It’s the people who make AdventureKEEN exciting and fun, no matter which department they’re working in or what part of the country they call home. Get to know the members of AdventureKEEN through their day-to-day jobs, as well as their favorite things to pack for a hike.
We want to introduce Will Bowlin as we welcome him to the AdventureKEEN team.
Will joined us in June and has been directing shipping and logistics for the Birmingham, AL warehouse. If you have called in with a packing or website shipping question, Will has been part of the answer. Will’s background in warehousing, shipping, and logistics for the U.S. Army, along with his systems skills and organization, will be a great asset to the warehouse team.
“Now that we have completed a full inventory and I have learned the ins and outs of managing this type of warehouse, I am excited to use my years of experience as a Warehouse Manager in the Army, to implement new strategies and procedures that will increase productivity within this organization,” said Will.
While we couldn’t find a time when Will was sitting down, but we followed him around the warehouse for a minute and asked him the ever important question for an AdventureKEEN team member… ‘what’s always in your pack when going for a weekend hike?’
He replied with a solid list of dependable hiking staples that would make sure every hiker is prepared for an overnight outing.
- Compass or GPS
- Strobe light
- Flashlight or Headlamp
- Knife/utility tool
- 550 cord
- First aid kit
It’s this kind of planning and dependability that you can count on when you order from AdventureKEEN. We are so glad Will has joined the AdventureKEEN family!
In 2006 Dudley Edmundson conducted a series of interviews with African American outdoors-people that culminated in the book Black & Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places.
A lot has changed, in the world, and around the United States, in the 17 years since Black & Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places was first published. Yet, when reading through the interviews, it is easy to see the common themes and energy that link all of their experiences with the growing outdoor community who LOOK like them and share their passion for nature and the outdoors.
Over the coming months we will be sharing the interviews from Black & Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places here on our blog, and we hope you can find your voice to add to those celebrating their passion for the outdoors.
The following excerpt is taken from an interview with Judie Johnson back in the early 2000’s when she was the Executive Director, Gunflint Trail Association.
I am the Executive Director of the Gunflint Trail Association in northeastern Minnesota. The Gunflint is a vacation destination for people from around the region and the world. The 57-mile paved highway goes north out of Grand Marais, Minnesota, through some of the most beautiful wilderness areas you may ever see, and turns west, ending on Saganaga Lake near the Canadian border. People visit the trail to access the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. There is so much to do off the Gunflint at any time of the year, including fishing, camping and hiking and skiing in the winter. You can watch wildlife at all times of the year. Moose, bears, wolves, deer and a host of other cool animals make the area their home. The best part about my job is telling tourists how to have fun in a place that I love.
By most people’s standards, Grand Marais would seem very remote. Most of what we do here is outdoors. Closest movie theater or shopping mall is 75 miles away. I tell people, “There is Lake Superior, it’s right there in front of you. It is the largest freshwater lake in the world, and you can’t find anything to do?”
Childhood Experiences and Turning Points in Nature
As a child growing up in Chicago, Illinois, in the Lake Meadows area, I got to experience a lot of Chicago’s Lake Michigan waterfront and some of the parks there.
My father’s parents lived on a farm near Alton, Illinois, close to St. Louis, until their deaths, so we were at the farm quite a bit. My father and my grandfather and uncles would be on tractors, so I would be out there watching them work or following them around. It was a working farm—cows, chickens, horses and pigs. They raised most of their food. We got to do all those living-off-the-land things that most kids don’t get to do. The area where my grandparents farm was and is still a little wild, but with urban sprawl I think it will all be gone in a decade or so, which is kind of sad.
Our family took vacations a lot during my childhood, which a lot of blacks did not get to do back then. We would go for two to three weeks. We would camp and stay in hotels. My sister and I read National Geographic, so we would plan vacations using information in them. We traveled all over. We were a curious family, wanting to see things we had never seen before—my parents nurtured that.
One year we took a trip from Chicago across the country to Yellowstone National Park, the Painted Desert, Mesa Verde National Park and a few other places. We visited my father’s brother and my mother’s aunt in L.A. Then we went up the coast and camped at Big Sur. Then we went to the Hearst Castle of W. Randolph Hearst, the millionaire, in San Simeon. There was a black guy there who was a tour guide and he gave us a private tour, so that was pretty cool. After that we went up to San Francisco. From there we stopped at Yellowstone, the Tetons, then through the Badlands of the Dakotas, eventually making our way back to Chicago. We stayed at a lot of national parks and some state parks.
On another trip we visited Lake Louise in Jasper, Canada, then went out on the Athabaska Glacier. I was so excited that my heart was going a mile a minute when we got out of the snow tracker, the vehicle that they take you out on the glacier in. They told us all about the formation of the glacier. As the guide was talking, I could see over in the distance there was a group of people. So I told my father, “Let’s go see who they are.” So we went over, and I was pleased to find out it was none other than a National Geographic magazine crew out working on an upcoming project. So I, of course, was extremely excited, to say the least. I got to talk with them and find out what they did and why they were over there. They sent me a special reprint of that copy of the magazine, which was really cool.
