Selected Articles

Since I started freelancing in 1980, I’ve written more articles for magazines, journals, newspapers, Alternet and other online pubs, brochures, handouts, and fly-by-night alternative rags than anyone would want to read. Below are some that don’t cause me to cringe uncontrollably upon re-reading. My focus even in travel articles has been wildlife, biodiversity, habitat loss, the value of old-growth forests against climate change, carbon forestry, respect for and reciprocity with nature, the incalculable value and basic misunderstanding of public lands as a commons, the stupidity of historical land use and its consequences today, and how we don’t learn from history. Every year it gets harder to be hopeful.
Featured: Old, broken-down pig fence in snowy woods

Forest Forensics: Clues in the woods to historic crimes against nature, and the consequences today

“Forest Forensics” was first published in October of 2019 in Blue Ridge Outdoors Online then republished in Rewilding Earth in February 2020.   “There are no bodies, no police tape, no cluster of curious onlookers. Yet there is plenty of evidence of a historic ecological crime: the deforestation of the eastern United States and consequent massive loss of topsoil. It began slowly at Jamestown and culminated quickly just a century ago in the Appalachian Mountains. Archives document the destruction of virtually all of the vast […]
Feature: Seeing the Forest for the Carbon - Full Page

Seeing the Forest for the Carbon

“Old growth is critical for biodiversity from amphibians and aquatic organisms, to entire suites of terrestrial species.” – J.D. Kleopfer “Seeing the Forest for the Carbon” was published in Virginia Wildlife Magazine, March/April 2018. It won a prize in the 2019  Virginia Outdoor Writers Assn. Excellence in Craft Contest.  “Like most small woodland owners, according to the National Woodland Owners Survey, I love the scenic beauty and the wildlife of my forested acreage. And like most woodland owners, I’d love to earn […]
Featured: Hunting Stand

Becoming Appalachian

An identity crisis at my age?  “Becoming Appalachian” was first published in the Winter/Spring, 2011, issue of Appalachian Journal, then reprinted with photos in poet and naturalist Dave Bonta’s Blog, via negativa, July 2011. “The Fall, 2010 issue of Appalachian Journal, which focused on regional identity, hit me where it hurts: in my self-proclaimed, hardly-won, and wholly un-censused identity as Appalachian. Because nowhere in seventy pages of scholarly surveys, speculations, and definitions could I find myself. Researchers reach out to fourth generation descendants born in industrial cities far […]
Featured: Madison Magazine Cover - A Bend in the River - Full Page

A Bend in the River

“A Bend in the River” was published in Madison, The Magazine of James Madison University, summer 2007. “In May 2003, several JMU professors and students formed the core of the first annual expedition known as The Shenandoah Sojourn. ‘It was an attempt to build a community around water,’ says Tom Benzing, pro­fessor of environmental toxicology in JMU’s integrated science and technology department, and the science leader of what was surely the wettest group of rafters ever to float down the […]
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Contemplating a Cougar Comeback: a Bioregional Venture into Carnivore Country

“Contemplating a Cougar Comeback:  a Bioregional Venture into Carnivore Country” was published in Orion Afield, winter 2000-01. “‘So THE MORAL OF THE STORY,’ said wildlife tracking instructor Susan Morse, ‘is always save some of your shit.’ We clustered around her to gaze at the item under discussion, which looked like a hairy Tootsie Roll. White petals of wild cherry blossoms flurried around us. Despite the mid-April date of this tracking workshop, snow lurked in the clouds and the wind. We hoped […]
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Daniel Boone Slept Here

“Daniel Boone Slept Here” was published in Sierra Magazine, January/February 2000. “Legend has it that Daniel Boone was asked if he had ever been lost during his decades of exploring uncharted wilderness. ‘No,’ replied America’s quintes­sential pioneer, ‘but I was plumb bewildered for a few days once.’ It could easily have been in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge. A dendritic maze of red sandstone canyons, the gorge would look like Utah if it weren’t almost swallowed by a lush hardwood forest. […]
Featured: In Search of Your Own Private Idaho - Full Page

