Old Maps

NOBAWinners of the 2007

National Outdoor

Book Awards (NOBA)











Best Book Lists


















Reviews of the Winners of the 

National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA)


The most important book award program in the outdoor field is the National Outdoor Book Awards.  Primarily, awards are given to newly published books, but the program also recognizes past works of unusual importance through a special award called the Classic Award.  Program sponsors include the National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education, and Idaho State University. 


The current winners, listed by award category, are found below:



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.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com




Forever on the MountainWinner.  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.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com


Outdoor Literature Category




Winner.  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.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com



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.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com


Natural History Literature Category



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.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com



Last StandHonorable 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.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com


Outdoor Classic Category


North American TreesWinner.  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.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com


Design /Artistic Merit Category


Yosemite 1960sWinner  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.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com


Arctic WingsWinner.    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.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com



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.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com


Nature and the Environment



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.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com



White ParadiseWinner.   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.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com


Nature Guidebook Category



Birds of N South AmericaWinner.  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.


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com



Instructional  Category


Mt BikeWinner.   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


More Information or Purchase: Amazon.com




Outdoor Adventure Guidebook Category

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.


More Information or Purchase - Direct from the Publisher:  info@vishnutemplepress.com



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