NOBA Medallion

Winners of the 2007
National Outdoor Book Awards











 Outdoor Literature Category

BackcastWinner.  Backcast: Fatherhood, Fly-fishing, and a River Journey Through the Heart of Alaska.  By Lou Ureneck.  St. Martins Press, New York.  ISBN 9780312371517.
Backcast plays out like the long and splendid arc of a fly line, unfurling on an Alaskan river trip that Lou Ureneck has arranged to re-connect with his son.  As the trip progresses, Ureneck reflects back on his own life while adroitly capturing the sometimes hilarious and sometimes serious interactions between himself and his son.  The result is a realistic and heartwarming story of a father and his son—and a work of outdoor literature of the highest order.

Blue HorizonWinner.  Blue Horizons: Dispatches from Distant Seas.  By Beth A. Leonard.  International Marine/McGraw-Hill, Camden, ME.  ISBN 9780071479585.
This is a beautifully written series of vignettes about life and the sea.  You'll follow along, experiencing the ebb and flow, as Beth Leonard and her partner Evans Starzinger travel from port to port, and through calm and storm, on their six-year, 50,000-mile voyage from one end of the world to the other.

 History/Biography Category

The   Very Hard Way Winner.  The Very Hard Way: Bert Loper and the Colorado River.  By Brad Dimock.  Fretwater Press, Flagstaff, AZ.  ISBN  9781892327697.
Brad Dimock tackled this book like a tough rapid where success is uncertain.  Not only did he come through intact as an author, but he produced a marvelous work, certainly registering among the most creative of outdoor biographies.  The subject of the book is Bert Loper, a legendary Colorado River boatman who died on the river at 80-years old while oaring his own boat.  Loper, however, wasn't the easiest subject to write about.  He was an ordinary person, not particularly educated, never quite successful at anything, even at building a proper river boat.  Yet Dimock artfully combines his own exhaustive research with interviews, first-person stories, letters, and Loper's own writing to fashion an absorbing portrait of his life. 

Forever on the Mountain
Winner.  Forever on the Mountain: The Truth Behind One of Mountaineering's Most Controversial and Mysterious Disasters.  By James M. Tabor.  W. W. Norton & Company, New York.  ISBN 9780393061741.
In 1967, a storm with winds of unimaginable ferocity caught seven climbers high on the slopes of Alaska's Mt. McKinley.  When a rescue was finally mounted over a week later, all seven were dead.  What actually happened and why so many died in one of North America's worst mountaineering disasters is still debated to this day.  James Tabor's Forever on the Mountain sheds a new light on the tragedy.  In addition to his extensive investigative work, Tabor is an outstanding story teller, and once started, this is a book that is hard to put down. 

 Natural History Literature

Sky Time

Winner.   Sky Time in Gray's River:  Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place.  By Robert Michael Pyle.  Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.  ISBN 978039582812.
In this beautifully designed, hand-sized volume, Robert Michael Pyle describes his life in the little, out-of-the-way village of Gray's River in southwest Washington.  He follows the lives of his neighbors—birds, butterflies, cats and people—season by season, over a thirty year period.  His keen curious eye and generous whimsical spirit combine with his gifts as a writer to make a lovely meditation on one's own backyard.

Last Stand
Honorable Mention.  Last Stand:  George Bird Grinnell, the Battle to Save the Buffalo, and the Birth of the New West.  By Michael Punke.  Smithsonian Books, New York.  ISBN 9780060897826.
Last Stand is an engrossing story about the destruction of the great buffalo herds.  It's an all too familiar story of greed and arrogance, but Michael Punke explores a little known part of that history—that of the contributions of conservationist George Grinnell.  Colorful and imminently readable, the book helps establish Grinnell's place among the leaders of America's conservation movement.

 Nature & the Environment Category

CondorsWinner.   Condors in Canyon Country: The Return of the California Condor to the Grand Canyon Region.  By Sophie A. H. Osborn.  Grand Canyon Association, Grand Canyon, AZ.  ISBN 9780938216988.
It's impossible to page through this book without catching Sophie Osborn's passion for the condor.  It's a passion that runs deep for her, for she was one of the scientists who played a role in the successful effort to return this magnificent bird to the Grand Canyon area.  The book's intelligent design backed up by Osborn's superb photographs combine to create the perfect vehicle to celebrate this environmental success story.

