From Fishing with Pipe Bombs to the Center of the Spotted Owl Controversy.
Read Jack Ward Thomas's newest trilogy of books and find out about the man behind it all.
A child of the Dust Bowl era who became a sportsman, biologist, and leader in conservation, Jack Ward Thomas has devoted his life and career to the outdoors.
His professional service included the dustiest trenches as well as the highest offices of natural resource management—culminating with his 1993 appointment as the thirteenth chief of the U.S. Forest Service. His personal adventures spanned hunting rabbits for Mom’s skillet to leading pack strings up into the “high lonesome” of western wildernesses.
A Texas native, Thomas earned progressive degrees from Texas A&M, West Virginia, and Massachusetts universities. He spent twenty years in forest, range, and wildlife research in Oregon, becoming increasingly involved in natural resource sciences and politics in the years leading to his tenure as Forest Service chief.
Thomas later became Professor of Wildlife Conservation at the University of Montana, a position endowed by Boone and Crockett Club, before retiring in 2007.
When Jack Ward Thomas was named chief of the U.S. Forest Service in 1993, only twelve men had ever known the staggering responsibility, political pressure—and extraordinary opportunities to influence the future of America’s natural resources—that came with the job.
Theodore Roosevelt had created the agency in 1905, appointing Gifford Pinchot as its first chief. Now Thomas would shoulder the load once borne by two icons of the conservation movement.
Forks in the Trail is a collection of stories about the experiences that shaped the values, knowledge, skills, and decisions of a field biologist who came from a hardscrabble Texas farm and eventually rose to the pinnacles of natural resource leadership in Washington, D.C.
Thomas arrived at his new post with a unique set of perspectives and experiences. His formal education and decades of forest, range, and wildlife research had prepared him academically. His rural upbringing and passions for nature, hunting, and sustainable use of natural resources had prepared him pragmatically. But it was basic moxie that ultimately equipped Thomas to confront the most controversial conservation topics of the day, from protecting old-growth timber and spotted owl habitat to the deaths of fourteen wildland firefighters in 1994.
Want more?Download a 16-page excerpt to read before you buy the book.Thomas’s life is the story of how conservation and natural resources management happened in America during the second half of the twentieth century. But more than just old war stories, timelines, and reiterations of his curriculum vitae, Forks in the Trail offers intensely personal reflections of life lessons—of the “foibles, fears, mistakes, adventures, misadventures, successes, failures, and comedies of errors and ego”—learned along the way to a full, remarkable career.
“During my life,” Thomas writes, “I had many adventures, good and bad; achieved beyond my wildest dreams; and, to my lasting chagrin, too often fell short. In the process I learned much; lost often but won some too; suffered the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’; helped foment some troublesome quandaries; and helped in the resolution of others.”
With tales well told, Forks in the Trail reveals a distinctive life and an illustrious career.
Wilderness is smooth sippin’-whiskey for the outdoorsman’s soul. But it’s also espresso for those determined to keep America’s wildest places untrammeled by man.
For Jack Ward Thomas, it was both.
Wilderness Journals tells the story of how Thomas came to know the “high lonesome,” and how his experiences packing into rough country with fine horses and good friends would fuel his passion and vision as chief of the U.S. Forest Service, a position he assumed in 1993.
Want more?Download a 16-page excerpt to read before you buy the book.A true journal-style memoir, Thomas describes adventures along the trail, including encounters with bold bears, reclusive war veterans, and vast expanses of the West that only the heartiest explorers ever see. He writes about the wildlife, forests, meadows, and mountains with two voices. One is the voice of an emerging conservation leader looking into the future of natural resource management. The other is the voice of a backcountry horseman simply doing what he loves.
An appendix in Wilderness Journals reveals Thomas’s goal as Forest Service chief to enhance and expand America’s wilderness system. He describes behind-the-scenes political struggles, internal resistance, and final analyses of his defeats—as well as his hopes for the future.
Hunting nourishes human bodies, minds, and, in some cases, careers.
Like many rural Texas youths in the 1940s, Jack Ward Thomas learned to hunt early on. It provided food for his family and a lifetime of enjoyment. But hunting also brought Thomas to his life’s work in conservation, highlighted by his 1993 appointment as chief of the U.S. Forest Service.
Want more?Download a 16-page excerpt to read before you buy the book.Hunting Around the World offers the best accumulated stories, nostalgia, and wisdom of a quintessential hunter-conservationist.
Thomas hunted red stag in the Scottish highlands, doves in Argentina, caribou in Alaska, and all manner of big, small, and feathered game across the United States. But his first and most enduring love was hunting in the “high lonesome” of western wildernesses. Thomas’s storytelling about those quests is classic sporting literature. Readers will feel the chill of a frosty mountain morning, tense moments as a bull elk wanders into shooting range, exhilaration as well as “pangs of conscience” in making a kill, and the wistfulness of truth that old age and old injuries will someday bring every hunter’s backcountry chapters to an end.
Thomas offers thoughtful analyses of why he hunted, the simple-minded critics of hunting, and habitat loss as the greatest threat to both wildlife and hunting.
The original Limited Edition Box Set sold out fast! Good news, we are pleased to offer a new set that includes all three paperback books in a custom slipcase that is signed by Jack Ward Thomas.
These sets are only available through Boone and Crockett and are available while supplies last. Retail is $89.95, plus S&H.
The trilogy includes:
From his youth on a hardscrabble Texas farm through his tenure as Forest Service chief, Thomas’ life and career led him to confrontations with the hottest conservation topics of his day, from protecting old-growth timber and spotted owl habitat to the deaths of fourteen wildland firefighters in 1994.
Rough country, fine horses and good friends. These memoirs are adventures in the saddle as Thomas explores some of the West’s legendary skylines. Up the trail, deep in his beloved “high lonesome,” he finds bold bears, reclusive war veterans, a treasure of wild places untrammeled by man, and a vision for America’s forestlands.
Hunting provided food for his family and a lifetime of enjoyment, but it also brought Thomas to his life’s work in conservation. This collection of journal entries is classic sporting literature, offering the best stories and wisdom of a quintessential hunter-conservationist.
The paperback and e-book editions for these titles are distributed to the trade by
National Book Network. Contact them directly for ordering information at 1-800-462-6420.
“Now that my days of traveling into the wilderness, floating down wild rivers, and hunting the old-fashioned way in the outback are over, I think about how much of the zest in my life was due to those experiences. Now my wilderness adventures are confined to dreams and to the telling of tales, perhaps only slightly embellished. It is my hope that the journal entries might stimulate others to care, and care deeply, about wildlife and wildlife habitats and about the welfare and appropriate management of our national forests and other public lands.”