NOBA Medallion

  Winners of the 1999
  National Outdoor Book Awards











 History/Biography Category

Cover: One Man's Wilderness
Winner. One Man's Wilderness:  An Alaskan Odyssey
By Sam Keith from the journals of Richard Proenneke.  Published by Alaska Northwest Books.

Lots of books have been published about intrepid souls who head off into the wilderness, build their own cabin, and live a life removed from civilization.  But if you were to pick one which comes closest to truly describing that experience, this is the book.  Richard Proenneke has a refreshingly simple and wonderful outlook on life, and like the warmth from a potbelly wood stove, you can't help but be drawn to him and his engaging story.  You'll be there right alongside him on the shore of Twin Lakes, helping him carve out a masterpiece of a cabin, and then settling in with him for a full and introspective life in the Alaskan bush.

 Nature & Environment Category

Cover: Washington's Mount RainierWinner. Washington's Mount Rainier National Park: A Centennial Celebration.  By Tim McNulty.  Photographs by Pat O'Hara.  Published by The Mountaineers Books.

Mount Rainier, published on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the park, is an absolutely stunning book filled with breathtaking photography.  Large format books are often accompanied by dull, inane text, but not this one.  The mountain and its surrounding environment are described in beautiful, heart-felt prose.  A sensitive and synchronous collaboration between writer, photographer and publisher, this books succeeds wonderfully.  Every sacred mountain should have its story so handsomely told.

Cover: Islands of HopeWinner.  Islands of Hope:  Lessons from North America's Great Wildlife Sanctuaries  By Phillip Manning.  Published by John F. Blair. 

Naturalist Phillip Manning visits ten wildlife preserves in four North American countries, investigating the animals and ecosystems that the sanctuaries protect.  In a simple and understanding style, Manning helps readers learn how refuges work, their history and the challenges facing them.  There is caution, of course, in the book's message, but mostly the message is of abiding hope for the future.

 Outdoor Adventure Guidebooks

Cover: America's 100 Best Trout Streams

Winner.  Trout Unlimited's Guide to America's 100 Best Trout Streams  By John Ross.  Jeff Wincapaw, Art Director. Published by Falcon Publishing and Trout Unlimited.

These are the streams that fire an angler's imagination: 100 of them in 30 states across the US, voted the best places to catch trout by members of Trout Unlimited.  The writing in this well organized guide is strong, lively and stylish.  It makes you want to grab your rod and hit the road. 

Cover: Winter TrailsHonorable Mention.  Vermont and New Hampshire Winter Trails  By Marty Basch.  Published by The Globe Pequot Press.

Designed for all levels, from consummate winter recreational skiers and snowshoers to beginners and families, Winter Trails covers the best places to snowshoe and cross-country ski in Vermont and New Hampshire.

 Nature Guidebook Category

Cover: Scats & TracksWinner.  Scats and Tracks of the Rocky Mountains: A Field Guide to the Signs of 70 Wildlife Species By James Halfpenny, Ph.D.  Illustrated by Todd Telander and Designed by Dana Kim-Wincapaw.  Published by Falcon Publishing. 

In this book, conveniently sized to fit in the back pocket, nationally renowned tracker, Dr. James Halfpenny helps decipher the signs left behind by mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.  The 145-page guide is a real bargain and includes clear and understandable drawings and concise descriptions of the scats, tracks and gait patterns of 70 Rocky Mountain species.

 Instructional Category 

Cover: Extreme Alpinism
Winner. Extreme Alpinism: Climbing Light, Fast and High By Mark F. Twight and James Martin.  Published by The Mountaineers Books.

In both temperament and content, this book is a clear departure from past instructional texts in mountaineering and outdoor texts in general.  Directed to accomplished climbers, this a master class for those who risk it all by venturing into some of the most dangerous places in the world.  Content of the class: character, attitude, training, fitness, nutrition, clothing, equipment and technique.  Class instructional aids: well designed book with graphic and dramatic color photographs throughout.

 Design & Artistic Merit

Cover: Wildflowers

Winner.  Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail.
By Leonard Adkins.  Photographs by Joe and Monica Cook.  Grant M. Tatum, Creative Director. Published by Menasha Ridge Press.

From a practical standpoint, this book is a field identification guide of the flora of the 2,100-mile Appalachian trail--and an excellent one at that.  But it is much more than a guidebook.  It is a work of art and a feast for the eyes.  Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail is designed with grace and elegance and filled with exquisite, full-page color photographs.  It is rare to find a guidebook where every photograph is perfect, but this is one.  If you're hiking or traveling in the Appalachian country, this is one book that you don't want to be without.

Cover: Spotted BearHonorable Mention.   Spotted Bear: A Rocky Mountain Folktale By Hanneke Ippisch. Illustrated by Hedvig Rappe-Flowers.  Designed by Kim Ericsson. Kathleen Ort, Editor-in-Chief.  Published by Mountain Press Publishing. 

This enchanting children's book is the story of how bears, some bears, at least, get their spots.  It is a wonderfully designed book and beautifully illustrated with Hedvig Rappe-Flowers' rich and colorful paintings.  For young children—and adults too—it is certain to provoke wonder and excitement.

 Children's Category

Cover: Inuksuk

Winner.  The Inuksuk Book. Text and illustrations by Mary Wallace.  Published by Greey de Pencier Books (Owl Books).

An Inuksuk is a stone structure, a type of road sign, used by the Inuits of the Arctic to communicate important information.  They show the way when travelers are a long way from home, or warn of dangerous places, or point to a place of reverence.  This 64-page book, which will intrigue children of the pre-teen years, consists of a series of short stories about the Inuksuk and its importance in the Inuit culture.

