Courtesy of Jeffrey Weise
I don’t know anyone who is a wilderness nut who doesn’t have a favorite wilderness book. Or a shelf full.
Ideas, literature, and wilderness go hand in hand. Books are one of the most important ways the wilderness idea has moved down to us through history. Philosophers and poets have been poking at the ideas, and writers have expanded on what they received. There is a clear and direct line from Henry David Thoreau to John Muir to Aldo Leopold to Edward Abbey to Ellen Meloy, and on to you. I have spent hours at wilderness trailheads, around campfires deep in wild country, and at conferences, talking with strangers, colleagues, and friends about books. A book that I read, a book that they read, or a book that we share together passionately. I put books in the hands of new and returning wilderness rangers and trail crew members, suggest books to wilderness visitors, and I’d like to offer this list to you. This reading list is not definitive. It’s not even definitive for me. If you ask me to put together a reading list next winter, it will look different than this list. But, in honor of and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, here are some books you might consider. There’s no hierarchy here or ranking; I’ve simply listed books alphabetically by author.