The Book of Yaak by Rick Bass

This title is part of BHA's Jim Posewitz Digital Library: Required Reading for Conservationists


What do we lose when we let our favorite wild places succumb to the whims of industry and development? This is the question Rick Bass explores in The Book of Yaak.

In the opening pages Bass sets out to capture the heart of the Yaak Valley, a wild, remote region in northwest Montana with immense biodiversity and a critical corridor for animals moving between the Northern Rockies and the Pacific Northwest. Yet, despite the unique natural history of the region, at the time of publishing the valley was rapidly being logged and not a single acre was preserved as wilderness (there is still no designated wilderness in the valley).

Through his writing Bass captures the soul of the valley and its inhabitants, while also making an ever-present plea: to save the Yaak before the last vestiges of roadless wilderness are destroyed. The conservation message rings loud throughout this book, and in between stories of grizzly bears, coyotes, actors, anglers and shop-owners, Bass develops a clearer vision of why wilderness is so important not just here, but everywhere.

These wild, remote regions are not just havens for wildlife – they are also safe harbors for human hope, inspiration, and beauty. They are fountains of art. And if we lose them, then we lose our own humanity. The Book of Yaak is one man’s quest to save the place he loves and calls home, but this book will resonate with anyone who has fought the same battles, regardless of place.

-Will Weygint, BHA Member


Purchase The Book of Yaak on Amazon Smile, and register Backcountry Hunters & Anglers as your preferred nonprofit to give back to your wild public lands, waters and wildlife. 

About Zack Williams

Backcountry Journal editor