What I Do in the Outdoors
I actually bought land here, knowing that some day I wanted to move here. One day I was sitting at home in Minneapolis trolling their local paper and there was the Gunflint Trail Association director job. I thought to myself, “OK, by the time I am ready to move up there, something like this is bound to come up open again.” So my sister called me on the last day they were accepting applications for that job and said, “If you don’t apply, I will get an old copy of your resume and send it in.” I said, “OK, fine,” and I faxed in a current version of my resume to the office. I got a call within a few hours of sending the fax. Long story short, they made me an offer. So I accepted the job.
I remembered my mother telling me that when I was 10 years old I returned from a summer camp in Wisconsin and announced that I was moving to the woods when I grew up. So when I moved up here to Grand Marais, it was no shock to her. I am pretty sure I am the only black woman living in the whole town. People asked my mom, “What is wrong with Judie?” And she told them, “Judie told me she was moving to the woods a long time ago, and now she has finally done it.”
It is always an exciting time when a new catalog hits the shelves. While this isn’t a “big” annual catalog, our Fall 2023 Catalog is jammed with new and exciting titles. The diversity of topics, cover designs, subjects, and categories is widespread.
As always, PDF versions of our catalogs are available here on our website. If you have an account with us, you can always contact your sales rep and request a copy. Or feel free to call us at 1 (800) 678-7006, and someone will help you.
The Fall 2023 Catalog’s cover image is taken from a new book by award-winning nature photographer and author Stan Tekiela. Bears of North America presents a striking portrayal of these incredible animals through every stage of their lives.
We also have a new authoritative book called The Rocky Mountain Plant Guide, which organizes 700 wildflowers, shrubs, and trees in a color-coded system with Quick ID tips to help every hiker and naturalist in the Rocky Mountain region.
We can only mention some of the great new books in the Fall 2023 Catalog, but we want to highlight The William Nealy Collection! Page four of the catalog presents the wackiest and most fun guidebooks you can buy. Award-winning artist William Nealy created all these books and maps during the 1980s and 1990s. We have brought back many of his out-of-print books, re-printed some poster maps once lost to time, and even created a new line of playing cards, all celebrating the great outdoors and Nealy’s one-of-a-kind artwork. Be sure to check it out!
AdventureKEEN was a fortunate beneficiary of Scott McGrew’s creativity, design sensibility, loyalty, sense of humor, and friendship for nearly two decades, and we were devastated by his unexpected passing in late April after a short illness. He was 48.
As a staff cartographer and graphic designer, Scott created some truly amazing sketches, art, cover designs, and maps. He was able to simplify complex technical workflows to improve our printed books. Many AdventureKEEN authors were lucky to work with him to create some of the best guidebook maps in print today. Over the years, a lot of the company’s book covers benefited from his detailed eye for imagery and typography.
Scott was loved by his family, his friends, and everyone he worked with here. His jokes, smile, and camaraderie are greatly missed.
Goodbye, dear friend.
As members of The Conservation Alliance, we’re excited to celebrate the designation of sacred Avi Kwa Ame as a national monument! In March, the Biden Administration chose to honor Avi Kwa Ame, the Mojave name for Spirit Mountain, and protect over 500,000 acres of sacred land in Southern Nevada. This designation is Nevada’s 4th national monument and protects sacred lands for 12 tribes, threatened species, and outdoor recreation opportunities.
This designation came alongside the naming of the Castner Range as a protected place as well.
We are proud to support The Conservation Association grantee SHIFT Monumental and congratulate their advocacy efforts in protecting this landscape! #HonorAviKwaAme
The latest installment in Cary J. Griffith’s hit nature detective series is out now! Look for Killing Monarchs wherever you buy your books and catch up with Sam Rivers as he and his wolfdog, Gray, start tracking down a killer after finding bodies in the basement of a school. The Denver Post calls Sam Rivers the “predator’s predator.” Killing Monarchs is an action-packed thriller that you won’t want to miss.
Award-winning author Cary J. Griffith is also on tour, and you have the chance to track him down and get a signed book! For the next month, you can find Cary J. Griffith making appearances all over Minnesota.
Here is Cary J. Griffith’s slate of upcoming author appearance’s:
- June 24: A book signing at Once Upon A Crime Bookstore in Minneapolis, MN, from noon until 1:30 p.m.
- July 15: A book signing at The Bookstore at Fitger’s in Duluth, MN, from noon until 2 p.m.
- July 15: A book signing at Drury Lane Books in Grand Marais, MN, starting at 6 p.m.
- July 16: A book signing at Lake Superior Trading Post in Grand Marais, MN, beginning at 7 p.m.
- July 27: A virtual lunch for Friends of the Boundary Waters in St. Paul, MN, starting at noon.
- July 29: A book signing at Piragis Northwood Outfitters in Ely, MN,
- from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
- July 29: Cary J. Griffith will participate in an Autor Round Table and book signing at Boundary Waters Outfitting Company in Ely, MN, from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m.