A Year in the Wilderness: Bearing Witness in the Boundary Waters

A Year in the Wilderness: Bearing Witness in the Boundary Waters

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Named one of 20 Big Indie Books of Fall 2017 by Publishers Weekly
Featured by the Wall Street Journal
Winner of the Midwest Book Award

From National Geographic’s 2014 Adventurers of the Year, a beautifully illustrated account of a year in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Since its establishment as a federally protected wilderness in 1964, the Boundary Waters has been recognized as one of our nation’s natural treasures. And yet the struggle to preserve the vitality of this exceptionally beautiful and fragile place goes on.

When Amy and Dave Freeman learned of toxic mining proposed within the area’s watershed, they decided to take action—by spending a year in the wilderness, and sharing their experience through video, photos, and blogs with an audience of hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens. This book tells the deeper story of their adventure in northern Minnesota: of loons whistling under a moonrise, of ice booming as it forms and cracks, of a moose and her calf swimming across a misty lake.

With the magic—and urgent message—that has rallied an international audience to the campaign to save the Boundary Waters, A Year in the Wilderness is a rousing cry of witness activism and a stunning tribute to this special region.


Praise for A Year in the Wilderness

Named One of Twenty Big Indie Books of Fall 2017 by 
Publishers Weekly
Featured in the 
Wall Street Journal

“For 365 days in 2015 and 2016, the Freemans lived in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, paddling a canoe or towing a toboggan from campsite to campsite. They fell through the ice. They were trailed by wolves. They drank from the lakes. Mostly, they bore witness.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Gorgeous . . . [the Freemans’] words are complemented by an outstanding selection of photographs that immerse the reader in the watery landscape, making an indelible impact.”
Canoe & Kayak

“Through evocative personal narrative and nature photography, the Freemans . . . speak with a single attentive and amiable voice that centers the joys and challenges of navigating the land and water. . . . Gorgeous color photographs focus on the human experience of being in wilderness and augment a novel work that should draw attention to the plight of the Boundary Waters.”
Publishers Weekly

“The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is among our nation’s great natural treasures. It is also fragile, and increasingly threatened by the prospect of sulfide-ore copper mining. At this moment in our history, when calls are growing to privatize public lands and weaken national parks, adventurers Amy and Dave Freeman spent a year in the Boundary Waters, experiencing its singular beauty and advocating for its preservation. In this extraordinary book, they have done us all an invaluable service, offering a wonderfully compelling testimony for the value of wild places and the creatures who inhabit them. I urge you to read it, and then to join the Freemans in advocating for the preservation of the Boundary Waters.”
―Vice President Walter Mondale

“Recounting their adventure in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Amy and Dave Freeman offer a compelling tale about the beauty as well as the brutal challenges of living a year in this northern wilderness―one of our nation’s very first areas protected by the Wilderness Act of 1964. Their first-hand observations about the wild, the land ethic, and threats to this natural heritage build on a long tradition. Exemplifying a new generation of outdoors writer-adventurers, the Freemans infuse excitement and energy into the wilderness canon crafted by Mardy and Olaus Murie, Sigurd Olson, and other champions in earlier generations who have done so much to protect our wild places by describing them with a keen eye and a passionate heart.”
―Jamie Williams, President, The Wilderness Society

“Here’s the story of a great adventure in one of the planet’s most gorgeous wildernesses―and with high stakes at risk in a fight to stave off a truly gross assault on its integrity. So many reasons to read this book!”
―Bill McKibben, author of Wandering Home

“Although my adventures have taken me to both ends of the earth, I share with Amy and Dave Freeman the same life-affirming natural centerpoint for physical and spiritual sustenance: Minnesota’s Boundary Waters wilderness. While I occasionally get to taste the wonders of this pristine place, they got to live and breathe it for a full year. The depth of their insights in this remarkable book reflects the intensity of their extraordinary experience and their love for this amazing national treasure.”
―Ann Bancroft

“All-in-all this is a fantastic narrative, with something for every outdoor-loving reader. The descriptions of the wilderness in four seasons will make nature-lovers happy. Stories of the gear, sled dogs and camping’s constant problem-solving will please experienced trekkers. And there is a note of nostalgia in the effort, proof that a man and a woman can leave the city behind and make a difference in the world. Amy and Dave Freeman understand something very significant―that an iconic object such as a canoe can make a strong political statement, in this case in opposition to sulfide-ore mining in a pristine wilderness―much like an earlier American hero, Woody Guthrie, used his guitar to fight fascism. This land, they all say, is your land.”
―Mark Neuzil, coauthor of Canoes: A Natural History in North America

About the Author

Amy and Dave Freeman’s expeditions have taken them over thirty thousand miles by canoe, kayak, and dogsled through some of the world’s wildest places, from the Amazon to the Arctic. National Geographic named Amy and Dave Adventurers of the Year in 2014 and their images, videos, and articles have been published by a wide range of media sources from the CBC, NBC, and FOX to the Chicago TribuneNational GeographicOutsideBackpackerCanoe and Kayak, and Minnesota Public Radio.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Milkweed Editions; Reprint edition (August 14, 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1571313710
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1571313713
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.73 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 7 x 0.75 x 9 inches

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