White Paradise
Winner  White Paradise:  Journeys to the North Pole.  By Francis Latreille.  Abrams, New York.  ISBN 9780810930940.
This lavish, large format volume by French adventurer and photojournalist, Francis Latreille unveils the Arctic hinterlands like no other.  Introductory text covers expeditions, research and the peoples of the North, but mostly Latreille shows us the Arctic—and the effects of global warming—through a stunning collection of photographs.

 Design & Artistic Merit 

Yosemite 1960s
Winner.   Yosemite in the Sixties.  Photographs by Glen Denny.  Essays by Kevin Starr, Steve Roper and Glen Denny.  Patagonia and T. Adler Books, Santa Barbara, CA.  ISBN 0979064909.
This is Yosmite in the golden age: the big walls, the climbing action, the quiet times, the high times, the whole gamut of life and rock.  Glen Denny, no slouch as a climber himself, was the era's premier photographer.  The book's crisp and clear, black and white reproductions are perfectly complemented by insightful essays by Denny, Steve Roper and Kevin Starr.  Yosemite in the 1960s ushered in a period of fast-paced growth, advancing technique, and a lifestyle of total commitment.  Thankfully Glen Denny was there to capture it.

Arctic Wings
Winner   Arctic Wings:  Birds of the Artic National Wildlife Refuge.  Edited by Stephen Brown.  The Mountaineers Books, Seattle.  ISBN 0898869765.
Arctic Wings establishes a new benchmark in the art and literature of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  This is not only a book of exceptional photography, but it also includes solid and factual information, along with a series of essays by noted biologists and conservationists.  Topping off this stylish, impressively designed book is an included CD of the birdsongs of the refuge.

 Children's Category

Winner.    Peak.  By Roland Smith.  Harcourt, Orlando, FL.  ISBN 9780152024178.
This novel for teens is about a boy who joins his father to climb the highest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest.  If he makes it, he'll be the youngest person to reach the summit.  It's a fast-paced story that ranges from the hustle and bustle of New York to the great, high plateau of Tibet.  Does he make it?  There's only way to find out.

 Outdoor Adventure Guidebooks

Grand Canyon River Guide
Winner. Guide to the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.  By Tom Martin and Duwain Whitis.  Vishnu Temple Press, Flagstaff, AZ.  ISBN 9780977674985.
For whitewater river runners, the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon is the pinnacle experience.  Now there's a river map and guide to match that reputation.  It's built upon a series of 7.5 minute topographic maps, correctly oriented and large enough to read easily from the seat of your boat.  Outstanding cartographical work combined with accurate descriptions of rapids, camps and landmarks make this the state-of-the-art of river guides.

 Instructional Category

Mt Bike
Winner  The Complete Mountain Biking Manual.  By Tim Brink.  Ragged Mountain Press, Camden, ME.  ISBN 9780071493901.
One look at this book and you'll want to grab your bike and head for the trail.  Colorful, comprehensive and competently written, the Complete Mountain Biking Manual lives up to its title.

 Nature Guidebook Category

Birds of N South America
Winner.  Birds of Northern South America: An Identification Guide.  By Robin Restall, Clemencia Rodner and Miguel Lentino.  Yale University Press, New Haven and A & C Black, London.  ISBN 9780300108620.
This remarkable work consists of two volumes: the first with written descriptions of the birds, and the second with color plates portraying over 2,300 species in almost every distinct plumage.  Quite simply, Birds of Northern South America is a tour de force

 Classic Category

North American Trees
Outdoor Classic Award.  A Natural History of North American Trees.  By Donald Culross Peattie.  Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.  ISBN 9780618799046.
Donald Culross Peattie died in 1964, but he left us with the classical work on trees.  His Natural History is not a field identification guide, but rather it goes far deeper.  Through a lovely and poetic series of essays, Peattie describes the very essence of trees and our relationship with them.  Each chapter covers a different tree, ranging from the sequoias to the pines to the hard woods—his rich descriptions exciting our imagination and reminding us of their utility and beauty.

 Work of Significance

Connecticut Walk Book
Work of Significance Award.  Connecticut Walk Book: The Guide to the Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails of Western Connecticut.  Edited Ann T. Colson.  Connecticut Forest and Park Association, Rockfall, CN  06481.  ISBN 0961905263.

No doubt about it.  The Connecticut Walk Book is among the top tier of long-standing, tried-and-true guidebooks.  With map accuracy assured by global positioning, and trail descriptions backed-up by the work of an army of volunteers, this is one dependable book.  Guidebooks aren't any more comprehensive and useful than this.


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. 

