the trade.  The photos are drawn from a wide variety of original sources and fit comfortably into the book’s crisp graphic design.  Enhancing the overall appeal of the book is the inclusion of classic writings authored by climbers of the time period.  All in all, it’s a striking work which captivates from the first page all the way to the last thought-provoking photograph on the back cover. 



Honorable Mention.  Todd and Brad Reed’s Michigan: Wednesdays in the Mitten.  Photography by Todd & Brad Reed.  Design by Todd & Brad Reed, Sarah Genson and Rachel Gaudette.  Cover by Misty Reed.  Todd & Brad Reed Photography, LCC., Ludington, MI.  ISBN 9781495152139.

Page through this book and you’ll be immediately impressed:  both with its beauty and its size.  It is large, larger than typical large format books.  That’s because the father and son team of Todd and Brad Reed deserve an expansive canvas on which to display their art.  Within the book’s covers are a series of stunning photographs that were taken on every Wednesday throughout a one year period.  This is photographic virtuosity of the highest order and a compelling tribute to the state of Michigan




Nature and the Environment



Winner. Victory Gardens for Bees: A DIY Guide to Saving the Bees. By Lori Weidenhammer.  Douglas & McIntyre, Madeira Park, BC.  ISBN 9781771620536

During World War I and II, many people planted “victory gardens.”  It was way in which individuals could help the war effort by supplementing their country’s food supply.  In this splendidly designed and photographed book, Lori Weidenhammer suggests that victory gardens are again necessary, but for a different reason: to help resolve the shortage of forage and shelter faced by bees.  The book serves as an instructional guide — text, graphics and photographs perfectly meshing together — describing how anyone, even with limited space, can create their own sanctuary for bees. 



Children’s Category



Winner. Chasing at the Surface:  A Novel.  By Sharon Mentyka.  WestWinds Press/Graphic Arts Books, Portland.  ISBN 9781943328604

In this 220-page novel for young adults, 12-year old Marisa’s world is thrown into confusion when her mom leaves on a mysterious trip.  A school science project monitoring a pod of whales helps take her mind off her worries.  As Marisa learns more about whales, she begins to understand the delicate life-and-death balance facing these creatures of the deep.  Her interest and passion for the whales grows, but events take a turn for the worse when the whales become trapped because of human activity.  The story comes to a climax as Marisa plays a role in helping the whales escape back into the wild, and her mother returns and reveals a long held secret.



Honorable Mention.  Wake Up, Island.  By Mary Casanova.  Woodcuts by Nick Wroblewski.  University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.  ISBN 9780816689354

If you’re looking for the perfect book to read aloud to young children, look no further.  The story is about the natural world coming awake in the early morning: the sun peeking above the horizon, pine trees stretching,and deer rising from their grassy beds.  Wake Up, Island is a joy to read with its fun word play and animal
sounds — like:  squirrels chattering chitter-chee and chickadees calling dee dee dee.  Nick Wroblewski’s gorgeous woodcuts are the icing on the cake and will have children wide-eyed and eager to point out their favorite creatures.






Winner. Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon. By Michael P. Ghiglieri and Thomas M. Myers.  Puma Press, Flagstaff, AZ.  ISBN 9780984785803

Originally published in 2001, Over the Edge has since sold well over a quarter million copies.  Meticulously researched, it categorizes fatalities and near misses into several groupings including falls, flash floods, river running accidents, and freak mishaps such as lightning and rock falls.  Yes, it is fascinating reading — if somewhat chilling, especially if you happen to be hiking or boating in the Grand Canyon area while reading it.  But its true value lies in the authors’ thoughtful analysis of accidents and their causes — most of which, we learn, are preventable and occur again and again.  There’s no such thing as perfect safety in the desert and canyon environment, but by learning from exceptional works as this one, we can certainly tip the odds in our favor. 



Nature Guidebooks



Winner. Mushrooms of the Northeast: A Simple Guide to Common Mushrooms.  By Teresa Marrone and Walt Sturgeon.  Adventure Publications, Cambridge, MN.  ISBN 9781591935919

There’s a lot to like about this small guide, starting with its size — it will fit easily in the pocket of a pack for use in the field.  The book is nicely organized into sections by the mushroom’s shape for ease of identification.  Safety is front and center throughout, and that’s underscored with the two most important categories leading off the identification chapters:  edible and toxic mushrooms.  Moreover, from start to finish the authors are careful to point out when an edible mushroom might be confused with a toxic one.  Written in a straightforward, no-nonsense style, this is the right book for aspiring mushroomers.



