Walden by Henry David Thoreau

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

Walden is a seminal text of the Transcendentalism movement in the mid 1800s that explores man’s relationship with nature and questions our values as a society. Thoreau’s experiment over the course of two years took place in a cabin he built on Walden Pond in forest owned by his mentor, friend and fellow transcendentalist, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Thoreau’s writings were some of the first to address issues that began to shift America’s values toward our conservation heritage as we know it today.

While there are many subjects of discussion prevalent in Thoreau’s writing, perhaps two of the most important are the ideas of self-reliance and simplicity, illustrated by the famous line, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.” Any hunter or angler can relate to these virtues, whether on a few acre plot of woods in the Northeast or a vast wilderness in the West. These are qualities we seek within the respite of our public lands and waters.

Furthermore, Thoreau’s relationship with nature and animals throughout his experiment at Walden Pond is not through the lens of a naturalist, though he does recount the habits of some creatures, but rather as a man looking to learn aspects of morality from the natural world and its inhabitants.

-SAWYER CONNELLY, BHA Campus Outreach Coordinator (Former) and life member


Purchase Walden on Amazon Smile, and register Backcountry Hunters & Anglers as your preferred non-profit to give back to your wild public lands, waters and wildlife. 

About Zack Williams

Backcountry Journal editor