End of Listing: 2007 National Outdoor Book Awards



Natalie Bartley, Boise, ID
Idaho Outdoors columnist for the Idaho Statesman, adjunct faculty at Boise State University, certified Nordic ski instructor, and active member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.  Doctorate in Recreation and Leisure Services from University of Utah.

Jeffrey S. 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.  Author of The Gardener's Hummingbird Book.  Regular columnist for Outdoor News.  Contributor of articles to local, regional and national nature and bird-oriented publications.

Dave Devoe, Walhalla, SC
Vice President and co-founder of specializing in maps and outdoor and travel books.  Licensed South Carolina and Georgia geologist.  Former environmental geology consultant.

Susanne Dubrouillet, State College, PA
Program Director at Penn State University Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.  Oversees wilderness orientation programs, teaches adventure programming and outdoor leadership courses and directs community service orientation programs.  Past program director with Clemson University's Clemson Expeditions. Masters of Education in Outdoor Education.

Laura Erickson, Duluth, MN. 
Ornithologist (1,000 birds on her life list), contributing writer for Minneapolis Star-Tribune and The Country Today.  Winner of the 1997 National Outdoor Book Award for her work Sharing the Wonder of Birds with Kids—and Dave Barry's bird and tapeworm advisor.

Liam Guilar, Queensland, Australia
Writer, poet, musician and whitewater kayaker.   Has made the first kayaking forays into Soviet Central Asia.  Liam's reading material on kayaking outings has known to include Beowulf, Paston Letters, and nineteenth century novels.

Steve Guthrie, Lock Haven, PA
Assistant Professor in Outdoor Recreation Management at Lock Haven University.  Former President, of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.  Journal Advisory Board for Journal of Experiential Education.  Former outdoor program coordinator, University of Nebraska at Omaha.  Co-author of Outdoor Recreation in America.

Jim Fullerton, Pocatello, ID
Former Outdoor Program Director at University of Nebraska.  Past President of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.  Current Leadership Program Director at Idaho State University.

Dale Harrington, Boone, NC
Biology instructor at Caldwell Community College.  Trip leader and naturalist 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.

Paul Kallmes, Oak Park, CA
Editor of  Summit: The Photographs of Vittorio Sella, 1879-1909. Organized a subsequent  photographic exhibition of Sella's mountain photography.  Leader of the 1998 Siniolchu Himalayan Expedition.  For 10 years has been the "art guy" at the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival.

Rodney Ley, Fort Collins, CO
Director for Outdoor Adventure, Campus Recreation at Colorado State University.  Columnist for local Gannett newspaper, ten years of retail outdoor experience and founder of a backcountry ski yurt system.

John Miles, Bellingham, WA
Director of the Center for Geography and Environmental Social Sciences, Huxley College, Western Washington State.  Executive Editor of the Journal of Environmental Education.  Author/Editor (North Cascades, Guardians of the Parks, and Adventure Education, etc.).

James Moss, Littleton, CO
Editor, Outdoor Recreation & Fitness Law Review.  Outdoor Industry Attorney, author (Lawyer's Adviser), organizes outdoor liability workshops for such groups as the Western River Guides, Boy Scouts of America, Wilderness Education Association and federal land agencies.

Tom Mullin, Unity ME
Fellow of the National Association for Interpretation and currently on its Board of Directors. Assistant Professor of Park, Recreation and Ecotourism at Unity College in Maine. Consultant for a series of twenty Time-Life nature books. 1987 Thru-hiker of the 2,100+ mile Appalachian Trail.

Jim Paruk, Ashland, WI.
Professor of Biology at Northland College.  Doctoral dissertation on the behavioral ecology of the Common Loon. Author of Sierra Nevada: Tree Identifier and is currently working on a collection of nature writings.

Tammie L. Stenger, Bowling Green, KY
Assistant Professor of Leisure Studies at Western Kentucky University.  Teaches outdoor leadership and outdoor education courses.  Board member of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.

Ann Weiler Walka, Flagstaff, AZ
Poet and a naturalist guide on the Colorado Plateau. Leads backcountry trips for the Museum of Northern Arizona and teaches art and writing workshops for the Museum, Northern Arizona University and outdoor education centers.  Author of several works including Waterlines: Journeys on a Desert River.

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).

Melanie Wulf, Geneva, IL
Full-time mom. Former director of the Outdoor Program at Texas Tech University in Lubbock (5 years).  Presently working in outdoor retail at REI-Oakbrook.  Masters in Outdoor Education (Northern Illinois University).


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