Honorable Mention.  Pacific Seaweeds:  A Guide to the Common Seaweeds of the West Coast.  By Louis D. Druehl and Bridgette E. Clarkston.  Harbour Publishing, Madeira Park, BC.  ISBN 9781550177374

If you’ve ever wondered about the names of seaweeds that have washed up on shore, this is the guide to reach for.  Of the several methods employed by the authors to aid your identification efforts, one of the most clever is the way seaweeds are photographed.  The book often portrays a seaweed held in a hand or draped over a finger.  That not only helps provide size perspective but it also personalizes the process of identifying it.  It’s what you would see when holding a specimen in your own hand.  What plainly comes through in this book is that the authors are enthusiastic and passionate about these plants of the sea.  They’ve even included an extra treat for your culinary pleasure: a series of sea vegetable recipes.  Bon appétit!




Outdoor Adventure Guidebooks



Winner. Hiking Acadia National Park: A Guide to the Park’s Greatest Hiking Adventures.  By Dolores Kong and Dan Ring.  Falcon Guides, Guilford, CT.  ISBN 9781493016617

There’s nothing like Maine’s Acadia National Park.  From its shoreside walks to the commanding view from the highest mountain on the Atlantic seaboard, it’s a place that inspires and regenerates the soul.  One nice feature to Dolores Kong and Dan Ring’s guidebook is the way they have organized hikes according to interest: best hikes for great views, or hikes for children, or dogs, history buffs, peak baggers, or ocean lovers.  It’s all there in one compact package with thoughtful design, clear maps, and straightforward trail descriptions.






Honorable Mention. Winter in the Wilderness:  A Field Guide to Primitive Survival Skills.  By Dave Hall with Jon Ulrich.  Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.  ISBN 9780801479953

There’s nothing fancy here.  No frills.  No colorful graphics.  How best to describe it?  It’s is like having a conversation with Northeastern survival expert Dave Hall.  You ask a question and Hall responds with his thoughts.  He might explain the finer points of building a fire (which he demonstrates using what he calls a “fire burrito”).  Or he might offer his opinion on the pros and cons of different snow shelters.  It’s informal, unaffected, and plain good advice.



Official NOBA reviews prepared by Ron Watters.  Reviews are based on comments and insights provided by members of the judging panels.  A special thanks to Katherine Daly for her editorial work. 



Crystal Atamian, Spokane Valley, WA
 Editor, writer and wildlife educator.  Creator and author of Duck Duck Moose, a blog about nature and family.  Former Assistant Book Review Editor for ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment.   Former writer for Reno News & Review. Master of Arts in Literature and Environment.

Natalie Bartley, Boise, ID
Freelance outdoor writer/photographer/editor and certified Nordic ski instructor. Active member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America and the Northwest Outdoor Writers Association. Doctorate in Recreation and Leisure Services from University of Utah. Author of Best Easy Day Hikes Boise and Best Rail Trails Pacific Northwest: Washington, Oregon, and Idaho and Boise’s Best Outdoor Adventures mobile app travel guide.

Virginia Barlow, Corinth, VT
Consulting forester and founder of Redstart Forestry. Co-founder, writer and editor of Northern Woodlands Magazine (20 years). Currently active in land conservation work and all things natural. Author of The Nature of the Islands about the flora, fauna and sea life of the Caribbean.

Jeff Cramer, Lincoln, MA
 Curator of Collections at the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods.  Editor of Thoreau on Freedom: Attending to the Man, Selected Writings of Henry David Thoreau, and an annotated edition of Walden.

Val Cunningham, St. Paul, MN
 Naturalist, freelance writer and editor, leads local bird hikes and conducts bird surveys for Audubon. Author of The Gardener’s Hummingbird Book. Regular columnist for Outdoor News and Minneapolis StarTribune. Writes for local, regional and national nature and bird-oriented publications.

Jim & Sara Fullerton, St. Petersburg, FL

 Past president of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.  Doctorate in Human Sciences from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.   Assistant Professor for management and leadership development at the College of Coastal Georgia.  Twenty years experience as an outdoor adventure leader.  His wife Sara who assists with judging the children’s category is an elementary school teacher and has worked in a children’s bookstore.

Dale Harrington, Boone, NC
 Biology instructor at Caldwell Community College.  Naturalist.  Former trip leader for Appalachian State University. Avid mountaineer and hiker.

Rob Jones, Salt Lake City, UT
 Director of the University of Utah Outdoor Recreation Program.  Former president Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.  Certified Utah river guide and Leave No Trace Master Educator.

