An urgent plea by a longtime resident to preserve one of the lower 48's remaining wilderness areas. Nestled where Idaho,...

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THE BOOK OF YAAK

An urgent plea by a longtime resident to preserve one of the lower 48's remaining wilderness areas. Nestled where Idaho, Montana, and Alberta, Canada, meet, the Yaak Valley--the name means ""arrow"" in Kootenai--is a treasure vault of old-growth pine, spruce, and Douglas fir. It is also a prime target for the logging industry, which now seeks to open the Yaak to clearcut logging. Bass (The Lost Grizzlies, 1995, etc.) is scandalized by this possibility, especially inasmuch as the US Forest Service subsidizes such logging ""to the tune of one or two billion dollars per decade"" and ""timber companies working on public lands in the West continue to post record quarterly profits for their stockholders""--precisely because of the government's largess. This well-written, impatient, often polemical book urges that the Yaak, and other wild places, be set aside from economic development, and Bass's program is modest: ""I want,"" he writes, ""the last few roadless areas in this still-wild valley to remain that way."" He also celebrates the power of wilderness to inspire the meditative, simple life: ""I practice going slow,"" he says, ""at a pace that can be sustained. I practice looking around at things."" He also introduces us to neighbors who have found a special solace in the deep woods. Bass argues that most Montanans and Idahoans oppose any further destruction of their backyard wilderness and demonstrates how important old-growth forest is to the health of the entire ecosystem. Much of this will be familiar territory to readers who know Bass's work, for he has written about the Yaak before in books like Winter (1991) and The Ninemile Wolves (1992). Even so, this is a valuable document in the continuing battle over wilderness preservation.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0395877466

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1996