In Search of Your Own Private Idaho

“In Search of Your Own Private Idaho” was published in the New York Times, August 21, 1994. DEFENDING our territory – a fir­needle-strewn campsite near a lake – wasn’t what my husband and I had in mind for our trip last August to the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho, at 2.4 million acres the largest chunk of protect­ed wild land in the contiguous United States. Yet there we were in a backpacker’s stand­off. It was a […]
Featured: The Great Forest - Full Page

The Great Forest

“The Great Forest” was published in the Wilderness Magazine, spring 1994. “Rage is not the politically correct emo­tion to feel in an old growth forest. Awe, veneration, respect, humility­, these are expected. But I want to pummel the furrowed bark with my fists, stamp my feet on the moldy ground, scream into the dappling canopy. I want to weep. The thought of the forests lost, fragmented, and de­graded throughout the east only an eyeblink ago, during the logging booms of […]
Featured: A Yukon Fish Camp for Visitors - Full Page

A Yukon Fish Camp for Visitors

“A Yukon Fish Camp for Visitors” was published in the The New York Times, August 29, 1993. “MY husband, Ralph, and I were on the banks of the Yukon Riv­er 1,500 miles from its source in Canada and 800 miles from its mouth at the Bering Sea. Surrounding us were hundreds of fish hang­ing on drying racks scattered through a thin grove of cottonwood trees. The filleted flesh lapped in waves along the fish spines and glowed in the sun […]
Featured: Photo of a wild mountain lion - Shutterstock

The Lure of the Lion

“The Lure of the Lion” was published in the The Washington Post, June 13, 1993. “I aimed the cross hairs precisely between the mountain lion’s golden eyes. She was gazing di­rectly at me from 40 feet up in aponderosa pine, draped along a stout branch, her expression grave but sleepy. She snarled once at the dogs yapping below, then put her head on her paws and blinked her eyes as if she could hardly keep them open. Perfectly framed by […]
Featured: Wilderness Society cover - Full Page

Concepts of Cougar

“Concepts of Cougar” was published in the Wilderness Magazine, summer 1991. “In the beginning was the lion. Images of leonine power are as ancient as the first scratchings on cave walls and as ambigu­ous as the Sphinx. Lions roam through the Bible, emissaries sometimes of God, sometimes of the Devil. From Aristotle’s attempts at empirical description to the fanciful symbolism of medieval bestiarists, the lion embodied both the noblest and the most savage traits of humankind. Lions had been gone […]
Featured: Yogaville retreat, photo by Kimono Loco is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

In Rural Virginia, Yogaville is Simply Divine

“In Rural Virginia, Yogaville is Simply Divine” was published in the The Washington Post, June 24, 1990. “The shrine is shaped like a flower, but it pokes up from the meadow like the tip of a giant thumb. Huge pink petals, made of hundreds of thousands of tiny Italian tiles in shades ranging from white to rise, clasp a sky-blue dome that is crowned with a golden spire. At its base, a waterfall crashes, just loud enough to cover the […]
Featured - Defenders cover 1989

Unearthing Salamander Secrets

“Unearthing Salamander Secrets” was published in the Defenders of Wildlife, September/October 1989. “LONG associated with the clammy clutter in the pockets of small boys, salamanders are hard to glamorize. After all, they do live un­der rocks. They have names like ‘slimy’ and ‘shovelnose’ for reasons entirely deserved. Even scientific in­terest has been prejudiced. Writing about the class Amphibia to which salamanders belong, the great taxon­omist Carolus Linnaeus in his 1758 Systema Naturae called them ‘foul and loathsome animals … abhorrent […]
Featured: A Case of Eastern Old-Growth - Full Page

The Case for Eastern Old-Growth

“The Case for Eastern Old-Growth” was published in American Forests, May/June 1989. This is the first article to raise the issue of new old-growth in the formerly deforested East. “Long enough ago that only old people can remember it, the last of the great eastern forest was felled. Lumbermen sawed first through the Northeast. Then they cut through the Lake States and southward, shearing the last ridgetops and skinning the remote ravines that settlers hadn’t bothered with. Oh, they left […]