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Classic Book Bibliography: Timeless Classics by Roger Hahn

One of the most common questions that I get as Editor of BoundaryWatersMagazine.com is about my favorite Canoe Country book or good books to read about the area. Since many of you are contemplating a trip right now I thought I'd share my list of favorites with you this month so you can enjoy them between actual trips or have one to take along in your pack.

Please note that many of these books are "classics" and may be a bit of a challenge to find. By using the internet, large book stores and our local book stores you should be able to find a copy of them.

  • Sig Olson wrote an entire series of great "philosophical" books on our wonderful region; Of Time and Place, Reflections from the North Country, The Singing Wilderness and The Lonely Land are some of them. There is also a collected works edition which is a good one to take in your pack. Published by Alfred Knopf.

  • A Wonderful Country, The Quetico-Superior Stories of Bill Magee, published by the Sig Olson Environmental Institute. Amazing stories of a real wilderness man.

  • Woman of the Boundary Waters, by Justine Kerfoot (of the Gunflint Lodge), Women's Times Publishing. Written by my neighbor who was a true pioneer.

  • Boundary Waters, The Grace of the Wild, Paul Gruchow. Called a "modern day Walden Pond".

  • Loon Magic, by Tom Klein, Northwoods Press. The real scoop on these magical birds of the Canoe Country.

  • Minimum Impact Camping, A Basic Guide, Schatz and Seemon, Adventure Publications. Everyone should read and observe these techniques.

  • North Writers, A Strong Woods Collection, and North Writers II, by John Hendrickson (editor), University of Minnesota Press. The best of the areas best writers.

  • Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Volumes 1 and 2 (Eastern and Western Regions). A little dated but still the preferred trip planning guides to new routes.Boundary Waters Canoe Area: Eastern Region

  • Bogtrotter, Notes From a Wilderness Cabin, by Richard Coffey, Dorn Books. A real tale of living on the edge of the wilderness.

  • Quetico Provincial Park, An Illustrated History,by Shirley Peruniak, by Friend of the Quetico Park. Shirley has been called the heart and soul of the park and she tells the tale of all our local characters.

  • Once Upon a Wilderness, by Calvin Rutstrum, Macmillan Books. Cal was a pioneer and prolific writer ... and one of my favorites.

  • Soft Paths, How to enjoy the wilderness without harming it, National Outdoor Leadership School, Hampton and Cole. NOLS is the leader in minimal impact camping. No one does it better.

  • Gunflint, Reflections on the Trail, by Justine Kerfoot. Pfeiffer-Hamilton Publishers. Justine's insightful reflections.
  • Cache Lake Country, Life in the Northwoods, by John Rowlands, Lyons and Burford Press. A classic tale of woodcraft and the ways of the wilderness.

  • Mittens in the Boundary Waters, Larry Ahlman, Kodiak Publishing. A great new book about "Mittens" Perkins who came to the Canoe Country in 1931 to find his way.

  • Curious Visitor's Guide to the Wildlife of the North Woods, Don Grossnickle and Mark Crawford, Backwoods Books. THE best book on the flora and fauna of the Canoe Country. In simple, understandable English! A must for parents, educators and curious folks.

  • Canoe Trails Through the Quetico, by K. Denis, The Quetico Foundation. A good guide to some great routes.

  • A Paddler's Guide to Quetico Provincial Park, Robert Beymer, W.A.Fisher Printing. Another useful guide to new routes.

  • Canoe Country and Snowshoe Country, by Florence Jaques, University of Minnesota Press. Florence wrote a number of classic tales, including these.
  • Portage Into the Past, By Canoe along the Minnesota-Ontario Boundary Waters, J. Arnold Bolz, University of Minnesota Press. This one started it all for me.

  • Lob Trees in the Wilderness, Clifford and Isabel Ahlgren, University of Minnesota Press. Great history of our controversial area.

  • Canoe Country Wilderness, A Guide's Canoe Trails Through the BWCA andn Quetico, William Rom, Voyageur Press. Another classic.

 


  • The Spirit of Canoe Camping, A Handbook for Wilderness Canoeists, Harry Drabik, Nodin Press. Like a beginner's guide. Simple and easy even if a bit dated.

  • The Basic Essentials of Canoeing and The NEW Wilderness Canoeing and Camping and Canoeing Wild Rivers, by Cliff Jacobson, ICS Books. Just a couple of Cliff's great books.

  • The Back-Country Kitchen, Camp Cooking for Canoeists, Hikers, and Anglers, and The Seasonal Cabin Cookbook, by Teresa Marrone. My webmaster and the author of many great outdoor and cooking books.

  • Be Expert with Map and Compass, by Bjorn Kjellstrom, Scribners Books. This is it. THE book to teach you how to read a map and compass.

  • The Wolf, The Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species, L. David Mech, University of Minnesota Press. Fascinating!

  • Canoeing with the Cree, by Eric Sevareid, Minnesota Historical Society. Not about the BWCA but simply one you must read if you are into canoeing ... or adventure. The quintessential classic.

  • Gunflint Territory, by Jay Steinke, Tea Table books. THE book I have on my coffee table.

  • A Boundary Waters Fishing Guide, by Michael Furtman, Northword Press. This is the one book you must have. Take it along and catch more fish.

  • Magic on the Rocks, by Michael Furtman, Birch Portage Press. The answer to you burning pictograph questions.

  • The Boundary Waters Wilderness Ecosystem, by Miron Heinselman, University of Minnesota Press. Beautiful coffee table book which tells it all.

  • Northwoods Fish Cookery, by Ron Berg, University of Minnesota Press. My neighbor Ron and some great recipes and tips!

  • Canoe Country Camping, by Michael Furtman, Pfeiffer-Hamilton Publishing. Up to date and useful advice.

  • Canoe Country Wildlife, by Mark Stensass,Pfieffer-Hamilton Publishing. Greqt book for idenitfying plants and animals.

  • How to Shit in the Woods, by Kathleen Meyer, Ten Speed Press. Sounds awful but a great book on proper wilderness toilet habits. Something we can all do better to aid water quality in our wilderness areas.

This list should keep you busy for sometime. Be sure to pack your books in a tight zip-lock bag and care for them properly. You can pass them on to the next generation of paddlers.

 

       --article courtesy of BoundaryWatersMagazine
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