 Outdoor Literature Category

Cover: Lost River

Winner.  The Lost River:  A Memoir of Life, Death, and Transformation on Wild Water  By Richard Bangs.  Published by Sierra Club Books in conjunction with Random House. 

Since the early 1970s, Richard Bangs has been in the vanguard of river exploration.  He is particularly known for his bold ventures deep into the recesses of Africa.  In nearly a dozen books, Bangs has written of his experiences, but in this book we see and learn more of him than ever before.  Primarily this book is about his 1996 pioneering run of Ethiopia's Tekeze River, but the most interesting and telling part of the story is the long, and sometimes tragic, path which led him there. 

 Outdoor Classic Award

Cover: Cache Lake Country

Winner. Cache Lake Country:  Life in the North Woods  By John J. Rowlands with illustrations by Henry B. Kane.  Published by The Countryman Press.

This book, first published in 1947, carries the reader back to an earlier, simpler time in the twentieth century.  It's about John Rowland's life on Cache Lake, a lake located in forests of northern Ontario reached only by canoe.  Rowlands writes of the seasons, the wildlife, and his explorations with nearby northwoods neighbors including a Cree Indian chief and an artist.  The book is interspersed with descriptions and drawings of Rowland's hand-made backwoods inventions and woodcraft projects of all manner and shape.  Full of a down-to-earth eloquence and commonsensical backcountry wisdom, it's a cozy and heartwarming book to curl up with.

 Works of Significance

Covers: Works of Significance

Although the following books entered in this year's contest were not selected as winners, the judges wanted to recognize their value and importance in the outdoor field.  All of them have gone through multiple editions and printings.  And all are tried-and-true books which have done much to make outdoor skills, techniques and the outdoor experience more understandable. 


Walking Softy in the Wilderness: The Sierra Club Guide to Backpacking by John Hart.  Literate, environmentally sensitive, and chocked full of valuable advice, John Hart's book is one of the finest texts ever published on backpacking. 

Kayaking: An Animated Guide of Intermediate and Advanced Whitewater Technique by William Nealy.  Quirky, creative, humorous, and uncommonly useful, this is a classic in the whitewater kayaking world. 

How to Rock Climb by John Long.  Now in its third edition, John Long's plain-speaking book remains the standard text of rock climbing technique. 

Expedition Kayaking by Derek Hutchinson.  Thirty-year sea kayaking veteran and inveterate expeditioner, Derek Hutchinson, tells how it's done in this, the fourth edition of his colorful and eminently instructive book. 

Cowstails and Cobras II: A Guide to Games, Initiatives, Ropes Courses, & Adventure Curriculum by Karl Rohnke.  Penned by one the great innovators of the experiential education field and stuffed to the brim with adventure games and initiatives, this immensely resourceful book is an outdoor education classic. 

End of Listing: 1999 National Outdoor Book Awards



Jerry Dixon, Seward, AK
Biologist, former smokejumper, guide, author (South Fork of the Salmon: Wild and Free), teacher of gifted children, and Alaska's Christa McAuliffe Fellow.

Laura Erickson, Duluth, MN. 
Ornithologist (600 birds on her life list), contributing writer for Minneapolis Star-Tribune and Northlife Magazine.  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.

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

Steve Guthrie, Unity ME
Associate Professor in Outdoor Recreation at Unity College. Former Board member of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.

Kristin Hostetter, Portland, OR
Equipment Editor for Backpacker Magazine.  Outdoor Columnist for Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and soon to undertake her greatest adventure: motherhood.

C.J. King, Carbondale, CO
Product Developer for North Face, Inc. Former guide and facilitator for the Road Less Traveled, an Illinois program providing wilderness experiences for teens. Trip coordinator for Miami University Outdoor Program in Oxford, Ohio.

Rodney Ley, Fort Collins, CO
Coordinator of the Outdoor Adventure Program at Colorado State University.  Has also worked in outdoor retail (10 years) and is the former owner of a backcountry yurt system.

Rich Martin, Los Angeles, CA
 Journalist.  Outdoor Book Columnist for the LA Daily News.  Editor with the Creative Planet.  Winner of several Associated Press honors.  Presently at work on a novel and screenplay.

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, Lakewood, CO
Outdoor Industry Attorney, author (Lawyer's Adviser), organizes outdoor liability workshops for such groups as the Western River Guides, Professional Paddlesports Association, Boy Scouts of America, Wilderness Education Association and federal land agencies. 

Jim Paruk, Quincy, CA. 
Professor of Biology at Feather River College, California.  Doctoral work on the Common Loon. Author of Sierra Nevada: Tree Identifier.  Currently working on a collection of nature writings.

Mark Reynolds, Oklahoma City, OK
Publisher of Adventure Travel Magazine.  Owner of Wilderness Expeditions, International.  Former outdoor education professor at Mid America Bible College.

Rick Silverman, Telluride, CO 
Director of the venerable Telluride Mountainfilm Festival.

Ann Weiler Walka, Flagstaff, AZ
Naturalist and guide for the Museum of Northern Arizona, Canyonlands Field Institute, and Four Corners School.  Writer and nature poet (Waterlines: Journeys on a Desert River).

Jerry Watt, Kent, WA
Product Manager and national book buyer for REI.  Jerry tracks 3,021 outdoor books and maps at 50 REI stores and has a book budget of over $9,000,000.

Ron Watters, Pocatello, ID 
Chairman, National Outdoor Book Awards.  Author of seven 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.  Has also worked in outdoor retail.  Holds a Masters in Outdoor Education from Northern Illinois University


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