Anne LaBastille, Ph.D., spent 24 years trying to save the giant grebe from extinction, and was awarded the World Wildlife Fund Gold Medal for her efforts. She has written articles for National Geographic, Audubon, Reader’s Digest, and other magazines. She has taught at Cornell, SUNY Plattsburgh, and other universities. She has worked on assignment in the Amazon basin, Alaska’s coastal islands, India, and Central America. She served as a Commissioner of the Adirondack Park Agency for seventeen years. Yet, she is probably best known for being the woman who lived alone in a little log cabin in the Adirondack woods.
Her series of Woodswoman books are extremely popular with readers inside and outside the Adirondack Park. “Yes, I’m a woodswoman,” she proclaims, “from my heart, to my soul, to my bare feet and boot bottoms.”
Anne grew up in Montclair, New Jersey. She has written, “My lifelong rebellion against conventional life styles and prejudice toward women probably started the day my mother pronounced, ‘You can’t go hiking in the woods!’” Anne did go into the woods and she made them her vocation.
As an adult, Anne decided to build a home in the Adirondacks. She chose a location for her dwelling and, with the help of two local carpenters, built a 12-by-18-foot log cabin. The cabin not only provided a new shelter, but also a new lifestyle---one without electricity, telephone, indoor plumbing, or human companionship. She bathed in the lake, chopped logs for her wood stove, carried water from the lake, and hauled groceries from town in her boat or by sled when the lake froze.
Anne appreciates the many pleasures of the Adirondacks. “I feel passionately about some of these, such as silence, pure water, giant white pines, solitude, fragrant balsams, and wilderness,” she wrote. “Among the blessings of my life, I count these: to be able to drink wild water right from my lake and to feel that cold, clear liquid on my skin when I swim; to smell the tang of balsam needles on a hot summer day; to gaze up at lofty pines from the shelter of an Adirondack lean-to; to sit silently at ‘Thoreau II’ (my tiny writing retreat) and hear no gas engines for hours; to be able to tramp through deep forests or canoe a chain of lakes and know that the solitude is intact in that particular stretch of wilderness.”