Rodney Ley, Fort Collins, CO
 Director for Outdoor Programs at Colorado State University.  Former outdoor columnist for Gannett newspapers.  Founder of a backcountry ski yurt system.  Former board member, Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.

Kate Mapp, Heber City, UT
 Head Librarian, Summit Country Library, Kama Branch.  Former Lead Wilderness Ranger for the US Forest Service (5 years).   Level III ski patroller and former president of the Canyons Professional Ski Patrol Association.  Reviewer for “Women Writing in the West” Book Awards.

John Miles, El Prado, NM
 Former Dean and Professor Emeritus of Environmental Studies, Huxley College, Western Washington University.  Author of six books, most recently Wilderness in National Parks: Playground or Preserve.  Currently researching books on national parks and the history of the youth conservation movement.

Jill Morgan, Cynthiana, KY
 Publisher of Purple House Press specializing in classic children’s books.  Supervises book layout, design and production.  Lives on an old dairy farm with her husband, three children, and an assortment of dogs and cats.  Past president of the local Humane Society.

Susanne Dubrouillet Morais, Raleigh, NC
 Assistant Professor, Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at North Carolina State University.  Formerly, program director and instructor at Penn State University working with recreation majors and overseeing Penn State’s Wilderness Orientation Program.  Past program director with Clemson University’s Clemson Expeditions.  Masters of Education in Outdoor Education.

James Moss, Littleton, CO
 Outdoor industry attorney, risk management consultant, author and speaker.  Chair, American Alpine Club Library Committee.  Board of directors of the Galapagos Preservation Society, and Colorado Alliance of Environmental Education.  Teaches ski area risk assessment, liability and safety at Colorado Mountain College.  Author of Outdoor Recreation Risk Management, Insurance and Law.

Tom Mullin, Unity ME
 Fellow of the National Association for Interpretation.  Associate Professor of Parks and Forest Resources at Unity College.  Consultant for a series of twenty Time-Life nature books.  1987 Thru-hiker of the 2,100+ mile Appalachian Trail.

Tammie L. Stenger-Ramsey, Bowling Green, KY
 Associate Professor, Recreation Administration and Outdoor Leadership at Western Kentucky University.  Leave No Trace Master Educator.  American Canoe Association Canoe Instructor.  Student Literary Award Coordinator for the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.

Ron Watters, Pocatello, ID
Chairman, National Outdoor Book Awards.  Author of eight outdoor books (Never Turn Back, Ski Camping, The Whitewater Book, etc.)  Formerly, Director of the Idaho State University Outdoor Program (25 years).

Ingrid Wicken, Norco, CA
 Founder and Director of the California Ski Library.  Author of works on the history of skiing (Lost Ski Areas, Pray for Snow: The History of Skiing in Southern California, etc.).  Professor of Kinesiology at Moreno Valley College.

Melanie Wulf, St. Charles, IL
 Former director of the Outdoor Program at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.  Masters in Outdoor Education from Northern Illinois University.  Certified Elementary and Middle School Teacher.



2015 National Outdoor Book Award Winners have been Announced

See who garnered national attention because of great writing, editing and photography.

See who won at the National Outdoor Book Awards website.


















New American Alpine Club Library Book Club starting in Vermont

Our focus is to discuss mountaineering literature, new and old, covering the world’s mountains.

Before our first meeting! – Please email me a list of three books you’d like to suggest we read. I’ll collate these suggestions and bring them to the meeting.

First meeting – Wednesday, February 22nd, 7pm, at the Carpenter Carse Library, 69 Ballards Corner, Hinesburg, VT 05461

(Some folks have indicated they may not be able to make this meeting but are still interested in future meetings.)

Agenda/Goals (this first meeting will be organizational in nature, all you need to read is this email!)


Who we are

How we became interested in mountain books

What we’ve enjoyed reading

Where we find our books

Do you consider yourself a collector or casual reader?


Decide on what to read, perhaps select first three titles

Decide on frequency of meetings (monthly?)

Select next date options (will need to confirm with Library)

(Please send me other thoughts you may have for our agenda. Thanks!)

Library rules – Non-alcoholic drinks are okay.

We should remove our own trash. (Leave no trace!)

The library has just installed a new carpet so they’d like to keep it as clean as possible.

I plan to arrive about 6:45pm to set up tables and chairs.

Feel free to forward this announcement to anyone you think may be interested. I look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible!

Cheers, Greg

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